When you are on a Windows platform, the COM extension opens up a wide world of possibilities for cool new features and extensions. If you are writing scripts to be executed locally, the ability to automate Office and other COM-enabled packages becomes a real advantage.
No matter what platform you are on, Java is almost certainly available and brings a wide array of cross-platform tools and flexibility to bear on your PHP applications. While Swing is certainly a possibility, it is almost certainly only worth considering if PHP-GTK is unavailable or unsuitable for the task.
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