Repositories#

This chapter will explain the concept of packages and repositories, what kinds of repositories are available, and how they work.

Concepts#

Before we look at the different types of repositories that exist, we need to understand some basic concepts that Composer is built on.

Package#

Composer is a dependency manager. It installs packages locally. A package is essentially a directory containing something. In this case it is PHP code, but in theory it could be anything. And it contains a package description which has a name and a version. The name and the version are used to identify the package.

In fact, internally Composer sees every version as a separate package. While this distinction does not matter when you are using Composer, it's quite important when you want to change it.

In addition to the name and the version, there is useful metadata. The information most relevant for installation is the source definition, which describes where to get the package contents. The package data points to the contents of the package. And there are two options here: dist and source.

Dist: The dist is a packaged version of the package data. Usually a released version, usually a stable release.

Source: The source is used for development. This will usually originate from a source code repository, such as git. You can fetch this when you want to modify the downloaded package.

Packages can supply either of these, or even both. Depending on certain factors, such as user-supplied options and stability of the package, one will be preferred.

Repository#

A repository is a package source. It's a list of packages/versions. Composer will look in all your repositories to find the packages your project requires.

By default, only the Packagist.org repository is registered in Composer. You can add more repositories to your project by declaring them in composer.json.

Repositories are only available to the root package and the repositories defined in your dependencies will not be loaded. Read the FAQ entry if you want to learn why.

When resolving dependencies, packages are looked up from repositories from top to bottom, and by default, as soon as a package is found in one, Composer stops looking in other repositories. Read the repository priorities article for more details and to see how to change this behavior.

Types#

Composer#

The main repository type is the composer repository. It uses a single packages.json file that contains all of the package metadata.

This is also the repository type that packagist uses. To reference a composer repository, supply the path before the packages.json file. In the case of packagist, that file is located at /packages.json, so the URL of the repository would be repo.packagist.org. For example.org/packages.json the repository URL would be example.org.

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "composer",
            "url": "https://example.org"
        }
    ]
}

packages#

The only required field is packages. The JSON structure is as follows:

{
    "packages": {
        "vendor/package-name": {
            "dev-master": { @composer.json },
            "1.0.x-dev": { @composer.json },
            "0.0.1": { @composer.json },
            "1.0.0": { @composer.json }
        }
    }
}

The @composer.json marker would be the contents of the composer.json from that package version including as a minimum:

  • name
  • version
  • dist or source

Here is a minimal package definition:

{
    "name": "smarty/smarty",
    "version": "3.1.7",
    "dist": {
        "url": "https://www.smarty.net/files/Smarty-3.1.7.zip",
        "type": "zip"
    }
}

It may include any of the other fields specified in the schema.

notify-batch#

The notify-batch field allows you to specify a URL that will be called every time a user installs a package. The URL can be either an absolute path (that will use the same domain as the repository), or a fully qualified URL.

An example value:

{
    "notify-batch": "/downloads/"
}

For example.org/packages.json containing a monolog/monolog package, this would send a POST request to example.org/downloads/ with following JSON request body:

{
    "downloads": [
        {"name": "monolog/monolog", "version": "1.2.1.0"}
    ]
}

The version field will contain the normalized representation of the version number.

This field is optional.

metadata-url, available-packages and available-package-patterns#

The metadata-url field allows you to provide a URL template to serve all packages which are in the repository. It must contain the placeholder %package%.

This field is new in Composer v2, and is prioritised over the provider-includes and providers-url fields if both are present. For compatibility with both Composer v1 and v2 you ideally want to provide both. New repository implementations may only need to support v2 however.

An example:

{
    "metadata-url": "/p2/%package%.json"
}

Whenever Composer looks for a package, it will replace %package% by the package name, and fetch that URL. If dev stability is allowed for the package, it will also load the URL again with $packageName~dev (e.g. /p2/foo/bar~dev.json to look for foo/bar's dev versions).

The foo/bar.json and foo/bar~dev.json files containing package versions MUST contain only versions for the foo/bar package, as {"packages":{"foo/bar":[ ... versions here ... ]}}.

