Create "Qt Installer Framework" installers from your project via qmake

version 2.1.2

To install:

❯ qpm install de.skycoder42.qtifw-advanced-setup


Create "Qt Installer Framework" installers from your project via qmake

Important: With Version 2.0.0 the api has completly changed. Now the make install step is used to prepare all files, so that deployment/installer generation operate on the installed files. Read the documentation carefully to pick up how to change your pro files! (The old code is still existant as the old branch or as qpm packages before version 2.0.0)


  • Easily creation of installers via qmake
  • Windows: Automatic inclusion of msvc libs as installation (if required)
  • Extends default installer functionality:
    • provide uninstall only for offline installers
    • Hide uninstall/... by special command line switch
    • Adds local vs global installation
      • Global installation requires admin/root and chooses global location
      • Local installation uses user directories
      • Maintenancetool ensures it's privileged if installed globally
    • Windows: Allows to create a desktop shortcut
    • Windows: proper registration as "Installed Application"
    • Windows: Adds update/modify shortcuts to the windows startmenu directory
    • Linux: Automatic desktop file creation
  • simple deployment as additional step before creating the installer
    • uses the qt deployment tools to deploy your application
    • option to include custom and Qt translations
    • auto-deploy flag to automate deployment even further
  • uses make install for simple file preperations
  • Provides the qtifw and qtifw-build targets to automatically (translate, install, ) deploy, create the installer and compress it


The package is providet as qpm package, de.skycoder42.qtifw-advanced-setup. You can install it either via qpmx (preferred) or directly via qpm.

Via qpmx

qpmx is a frontend for qpm (and other tools) with additional features, and is the preferred way to install packages. To use it:

  1. Install qpmx (See GitHub - Installation)
  2. Install qpm (See GitHub - Installing, for windows see below)
  3. In your projects root directory, run qpmx install de.skycoder42.qtifw-advanced-setup

Via qpm

  1. Install qpm (See GitHub - Installing, for windows see below)
  2. In your projects root directory, run qpm install de.skycoder42.qtifw-advanced-setup
  3. Include qpm to your project by adding include(vendor/vendor.pri) to your .pro file

Check their GitHub - Usage for App Developers to learn more about qpm.

Important for Windows users: QPM Version 0.10.0 (the one you can download on the website) is currently broken on windows! It's already fixed in master, but not released yet. Until a newer versions gets released, you can download the latest dev build from here:


In order to use QtIFW-Advanced-Setup, you need the following installed:

  • QtIFW: ideally as part of your Qt Installation. Use the online installer and find it under Qt > Tools
  • Python 3: A pyhton script is used to generate the installer from the input. Thus, you need to have Python 3 installed!
  • linuxdeployqt: If you want to use the deployment feature on linux, you need linuxdeployqt (See following chapter)


Since Qt does not provide it's own deployment tool for linux, I am using linuxdeployqt in this package. This tool needs to be placed in the Qt install directory. To simplify this step, you can run the script. The script builds and installs linuxdeployqt into your Qt installation directory.

This is only a workaround, and while the script will stay, the install method for linuxdeployqt may change over time.


The idea is: You specify files and directories via your pro-file and run make <target> to deploy, create the installer, or both.

When using all of the qtifw features, the amount of work you need to do shrinks down to the following:

  1. Use make install targets to copy all the files you need for your installer to installer build directory
  2. configure the installer generation via qmake variables and configurations
  3. Run the make targets you want to generate the installer and use INSTALL_ROOT to specify where to do so

Generating an installer consists 5 targets that depend on each other. This means you have to run those 5 make targets in order to generate an installer. However, for simplicity, you can enable a single "master target" called qtifw to do all 5 steps via one command. In addition, there is the qtifw-build target that automatically sets a subfolder in your build directory as the INSTALL_ROOT. The steps as follwos, and are explained in more detail below:

  1. lrelease (optional, disabled by default)
  2. install
  3. deploy
  4. installer
  5. qtifw-compress (optional, enabled by default)

In short: Simply set up your pro file correctly and then run make qtifw-build to do all those steps as needed. The Example project shows a full example of how to use QtIFW-Advanced-Setup.

Translations (make lrelease)

The lrelease step is an optional step provided by qpmx that will generate qm files for all the translations specified via the TRANSLATIONS qmake variable. See qpmx - Translations for more details.

When using the qtifw target, translations are not generated by default. You can enable them by adding CONFIG += qtifw_auto_ts to your pro file.

The example code for the pro file would look like this:

TRANSLATIONS += myapp.ts


Variable Name Default value Description
TRANSLATIONS empty The translations to be generated
EXTRA_TRANSLATIONS empty Additional translations to be generated

Install targets (with target.files automatically filled)

  • qpmx_ts_target: Install target for TRANSLATIONS
  • extra_ts_target: Install target for EXTRA_TRANSLATIONS

Installation (make install)

The install targets should be used to prepare the application for deployment/installer creation by placing all files where they need to be for the installer. The install should look like this:


The config directory should contain all installer configuration files. The package directory should consist of multiple subdirectories named after the installer package the contain. The internal structure of those package directories is the one QtIFW needs.

