Composer & Packagist: Painless Dependency Manager for PHP


Composer is a painless dependency manager for PHP. If you have used the conventional PEAR packaging system, you have probably felt the pain already. Composer came to our rescue.

Getting Started with Composer:
Follow this link to get yourself introduced with Composer:

In short, you declare the dependency of your project in a file named “composer.json”. Then run “composer install” on the terminal. Composer will install the dependencies and provide you a single autoloader file which you can require in your project and start using the libraries/tools etc.

I recommend installing composer into your own “~/bin” so that you can quickly access it from any place. Use these commands to achieve that:

Of course, I assumed that you already have a “~/bin” directory created and the path is in your bash profile or bash rc.

Packagist: Creating packages for Composer
(1) You must have a public repository of codes to prepare a package for packagist. The code repo should be in Subversion, Git or Mercurial.

(2) Create a composer.json in your package’s root directory. It is a good idea to use:

The prompt will help you get started with a basic skeleton.

(3) Add more metadata to the package by adding different fields to the composer.json file. You can read about all the available fields here:

If your package depends on other packages, do mention them on the file. Also if your package needs certain PHP extension, use “ext-*” format. Like – “ext-apc” for apc extension, “ext-curl” for curl etc.

Do not forget to use the autoload feature. Define your PSR-0 or conventional autoloading pattern so that your package can be easily used with the Composer autoloader. Look into the “autoload” part of the schema for more details.

(4) After you have finished editing the composer.json file, validate it by running:

This is step is very important. If you have any error in the json document, packagist will not be able to parse your package. For now, there is no notification system for such failures. So you better validate before you publish the codes.

(5) Create an account, login to and submit your package. Packagist allows convenient hooks for auto updating to your recent branches.

(6) Package versioning is dependent on the tags of CVS. Name your tags in “X.Y.Z” or “vX.Y.Z” format. Eg. “1.0.3” or “v1.0.3”.

You might want to examine these works for digging deeper into composer and packagist –

PhpTube Package:
Github Repository:

4 Comments Composer & Packagist: Painless Dependency Manager for PHP

  1. Pingback: Using annotations in PHP with Doctrine Annotation Reader | Abu Ashraf Masnun

  2. Andrew

    Thanks for the post – great introduction to using Composer! I just started using Composer to manage dependencies on my WordPress plugins. I didn’t find anyone who is currently using Composer and WordPress in tandem, so I wrote a howto on my blog for anyone who is interested.


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