Caching is done via the use of If-Modified-Since header, so make sure you return Last-Modified headers and that they are accurate.

The array of versions can also optionally be minified using Composer\MetadataMinifier\MetadataMinifier::minify() from composer/metadata-minifier. If you do that, you should add a "minified": "composer/2.0" key at the top level to indicate to Composer it must expand the version list back into the original data. See https://repo.packagist.org/p2/monolog/monolog.json for an example.

Any requested package which does not exist MUST return a 404 status code, which will indicate to Composer that this package does not exist in your repository. Make sure the 404 response is fast to avoid blocking Composer. Avoid redirects to alternative 404 pages.

If your repository only has a small number of packages, and you want to avoid the 404-requests, you can also specify an "available-packages" key in packages.json which should be an array with all the package names that your repository contain. Alternatively you can specify an "available-package-patterns" key which is an array of package name patterns (with * matching any string, e.g. vendor/* would make composer look up every matching package name in this repository).

This field is optional.

providers-api#

The providers-api field allows you to provide a URL template to serve all packages which provide a given package name, but not the package which has that name. It must contain the placeholder %package%.

For example https://packagist.org/providers/monolog/monolog.json lists some package which have a "provide" rule for monolog/monolog, but it does not list monolog/monolog itself.

{
    "providers-api": "https://packagist.org/providers/%package%.json",
}

This field is optional.

list#

The list field allows you to return the names of packages which match a given field (or all names if no filter is present). It should accept an optional ?filter=xx query param, which can contain * as wildcards matching any substring.

Replace/provide rules should not be considered here.

It must return an array of package names:

{
    "packageNames": [
        "a/b",
        "c/d"
    ]
}

See https://packagist.org/packages/list.json?filter=composer/* for example.

This field is optional.

provider-includes and providers-url#

The provider-includes field allows you to list a set of files that list package names provided by this repository. The hash should be a sha256 of the files in this case.

The providers-url describes how provider files are found on the server. It is an absolute path from the repository root. It must contain the placeholders %package% and %hash%.

These fields are used by Composer v1, or if your repository does not have the metadata-url field set.

An example:

{
    "provider-includes": {
        "providers-a.json": {
            "sha256": "f5b4bc0b354108ef08614e569c1ed01a2782e67641744864a74e788982886f4c"
        },
        "providers-b.json": {
            "sha256": "b38372163fac0573053536f5b8ef11b86f804ea8b016d239e706191203f6efac"
        }
    },
    "providers-url": "/p/%package%$%hash%.json"
}

Those files contain lists of package names and hashes to verify the file integrity, for example:

{
    "providers": {
        "acme/foo": {
            "sha256": "38968de1305c2e17f4de33aea164515bc787c42c7e2d6e25948539a14268bb82"
        },
        "acme/bar": {
            "sha256": "4dd24c930bd6e1103251306d6336ac813b563a220d9ca14f4743c032fb047233"
        }
    }
}

The file above declares that acme/foo and acme/bar can be found in this repository, by loading the file referenced by providers-url, replacing %package% by the vendor namespaced package name and %hash% by the sha256 field. Those files themselves contain package definitions as described above.

These fields are optional. You probably don't need them for your own custom repository.

stream options#

The packages.json file is loaded using a PHP stream. You can set extra options on that stream using the options parameter. You can set any valid PHP stream context option. See Context options and parameters for more information.

VCS#

VCS stands for version control system. This includes versioning systems like git, svn, fossil or hg. Composer has a repository type for installing packages from these systems.

Loading a package from a VCS repository#

There are a few use cases for this. The most common one is maintaining your own fork of a third party library. If you are using a certain library for your project, and you decide to change something in the library, you will want your project to use the patched version. If the library is on GitHub (this is the case most of the time), you can fork it there and push your changes to your fork. After that you update the project's composer.json. All you have to do is add your fork as a repository and update the version constraint to point to your custom branch. In composer.json, you should prefix your custom branch name with "dev-". For version constraint naming conventions see Libraries for more information.