To stay with this example, the following qmake code could be used to create such a setup:

# install the config.xml
install_cfg.files = config.xml
install_cfg.path = /config
INSTALLS += install_cfg

# install the package meta folder
install_pkg.files += meta
install_pkg.path = /packages/
INSTALLS += install_pkg

# install the executable
target.path = /packages/
INSTALLS += target

# optional: install the generated translations
qpmx_ts_target.path = /packages/
INSTALLS += qpmx_ts_target

Simply running make INSTALL_ROOT=... install will copy all the specified files, plus all the additional stuff that is needed to create an installer.

Important: For this to work you always have to specify an install root as parameter to make. All installations as stated above will be put into that directory - meaning forgetting it would install that stuff into your root filesystem! When using the qtifw-build target however, you don't have to care about this.

Deployment (make deploy)

Deployment is performed on the already install binary, so that all the deployed files are automatcially placed in the installer directories. The deployment target is automatically determined by using the target.path to find out where to find the project binary. However, you can also specify the deployment target yourself by setting the qtifw_deploy_target. So unless you need to specify additional deploy targets, you typically don't have to setup anything at all in your pro file for this step!

The qtifw_deploy_target target

Target Property Default value Description
path $${target.path} The path to find the binaries to be deployed at
files $${TARGET}$${TARGET_EXT} The binaries to be deployed. By default this is the main target of your project that you are building.

Installer generation (make installer)

This step create the actual QtIFW-Installer and/or repositories out of youre previously installed and deployed files. Just like the previous steps, it uses the INSTALL_ROOT to find the config and packages directories and uses their contents to create the installer. They are created in the very same directory. You can configure how the generation is performed by using the following qmake variables.

Important: When not using the qtifw or qtifw-build mode, you have to explicitly enable the installtion of the additional installer files that are required to create the installer. This is done by adding CONFIG += qtifw_install_targets to your pro file. This is not needed if you already have the CONFIG += qtifw_target line in your pro file.


Variable Name Default value Description
QTIFW_BIN ... The directory containing the QtIFW Tools (repogen, binarycreator, etc.). The default value assumes you installed Qt and QtIFW via the online installer and that QtIFW is of version 3.0. Adjust the path if your tools are located elsewhere
QTIFW_MODE offline The type of installer to create. Can be:
offline: Offline installer
online: Online installer
repository: The remote repository for an online installer
online_all: Both, the online installer and remote repository
QTIFW_TARGET $$TARGET Installer The base name of the installer binary
The extension of the installer binary
QTIFW_VCPATH default path to vcredist*.exe Windows only: The path to the vcredist installer to added to the installer. The vcredists are needed if you build with the msvc-compiler

Note for Windows Users: With msvc2015 or older, the vcredist files are somewhat strange and prevent you from delete their copies via anything but the explorer. This means only the first time you create the installer it works fine. After that, you have to delete the build folder yourself via the explorer before you can build the installer again. This issue seems to have disappeared with msvc2017.

Repository compression (make qtifw-compress)

The final optional step is to compress the repositories and the installer app bundle for mac. This target does not need any configuration. It will simply create a compressed archive of the repositories and the app bundle on mac for easier deployment. You will need the tar and xz tools on linux and mac, the zip tool on mac and the 7z tool on windows.

You can disable this step for the qtifw target by adding CONFIG += qtifw_no_compress to your pro file.

The high level qtifw targets (make qtifw and make qtifw-build)

As stated at the beginning of this document, the qtifw target is basically a shortcut to run all the above steps via one command. In order to enable this target, you must add CONFIG += qtifw_target to your pro file. You can configure how this target behaves via the following configurations.

The qtifw-build is an additional helper that will cann qtifw with an automatically determined install root. So instead of running make INSTALL_ROOT=/path/to/build/qtifw-build qtifw you can simply use make qtifw-build. The path /path/to/build is replaced by $$OUT_PWD from qmake.

Important: For the classic qtifw to work you always have to specify an install root as parameter to make. All operations as stated above will be run inside that directory - meaning forgetting it would install that stuff into your root filesystem! When using the qtifw-build target however, you don't have to care about this.

CONFIG options

Option Description
qtifw_target Enables the qtifw and qtifw-build targets and creates the automatic dependencies between the lrelease, install, deploy, installer and qtifw-compress targets. Also, it automatically adds qtifw_install_targets to the CONFIG as well.
qtifw_install_targets Enables the automatic installation of all internal installer related extra files. This must be defined to create an installer.
qtifw_auto_ts Enables an automatic dependency between lrelease and install, i.e. make install will now automatically call make lrelease first
qtifw_deploy_no_install Disables the dependency between install and deploy. I.e. now the qtifw target will not automatically run make install anymore. This can be useful when integrating with build systems to seperate the install and installer generation steps.
qtifw_no_compress Disables the automatic qtifw-compress step, i.e. prevents the compressed archives from beeing generated.


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License: BSD_3_CLAUSE

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