A composer is a tool for dependency management in PHP. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them for you.
Composer is not a package manager in the same sense as Yum or Apt are. Yes, it deals with “packages” or libraries, but it manages them on a per-project basis, installing them in a directory (e.g.
vendor) inside your project. By default, it does not install anything globally. Thus, it is a dependency manager. It does, however, support a “global” project for convenience via the global command.
This idea is not new and the Composer is strongly inspired by the node’s npm and ruby’s bundler.
- You have a project that depends on a number of libraries.
- Some of those libraries depend on other libraries.
- Enables you to declare the libraries you depend on.
- Finds out which versions of which packages can and need to be installed, and installs them (meaning it downloads them into your project).
See the Basic usage chapter for more details on declaring dependencies.
Composer requires PHP 5.3.2+ to run. A few sensitive php settings and compile flags are also required, but when using the installer you will be warned about any incompatibilities.
To install packages from sources instead of simple zip archives, you will need git, svn, fossil or hg depending on how the package is version-controlled.
Composer is multi-platform and we strive to make it run equally well on Windows, Linux and macOS.