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Loading and initialising a Qt plug-in dynamically

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Article Metadata
Tested with
Devices(s): Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
Platform(s): S60 3rd Edition, FP1, FP2
S60 5th Edition
Created: tepaa (20 May 2009)
Last edited: hamishwillee (11 Oct 2012)



Qt applications can be extended with Qt plug-ins. This code snippet demonstrates how to load and initialise plug-ins dynamically in your application using QPluginLoader.

Defining the plug-in interface and implementing the plug-in are described in additional snippet articles.

Note: In order to use this code, you need to have Qt installed on your platform.


  • When using Qt libraries from the (qt_libs_armv5_udeb.sisx) on a device, be sure to build both the plug-in and the loading application in DEBUG(UDEB) mode. This is because Qt uses a build key for each plug-in to ensure that only compatible plug-ins are loaded, and the build mode [debug|release] is part of that build key.
  • In Symbian we have to define the variable EPOCALLOWDLLDATA as true for the plug-ins (library) because Qt macros have initialised global data; see the plug-in project files for more information.


Project (.pro) file

The DLL (plug-in) needs to have to have at least the same set of capabilities as the process (application) that loads the plug-in.

Header (pluginwidget.h)

Needed headers, methods and variables.

// Qt plugin loader that loads plugins dynamically
#include <QPluginLoader>
#include <QtGui>
// Our defined plugin interface ExamplePluginInterface
#include "exampleplugininterface.h"
// Methods
bool loadPlugins(QString pluginDir);
void createPlugins();
void unloadPlugins();
// Arry to store all plugins
QList<QPluginLoader*> plugins;

Source (yourapp.cpp)

Load the plug-ins.

bool YourApp::loadPlugins(QString pluginDir)
QDir pluginsDir(QLibraryInfo::location
// "exampleplugins" is the folder where you are exported plugins
// by Qt macro Q_EXPORT_PLUGIN2(exampleplugins, YourPlugin);"exampleplugins");
foreach (QString fileName, pluginsDir.entryList(QDir::Files))
// Create plugin loader
QPluginLoader* pluginLoader =
new QPluginLoader(pluginsDir.absoluteFilePath(fileName));
// Store loader to array
// Load plugin
bool ret = pluginLoader->load();
if (!ret)
QMessageBox::information(this, "YourApp",
QString("Could not load plugin %1").arg(fileName));
// Did we found any plugins?
if (plugins.isEmpty())
return false;
return true;

Create the plug-ins.

void YourApp::createPlugins()
// Show data of all media plugins in different tabs
for (int i=0 ; i<plugins.count() ; i++)
QPluginLoader* pluginLoader = plugins[i];
// Create plugin instance
QObject *plugin = pluginLoader->instance();
if (plugin)
// Plugin instance created
// Cast plugin to ExamplePluginInterface,
// that is common for all plugins
ExamplePluginInterface* pluginIF
= qobject_cast<ExamplePluginInterface*>(plugin);
// Signal / slot, if needed
//QObject::connect(this, SIGNAL(send(QString *)),
// pluginIF, SLOT(someSlot(QString *)));
// Could not create plugin instance, delete pluginloader
delete pluginLoader;

Unload the plug-ins.

void YourApp::unloadPlugins()
// Unload plugins and clear plugin array
foreach (QPluginLoader* pluginLoader, plugins)
delete pluginLoader;

See also


The Qt plug-in is loaded and initialised dynamically.

This page was last modified on 11 October 2012, at 01:17.
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