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⚠️ NativePHP is currently in alpha. We do not recommend distributing production releases of your applications yet.


1php artisan native:serve

NativePHP isn't prescriptive about how you develop your application. You can build it in the way you're most comfortable and familiar with, just as if you were building a traditional web application.

The only difference comes in the feedback cycle. Instead of switching to and refreshing your browser, you'll need to be serving your application using php artisan native:serve and refreshing (and in some cases restarting) your application to see changes.

This is known as 'running a dev build'.

What does the native:serve command do?

The native:serve command runs the Electron/Tauri 'debug build' commands, which build your application with various debug options set to help make debugging easier, such as allowing you to show the Dev Tools in the embedded web view.

It also keeps the connection to the terminal open so you can see and inspect useful output from your app, such as logs, in real time.

These builds are unsigned and not meant for distribution. They do not go through various optimizations typically done when building your application for production and so they expose more about the inner workings of the code than you would typically want to share with your users.

A major part of the build process, even for debug builds, involves copying your application code into the runtime's build environment. This means that changes you make to your application code will not be reflected in your running application until you restart it.

You can stop the native:serve command by pressing Ctrl-C on your keyboard in the terminal window it's running in.

Alternatively, you can use hot reloading.

Hot Reloading

Hot reloading is an awesome feature for automatically seeing changes to your application during development. NativePHP supports hot reloading of certain files within its core and your application, but it does not watch all of your source code for changes. It is left to you to determine how you want to approach this.

If you're using Vite, hot reloading will just work inside your app as long as you've booted your Vite dev server and included the Vite script tag in your views (ideally in your app's main layout file).

You can do this easily in Blade using the @vite directive.

Then, in a separate terminal session to your php artisan native:serve, from the root folder of your application, run:

1npm run dev

Now changes you make to files in your source code will cause a hot reload in your running application.

Which files trigger reloads will depend on your Vite configuration.

First run

When your application runs for the first time, a number of things occur.

NativePHP will:

  1. Create the appdata folder - where this is created depends which platform you're developing on. It is named according to your nativephp.app_id config value (which is based on the NATIVEPHP_APP_ID env variable).
  2. Create a SQLite database
  3. Migrate the database

This is identical to what will happen when a new user runs a production build of your app for the first time on their device.

If you change your app_id, a new appdata folder may need to be created and all of these steps will need to run again. No previous files will be deleted.

Subsequent runs

Every time your application boots, NativePHP checks that these files exist and creates them if they don't. It also tries to run your migrations. This is done with the --force flag so that it is fully automated even in production.