Fellow PHP Developers,

I have been programming in PHP for... god knows how long (at least 6 years). But besides PHP I also have experience in developing with JAVA, C++, little bit of Python, and also Ruby on Rails. Among them PHP just made more sense to me not only because of its popularity but because of its solid track record of being super reliable etc...

What bugged me though was I could not use PHP to create a decent Desktop Application. PHP-GTK, Titanium and other packagers were just horrible and most of them died out. Adobe AIR was promising but no PHP support... so no need to compliment that, lol.

Basically I wanted the following:

  • Something like PHPUnit
  • Something like Selenium for UI Testing
  • Something like CakePHP Framework
  • Something that allows me to create robust GUI for desktop
  • Something that is super easy to deploy
  • Something that works on Mac, Windows and Linux... period.


Sadly JAVA, Python and others were just not what I wanted. Java's Swing Framework doesn't excite me, wxPython is cool but doesn't have the same cool factor Twitter's Bootstrap provides. It lead me to finally decide that perhaps I just have to stick to something like XAMPP or WAMP... but XAMPP/WAMP are bloated and not that friendly for the average computer users. Besides starting the server and going to a URL like http://localhost/weird/ is clunky!

Ultimately... I decided to make my own solution and give it away for free. PHP has given me so much... I think it's the least I can do for the community.

So... here's my creation. It is called, Nightrain, the PHP Native Desktop Application packager.

Here's what you can do with this:

  • Package any PHP Web Application as a Native Desktop Application (Just tested with Drupal and punBB... if they work, any PHP application should work!)
  • Use the precompiled PHP or use your own custom compiled PHP if required
  • Run your application on Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Download Nightrain, Copy your PHP app to /www, Do your setup, distribute!


You can download the packager here: http://www.nightrain.naetech.com/

Also check the links on Tutorials, Troubleshooting and Gallery on the top for inspiration.

Nightrain is still in beta so you might run into issues. Just let me know and we will take it from there.

I hope this product will allow you to use your existing PHP skills to tackle the Desktop market as well! No need to learn JAVA or C++... just use good old PHP!

Let me know how you feel about this. Good, bad.. the ugly, just let me know