Open Source 2D CAD
Scope of Script Development

The QCAD Application Framework offers a very complete and powerful ECMAScript interface. Almost the entire functionality of the Qt Application Framework (Qt) and the QCAD Application Framework is accessible through that scripting interface.

ECMAScript (also known as JavaScript) is a popular script language that is easy to learn for anyone with previous programming experience.

Extending the QCAD Application

Through the ECMAScript interface of, developers can extend QCAD in an easy and very efficient way. Such extensions can for example be CAD related interactive construction or modification tools or user interface components (widgets).


Creating new Applications

Alternatively, developers can build entirely new applications based on the QCAD Application Framework. New applications might be CAD related console tools or desktop applications with graphical user interfaces that are significantly different to the QCAD application.


Since the QCAD Application itself is built using the ECMAScript interface of the QCAD Application Framework, there is plenty of example code available which has been thoroughly tested.


To use the ECMAScript interface to extend QCAD or develop new applications based on QCAD technology, all you need is a regular QCAD single user license. Every QCAD user may use the ECMAScript interface and distribute any modifications and additions to anyone else with a valid QCAD license on their own terms.

Qt, the QCAD Application Framework and ECMAScript

The figure below shows some of the main functionality that is covered by Qt and the QCAD Application Framework. Qt covers the generic functionality that is usually seen in all kinds of desktop applications and is not directly related to CAD. The QCAD Application Framework offers CAD specific functionality such as a CAD Core, DXF export and import, a powerful graphics view, and so on. The ECMAScript files put the available functionality together into an application.


The ECMAScript interface of the QCAD Application Framework can be used to very rapidly build and extend CAD specific applications.

The QCAD user interface itself and all its interactive tools as well as most widgets and dialogs are implemented through the ECMAScript interface.

The QCAD executable that comes with every QCAD package is essentially a script interpreter that features standard ECMAScript functionality and on top of that provides additional classes from the Qt API and the QCAD API. Running the QCAD executable in an isolated environment would do nothing as there are no ECMAScripts to be executed. By default, the QCAD executable looks for a file called "scripts/autostart.js" to execute. In the case of QCAD, the autostart script initializes all ECMAScript tools and user interface components and launches the main application loop.

Almost all widgets, menus and tools that are currently available in QCAD are implemented in ECMAScript. These scripts are located in the 'scripts' directory of the downloaded QCAD package. Note that under Mac OS X, the scripts directory is located inside the application bundle under 'QCAD.app/Contents/Resources/scripts'.