Chapter 27. Packages


Packages and libraries allow you to not reinvent the wheel. Instead, you’re able to use the wheels created by others in your projects. This chapter shows you how to use three collections of packages: Composer, PEAR, and PECL. Each provides a set of tools for you to easily incorporate packages into your own code, and even contribute packages of your own back to the common collective.

Composer is a dependency manager. Use it to install the code, including any external packages, needed by the libraries you want use. Composer makes it simple to wrangle the proper versions of code into your projects, both when you begin the project and when you decide to upgrade a package to a newer release. Packagist, the primary place to find Composer packages, has tens of thousands PHP packages.

PEAR is the PHP Extension and Application Repository, a collection of open source classes that work together. Developers can use PEAR classes to parse XML, implement authentication systems, generate CAPTCHAs, send MIME mail with attachments, and a wide variety of other common (and not so common) tasks. A pear is also a tasty fruit.

PECL is the PHP Extension Community Library. PECL, pronounced “pickle,” is a series of extensions to PHP written in C. These extensions are just like the ones distributed with the main PHP release, but they’re of more specialized interest—such as a MongoDB database driver or an OAuth 1.0 extension.

Each of these three collections fills a different need. ...

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