Composer is a dependency manager tool that works to manage dependency in PHP project that means install, update, and configure all the third-party libraries used in that project.

Those who have not done much work in the programming language through the command line will find it a little difficult to understand the composer, but later the same thing will become very easy. There is a question in the mind of every beginner if If we do not use the composer, we download and use the direct library, then what is the harm with it? We will talk about all these topics.

What is composer in PHP?

Composer is a tool using which to manage dependencies of a project built in PHP programming language such as installing or updating third-party libraries.

Whenever we work on a big project, we need some third-party libraries (already built by someone else) with the help of which we can make our development fast and easy.

Let’s understand with live example: the way we build a house, we need raw materials like Bricks, Rod / Bar etc. So here the brick is already made by someone because we can make it ourselves but for that we need experience and time. Now we use pre-made bricks to save time, which makes our work easy and fast and secondly, if you make bricks first thing then you may not make bricks strong.

Similarly, whenever we create a web application or any type of application, we need a lot of such functionality that will take a lot of time to create and to avoid this we use third-party libraries because they are experienced It is made by the developer which is absolutely perfect.

Why a Composer is Required?

Some people who are new in the field of software development feel that download and implement anything directly that they find easy but there are many things that you need to know even easier.

We need the composer to install and update the third-party library. The composer also works the way we use a cart to bring bricks.

The composer picks up the library from one place and copies and configures it in your project through the internet. After which you can use the features of that library in your project.

If you did the same thing by direct download, then you would have to make changes in different file which you might not even know and due to manually change your project might be down, so we use composer which install the dependent library It also configures.

Now the question arises from where will the composer library be brought?

All PHP packages (libraries) are online stores at one place, just as apps for your mobile are available at different play stores, similarly libraries for PHP are also store at one store from where you can download them. Or you can say that from where the composer downloads it. The name of that store is Packagist

You can see all available packages of PHP by visiting Packagist’s website and you can also see how to use it.

How to install Composer?

Before installing Composer, it is necessary to have PHP installed in your system, because when you install composer, you have to give the path of PHP.

Step 1: First you composer Go to the official website and download the installation file of the composer from there. Here I am telling how to install in windows operating system because most people use windows operating system only. If you are a Linux or MAC user, then a command has been given for you on the official website of the composer, which you can install the composer by following.

Step 2: You will see the download option on the official website of the composer where you click on it and go to the download page.

Step 3: Now composer-setup.exe Click on and download the installation file.

Step 4: When the file is downloaded, then double-click on it and install it.

Step 5: Now you Install for all Users (Recommendation) Select so that the composer is available for all users in that computer.

Step 6: Now you have to select Yes for confirmation, then in the box that will be open Next Have to click on Some people recommend developer To check the option but if you check it, you will not get the uninstaller, due to which you cannot uninstall the composer, so leave it unchecked.

developer option
developer option

Step 7: Now you have to select the path of PHP by default, it picks up the installed path of PHP, but if your system is not picking the path of PHP, then you have to select the path of PHP by clicking on browse. Keep in mind that where you have installed PHP, select the path from there. As you can see in the image.

Composer PHP path setup
Composer PHP path setup

Step 8: Now after that click on Next, Install and Finish one by one after which the composer will be installed in your system.

How to check if composer is installed in the system?

You can install the composer by following the steps given above, but after the composer is installed, how will you find out whether the composer is installed correctly in your system or how it will be detected before installing the composer. composer is already installed So let me show you how to check the composer.

  • First of all, open the command prompt.
  • After that composer Write down and press enter.
  • If the composer is installed in your system, then the composer will be written in capital letters as you can see in the image and if the composer is not installed then there will be some kind of message show. Composer is not recognized as an internal or external command

Important Points:

Whenever you install or update any type of library through composer, for that composer.json It is very important to have a file. composer.json Some of these types of codes are written in the file:

    "require": {
        "monolog/monolog": "1.0.*"

in this require The keyword suggests that all these types of libraries are needed in this project that means this project is dependent on all these libraries. Like in the code above you can see that I monolog has included library whose version 1.0.* Maybe here * Instead of 1, 2, 3 there can be any version.

Now as composer install If he executes the command, he composer.json will go into the file and add all the libraries added to the require object within our project, install (or say include) within the vendor folder, as well as composer.lock We will also create a file named in which the complete details of the installed library are available.

Sometimes in an interview we are asked whether we composer.lock The file should also be uploaded to GIT along with the source code. The answer is yes because it contains the details of the dependent library which we composer install help in running the command. You can also upload it to the server.

What is the difference between composer install and composer update?

Whenever we upload our project to another server then we composer install or composer update It is necessary to run the command so that all the dependent libraries are installed, but here some people confuse what is the difference between the two.

When I was using composer in PHP for the first time and in the company’s project I accidentally without knowledge composer update I had run the command, due to which a lot of updated files started appearing in my GIT repository and I was in tension but now you do not need to take tension, I will tell you the difference of both.

First we composer update Learn about composer update The command works like this:

  • The first composer.json Reads
  • After that, which is not the required library but still available in the vendor folder, delete them as if you have composer.json If we have removed some library from him, he removes them.
  • After that it installs the latest version of the libraries that are installed. (This only * Happens with if you assume your version 1.2.3 If specified, it will install the same version, it will not update it)
  • After that composer.lock will regenerate the file.

Now we understand composer install Use of command:

  • The first composer.json Reads
  • After that composer.lock Checks the file if that file is found, then installs the libraries accordingly and if that file is not found then it internally composer update executes the command.

Us anytime composer update Should not run the command but if you ever upgrade the version composer update can run the command.

composer update We should not run the command quickly because it adds a lot of new functionality which can cause our project to break.

Conclusion and Final Words

Composer is the best tool that manages to manage the library, it is available only for PHP. Different tools exist for other programming and scripting language such as npm for node JS and PIP for python.

In the beginning you may find it a bit difficult to use the command, but later you will find it so easy that you will become the commander again. Using the composer in PHP, you can manage the libraries of your project very easily.

I have a suggestion that if you ever play composer in live project, before that you should be 100% sure that the command you are going to run is correct otherwise your project may break.