Build configuration Has all the information you need to compile the sources into binaries. Different build configurations allow you to quickly build the project for different purposes. By default, Qt Creator creates debug build and release build configurations for each kit defined for your project. A debug build has additional debug symbols that you need for debugging the application but that you can leave out from the release version. Generally, you use the debug configuration for testing and the release configuration for creating the final installation binary package.
Build step A command that Qt Creator executes to accomplish a basic step in a complex task such as cleaning, building, or deploying a project. Qt Creator executes build steps in sequence to complete the task. The number and type of necessary build steps depends on the project type and the build system you use. For example, projects that are based on qmake specify build steps to use qmake and make.
Component An instantiable QML definition, typically in a .qml file. For instance, you can define a Button component in Button.qml. The QML runtime may instantiate this Button component to create Button objects. Alternatively, you may define a component in a Component QML type.
Deploy configuration Handles the packaging and copying of the necessary files to a location you want to run the executable at. The files can be copied to a location in the file system of the development PC or a device.
Device An embedded device or a mobile device. For more information, see Embedded Platforms and Mobile Platforms.
Kit Qt Creator groups build and run specific settings as kits to make cross-platform development easier. Each kit consists of a set of values that define one environment, such as a device, toolchain, Qt version, and debugger command to use. Configure kits at Preferences > Kits.
Mode Adapts the Qt Creator user interface to the application development task at hand. Each mode has its own view that shows only the information you need for performing a particular task, and has only the most relevant features and functions related to it. As a result, the majority of the Qt Creator window area is always dedicated to actual application development tasks.
Project Groups together a set of source files, forms, and resource files that you can build for, as well as deploy and run on different desktop and device platforms, as specified by a build configuration, deploy configuration, and run configuration.
Qt version Qt Creator allows you to have multiple versions of Qt installed on your development PC and use different versions to build your projects for different purposes.
Run configuration Starts the application in the location where it was copied by the deploy configuration. By default, when you run a project, Qt Creator builds it, deploys it to the device specified in the selected kit, and runs it there. However, if you have not made any changes to the project since you last built and deployed it, Qt Creator simply runs it again.
Shadow build Shadow building means building a project in a separate directory, the build directory. The build directory is different from the source directory. One of the benefits of shadow building is that it keeps your source directory clean, which makes it faster to switch between build configurations. Therefore, shadow building is the best practice if you need many build configurations for a single set of source files.

Shadow builds are also widely known as out-of-source builds to separate them from in-source builds or in-tree builds.

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