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QAbstractItemModel again..

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I have implemented subcommanders working copy view as a custom QAbstractItemModel (since subcommander displays a directory tree it is a tree model). On top of the model is a proxy model based on QSortFilterProxyModel to filter working copy items based on their subversion status.

I have a mixed feeling about Qt4’s item models. It has some benefits but also a few problems.

On the positive side is the view and model separation, which of course is good. The Qt item model is really a view model and not simply a data model. But that’s not a problem, you just have to accept that there a few view things you have to handle in the model.

Another useful feature is the proxy model. As already said I use it to filter items by their working copy status and I also use it to realize part of the flat and the tree view display. Switching between both is a matter of toggling an option in the proxy model and tweaking a few options in the widget that is connected to my model.

The bad thing about the item model stuff it that it is really complicated to get it working properly. Apart from all the documentation that Qt provides on implementing custom models, it is still difficult to get all the QModelIndex stuff running.

Another issue is that it is really hard to debug. You may have a small bug in your model that crashes the application. Now debug that. :-( The issue is that you can’t directly watch the data behind a QModelIndex. So it is unfortunately very frustrating to find out what’s wrong.

From my point of view, item models are too complicated. Said that, it is what you have to use in Qt4 if the simpler model stuff doesn’t work for you. And it doesn’t work for me.

So what can I do?

A while ago I was trying to find a bug in my custom QAbstractItemModel. I couldn’t track it down with the debugger and finally started to write a couple of unit test for it using cppunit. (Yes, Qt has a unit test framework that supports signals and slot, but I’m already using ccpunit and I don’t want to have tests in different frameworks :-)

I didn’t find this bug with the tests but it helped me with another signal issue in the custom model. Under certain data constellations a change in the underlying item model wasn’t properly notified to the proxy model.

I have tried two approaches. The first checks for emitted signals from the model when inserting data into the model. The second checks the existence of index values which should exist after inserting data into the model.

I think I prefer the second approach, but I’m not yet satisfied with the test code itself. It is large and also a bit messed up…

I will describe both ways in the next articles and also write about my experience with creating a custom QAbstractProxyModel.

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Written by hauner

Sunday, 1 February, 2009 at 21:36

Posted in subcommander

Tagged with ,

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