PHP WinBinder: Introduction

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UniServer 5-Nano
PHP WinBinder.

WinBinder Plugin Introduction

PHP’s command line interface “CLI” is extremely powerful, however using a command window for user interfacing is restrictive. An ideal solution would be to use a Windows interface.

WinBinder provides a neat solution to the above. It remains actively supported by the open source community. Of importance the WinBinder extension php_winbinder.dll is being compiled for new versions of PHP (currently 5.3.1) hence WinBinder is alive and kicking.

This plugin uses WinBinder to provide a PHP CLI Windows interface. It intentionally does not include a compiler, if you wish to produce standalone code check out this page PHC-Win.

Windows applications are generally coded in “c” before they can be executed require compiling. In contrast this self-contained plugin uses WinBinder allowing an application to be coded in PHP. This has the advantage of providing a common language for web-design, control architecture and user interface. It eliminates the need to learn a new language.

This plugin is self-contained allowing it to be run independently of Uniform Server. However it is designed to fit neatly into Uniform Server’s control architecture thus providing an alternative control interface. If space is at a premium the plugin can be overplayed onto Uniform Server allowing it to use the existing PHP core (VC6).

During development windows scripts are run using a batch file. This batch file can be converted to an exe using a small utility program included with this plugin.


This tutorial explains how to use the plugin and introduces basics of windows programming using WinBinder.

An emphasis is on scripting hence I have avoided the complexity of compiling a windows application. Even with this restriction you can deploy a single file windows application all necessary files are compacted using the included utility.

Tutorial format is based around working examples; first basic principals are explained followed by a working script you can run.


Topics covered

Basic IO

Basic IO introduces two windows components Labels and Push button.

Label text can be dynamically changed hence provide user feedback.

The example shows how to change text using a push button and

introduces the Handler Function (callback function).


WinBinder 2.gif

Text input

Text input allows a user to enter either a text string or numeric data.

Included is the draw rectangle function this can be used for user feedback.

Introduces a control's style parameter.


WinBinder 3.gif

Tab Control 1

Tab Control allows a designer to split a single page application that has

become too visually crowded into smaller logical pages.

Tab Control 2

Tab Control 2 Looks at coding style Handles and ID’s concludes

with a working template.

Tab Control 3

Tab Control 3 Covers adding cosmetics (static controls) a logo (icon)

and some additional functionality to produce a specific application template.

WinBinder 5.gif

Project 1

Project 1 This page looks at creating a separate Windows application

independent of Uniform Server. Applications produced using this method,

are not compiled hence are not standalone executables they require

several support files.

That said they are easy to program using PHP and Winbinder


Project 2

Project 2 This page looks at Bat_To_Exe Converter from

Fatih Kodak combined with WinBinder produces a windows

application coded in PHP without the need for compiling.

An entire windows project can be distributed and run as

a single (exe) file.

Alternative control 1

Alternative control 1

Uniform server 4-Mona series introduced UniController a simple Windows

program written in C to control both Apache and MySQL servers.

This page looks at converting this application into a WinBinder script.



Alternative control 2

Alternative control 2 This page is a continuation of the alternative control.

It covers starting and stopping Apache and MySQL servers from a windows

application. It introduces the timer control and concludes with a fully

functional server.


WinBinder Unicon 1.gif

Alternative control 3

Alternative control 3 Adding functionality to buttons Logs, Edit and Test

requires access to several files that in turn require additional buttons. At a

later date you may require that extra button! Solution is to replace the three

buttons with a drop down menuthis requires minimal changes and offers



WinBinder final.gif


Alternative control 4

Alternative control 4 WinBinder has a few limitations most of which can be worked around. One limitation, there is no direct way to detect that an application has been restored from the tray menu this page provides a solution.

More functionality is added to menu items using the versatile function wb_exec(). This function runs external programs with the option to pass parameters.

This page concludes the tutorial with a fully working alternative controller.


Download and Install

The plugin is independent of Uniform Server and may be extracted to any location.

However if you wish to run the alternative control interface example it must be extracted to Uniform Server’s plugin folder as explained below.

