I started playing with php-gtk2 a bit today, I've been waiting for quite awhile for it to become "ready to use". (I did a bug report way back when 5.0 was in beta and got a "wait for php-gtk2 to come out" response...that was a long time ago) Right now I'm a little annoyed that new windows builds haven't been done since october, and that there really hasn't been any work on it for over six weeks now ( yes I was digging in the cvs) - php5.1 is out, they should be automating builds of it like they do for pecl extensions...
Anyway, so I did find a version that works and started playing a bit. The documentation is choppy but a bit of trial and error can usually find any problems. There's also an installer but I'm not a pear fan and that's what they're using to distribute "gnope applications". The idea they're trying to sell is that a pear package makes distributing the application easier - personally I'd rather use bcompiler or a similiar php -> .exe creator for a finished "desktop php project", since the people I'd want to distribute to would need the "whole kit and caboodle" of php + ini + dlls + actual script and would usually be windows users (although there might be a redhat rpm to build...)
I looked at another project - winbinder - recently. It requires a lot fewer dependencies than php-gtk (right now you need
20 dlls, the php.exe or php-win.exe for no cmd window popups plus a special php.ini and any additional php extensions...eww) but windbinder isn't really ready for prime time either - in fact the windbinder api sucks eggs and it still requires you to use several php files instead of having all the winbinder stuff inside the php_windbinder.dll - grrr
Bottom line is even though the new php5.1 improvements could make life really cool (and easier) for creating desktop apps with php, it will be a LONG while before the tools are there. Maybe I'd throw a few fingers into the pie and help out, but I really don't have enough C experience to be anything but dangerous and complaints/suggestions/even general "are you going to work on this again" just get nasty responses from people who ARE skilled enough to work on the projects. So for now php-gtk2 will still be a (big) toy and winbinder won't work for what I really want either. Here's hoping there's something more to play with by the time I'm finished with Kalfu - or at least have a stable release out the door. I suppose that's not a bad thing, since desktop style apps and web based apps require very different mental setups to organize.
One of things I've had a lot of fun doing is playing with registry entries and php files. Right now double clicking a regular php file will run it with the cli, a phpt file will be piped into the kalfu test system I'm working on,and php-gtk will load it into the php-gtk php setup. All without a single annoying bat file :) Pretty nifty, and makes working with php almost fun. I'm tempted to start playing with php activescript again - more fun that vb
pecl4win - php 5.1 is the best thing ever. If only they'd take a look at their compile logs and throw in some additional libraries I could be really happy - dbdo, enchant, freeimage, moentra, oracle, python, sasl, svn (ahhh), xdiff, and pdo firebird, oracle, and informix header stuff is all missing so those never get built. There are some other extensions that just fail because of php 4 > 5 changes or 5 > 5.1 changes or 5 > 6 changes, but quite a list simply need some additional libraries thrown on the machine. And I'm just not brave/stupid/insane enough to try doing windows builds - first of all because I don't have a decent compiler and I'm not paying money for one, and secondly because there aren't any good "I'm an idiot and have never compiled a damn thing on windows" instructions. Perhaps someday I'll have to write some.