Like said before, Qt Creator is a cross-platform IDE (Integrated Development Environment). But what exactly does that mean. Cross-platform actually just means platform independent and a platform should be interpreted as an operating system. In essence, most popular programming language like c, c++ ,c# or java are cross-platform. Java is bit a stranger in this list. Java itself actually runs only on the Java Virtual Machine, but this virtual machine runs on most platforms.
So simple compiled c or c++ code will run on multiple platforms but every decent application will need to do some interaction with the OS (operating system) for showing the GUI as example. These interactions differ from OS to OS, so a choice has to be made for which OS an application is developed. If you would ask somebody eight years ago an IDE to develop an application most heard answer was probably Visual Studio. It’s an IDE to develop applications for Windows. It was a logic choice considering more than 95% of pc users was a Windows user. Nowadays this share almost decreased to 85% and with the prospect that Apple might become the largest computer manufacturer of 2012 this share will continue to decrease. So it might be interesting to use a cross-platform IDE like QT Creator. QT Creator exists in a version for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Not only QT Creator itself is cross-platform, but also your projects made in QT Creator are Cross-platform. An application made in QT Creator for Mac OS X can be compiled to run on a windows machine or Mac OS X without even changing one line of code. This is called cross compiling.
This sounds off course very interesting, without any extra effort your application runs on multiple platforms. But it’s not all roses, let’s see next time why we all don’t use a cross-platform IDE.