Options 1

  1. Download file V55_WINBINDER_531VC6TS_1.0.exe from SourceForge
  2. Save the file to folder UniServer\plugins
  3. To extract files, double click on file V55_WINBINDER_531VC6TS_1.0.exe, no need to change the path.
  4. If you wish to save space delete V55_WINBINDER_531VC6TS_1.0.exe

Options 2

  1. Download file from SourceForge
  2. Save to any folder (e.g. temp1)
  3. Extract files, navigate to folder winbinder
  4. Copy winbinder to Uniform Server's folder UniServer\plugins.
  5. If you wish to save space delete temp1


Plugin Structure

The plugin has the following file-folder structure:

winbinder     Main Plugin folder NOTES
  bat2exe   Bat to exe converter folder  
    Bat_To_Exe_Converter.exe   Utility program converts bat to exe From Fatih Kodak
    Help [English].chm   Utility documentation From Fatih Kodak
    uslogo.ico   icon for exe - optional (use your own)  
  examples   Tutorial examples  
    test_1.bat   Batch file to run test_1.phpwb See Wiki
    test_1.phpwb   First Tutorial example See Wiki
  php   PHP folder  
    php.exe   CLI command line interface From PHP 5.3.1
    php-win.exe   CLI command line interface (hidden) From PHP 5.3.1
    php5ts.dll   PHP Script Interpreter From PHP 5.3.1
    php-wb.ini   PHP configuration file for WinBinder Edit this to add extensions
    ssleay32.dll   cURL support From PHP 5.3.1
    libeay32.dll   cURL support From PHP 5.3.1
    extensions PHP extensions folder  
      php_winbinder.dll WinBinder extention From see above.
      php_curl.dll   From PHP 5.3.1
    include WinBinder includes folder; General-purpose supporting functions From RC file parser: convert Windows resource file to WinBinder commands From Windows functions From
      winbinder.php Main inclusion file for WinBinder From
    resources WinBinder image resources folder From


Adding PHP extensions

  • Copy additional PHP extensions to folder UniServer\plugins\winbinder\php\extensions
  • Edit file UniServer\plugins\winbinder\php\php-wb.ini

The file contains the following:

extension_dir = "./extensions"
error_reporting = E_ALL | E_STRICT
date.timezone = "Europe/London"

Add lines similar to the first line (enables an extension)


Modification to winbinder.php

When WinBinder was written PHP 5.3.1 did not exist hence file UniServer\plugins\winbinder\php\include\winbinder.php

has been modified to remove PHP version checking. The following section was removed:

$supported_php_version = preg_match(
    '"^(' . '4\.(3\.(10|11)|4\..)' . '|' . '5\.(1\.[3-5]|1\..)' . ')$"', PHP_VERSION

if (!$supported_php_version)
	die("WinBinder does only support the following PHP versions:\n"
		. "- 4.3.10 up to excluding 5.0.0\n- 5.0.3  up to excluding 6.0.0\n");


Plugin Components

This section is included for completeness, it provides details where to obtain the plugin components.


Bat To Exe Converter

A utility to convert a batch file to an executable.

Although not open source is an excellent freeware utility.

Download Bat To Exe Converter version date 18.02.2009



WinBinder is an extension to PHP for building native Windows graphical user interfaces.

Although currently at alpha design stage is fully functional. A minor change is required to disable PHP version check.

Uniform Server's WinBinder plugin is a minimal solution see download for a complete version of WinBinder.




A core component of WinBinder is the PHP extension php_winbinder.dll

Depending on the PHP version you use ensure you use a matching compiled extension.

Your first port of call is

Check out this page for a compatible version.


  • Binary used in this plugin was compiled by Alec Gorge "WinBinder forum name alecgorge" (Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:05 am) found on the above page
  • Download page
  • Compiled for PHP 5.3.1 V6 TS

Alec's web site Ramblingwood



The following components are required obtain these from the full PHP 5.3.1 package or from Uniform Server 5.5-Nano:

  • php.exe
  • php-win.exe
  • php5ts.dll

Depending on your Windows application requirements you may require additional extensions hence its worth downloading a full version of PHP.



The above introduced WinBinder and shows how easy the plugin is to install.

Each Windows application starts with a basic script (template) covered on the next page.