I want to develop an application having a very eye-catching user interface
like 'Kaspersky Pure 2012' or even Babylon. Actually, I want to have an UI with pretty toolbars, inventive graphical tabs and button and so on.
Please refer me to some (preferably free) rich-content and professional toolkits to build my interface and use the output in my VC++ or QT application.
I don't really think there's anything more potentially beautiful out there than WPF (Windows Presentation Framework). It breaks the "individual window" paradigm and treats the entire window as a single drawing surface that is DirectX-enabled.
Since there are no internal windows, you can do A LOT in regards to animating and going outside the standards. For example, you can have a listbox with shadows! And each individual item in the listbox can have graphics and even buttons inside them. You can even create controls inside controls, like a date picker inside a round button.
And all is vector graphics, meaning they scale in a lossless manner. I don't think there's anything out there as simple as WPF for C++. I could be wrong, and I actually would LOVE to be wrong as I LOVE unmanaged C++.
But if I were you, I'd create my user interface in .Net and WPF. If I needed speed for tasks, I'd probably create an ActiveX DLL in unmanaged C++ and consume it from .net.
Really? I cannot possibly discard .net like that after seeing the end result. Ideally I would love to have the speed of C++ all the time, but in practice .Net is an amazing balance between speed and features. And really isn't bad at all. It is actually hard to beat .Net's performance once the application has started.
For instance: Did you know Visual Studio 2010 is a WPF application? I found out recently. It is as usual quite an impressive user interface and it performs well, I would say. I have never seen people here or in the MSDN forums complaining about its performance.
Yes, of course I know VS 2010 is a WPF application. Regarding the performance, even scrolling the text consumes enough CPU core (try it yourself), startup time is about 10 seconds or higher (on a 2,7ghz dual-core cpu and 4gb RAM), memory usage is about 500MB or higher (including sql server or whatever process is running besides devenv.exe).
Indeed, once is running, does not really slow down the machine (not tested on a single-core CPU though). Anyway I give up to all WPF stuff if it was like VC6.
Don't get me wrong. Of course it will be a resource hugger when compared to its predecessors. No surprise there. More features, more levels of indirection to provide more personalization, etc. All that takes its toll for sure.
But is it usable? Yes. Is it a turtle? Not at all. Is it the fastest? Hell no! But is it awesome overall? Hell yes!
So it comes down to a matter of taste. Do I use a leaner UI with less features but faster? Some say YES to that; I just happened to say NO. For what? For no other good reason than: I have mean home PC with power; I have a mean engineering laptop with core i7 at work. Therefore, I just don't feel the pain of what you call "unacceptable" times. Besides, I am less strict in loading times. I can wait a few seconds without trashing the product. If you look close enough you'll see that my reasons aren't as strong as any other reason. I consider them good fortune and mere opinion. "I can so I do".