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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.


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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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