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Develop Desktop GUI Apps with PHP-GTK, the Standalone PHP

PHP enters the standalone GUI application arena with PHP-GTK. Learn the basic building blocks of PHP-GTK coding with a tutorial for first installing the language and then building and connecting its widgets, buttons, and functions.

HP, an increasingly popular Web scripting language (see Figure 1), is particularly well suited for the creation of dynamic database-connected Web sites. The two strengths that make PHP a powerful server-side scripting language are its abilities to:
  1. embed directly into existing HTML
  2. connect to a wide variety of databases
Figure 1. PHP Usage Statistics, April 2004: PHP is an increasingly popular Web scripting language.

Now, PHP has begun to carve a space for itself in the standalone application arena as well with PHP-GTK. As its name indicates, PHP-GTK combines PHP with the GIMP Tool Kit (GTK), an object-oriented framework for developing graphical user interfaces (GUIs). GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which was developed using X11 on Linux platforms, basically enables the same PHP-GTK code to run on Linux, MS Windows, BeOS, and Mac 0SX without any changes. So while PHP requires a server—often Apache—to run, you can use PHP-GTK to create standalone GUIs that run on Windows, Linux, or Mac desktops, independently of a server.

This article provides a guide to getting PHP-GTK up and running on your Windows and/or Linux desktop(s), and concludes with a tutorial for building and connecting its widgets, buttons, and functions in a desktop application.

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