Example assuming you patched monolog to fix a bug in the bugfix branch:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": "https://github.com/igorw/monolog"
        }
    ],
    "require": {
        "monolog/monolog": "dev-bugfix"
    }
}

When you run php composer.phar update, you should get your modified version of monolog/monolog instead of the one from packagist.

Note that you should not rename the package unless you really intend to fork it in the long term, and completely move away from the original package. Composer will correctly pick your package over the original one since the custom repository has priority over packagist. If you want to rename the package, you should do so in the default (often master) branch and not in a feature branch, since the package name is taken from the default branch.

Also note that the override will not work if you change the name property in your forked repository's composer.json file as this needs to match the original for the override to work.

If other dependencies rely on the package you forked, it is possible to inline-alias it so that it matches a constraint that it otherwise would not. For more information see the aliases article.

Using private repositories#

Exactly the same solution allows you to work with your private repositories at GitHub and BitBucket:

{
    "require": {
        "vendor/my-private-repo": "dev-master"
    },
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url":  "git@bitbucket.org:vendor/my-private-repo.git"
        }
    ]
}

The only requirement is the installation of SSH keys for a git client.

Git alternatives#

Git is not the only version control system supported by the VCS repository. The following are supported:

To get packages from these systems you need to have their respective clients installed. That can be inconvenient. And for this reason there is special support for GitHub and BitBucket that use the APIs provided by these sites, to fetch the packages without having to install the version control system. The VCS repository provides dists for them that fetch the packages as zips.

The VCS driver to be used is detected automatically based on the URL. However, should you need to specify one for whatever reason, you can use git-bitbucket, hg-bitbucket, github, gitlab, perforce, fossil, git, svn or hg as the repository type instead of vcs.

If you set the no-api key to true on a github repository it will clone the repository as it would with any other git repository instead of using the GitHub API. But unlike using the git driver directly, Composer will still attempt to use github's zip files.

Please note:

  • To let Composer choose which driver to use the repository type needs to be defined as "vcs"
  • If you already used a private repository, this means Composer should have cloned it in cache. If you want to install the same package with drivers, remember to launch the command composer clearcache followed by the command composer update to update composer cache and install the package from dist.

BitBucket Driver Configuration#

Note that the repository endpoint for BitBucket needs to be https rather than git.

After setting up your bitbucket repository, you will also need to set up authentication.

Subversion Options#

Since Subversion has no native concept of branches and tags, Composer assumes by default that code is located in $url/trunk, $url/branches and $url/tags. If your repository has a different layout you can change those values. For example if you used capitalized names you could configure the repository like this:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": "http://svn.example.org/projectA/",
            "trunk-path": "Trunk",
            "branches-path": "Branches",
            "tags-path": "Tags"
        }
    ]
}

If you have no branches or tags directory you can disable them entirely by setting the branches-path or tags-path to false.

If the package is in a sub-directory, e.g. /trunk/foo/bar/composer.json and /tags/1.0/foo/bar/composer.json, then you can make Composer access it by setting the "package-path" option to the sub-directory, in this example it would be "package-path": "foo/bar/".

If you have a private Subversion repository you can save credentials in the http-basic section of your config (See Schema):

{
    "http-basic": {
        "svn.example.org": {
            "username": "username",
            "password": "password"
        }
    }
}

If your Subversion client is configured to store credentials by default these credentials will be saved for the current user and existing saved credentials for this server will be overwritten. To change this behavior by setting the "svn-cache-credentials" option in your repository configuration:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": "http://svn.example.org/projectA/",
            "svn-cache-credentials": false
        }
    ]
}

Package#

If you want to use a project that does not support Composer through any of the means above, you still can define the package yourself by using a package repository.

Basically, you define the same information that is included in the composer repository's packages.json, but only for a single package. Again, the minimum required fields are name, version, and either of dist or source.

Here is an example for the smarty template engine:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "package",
            "package": {
                "name": "smarty/smarty",
                "version": "3.1.7",
                "dist": {
                    "url": "https://www.smarty.net/files/Smarty-3.1.7.zip",
                    "type": "zip"
                },
                "source": {
                    "url": "http://smarty-php.googlecode.com/svn/",
                    "type": "svn",
                    "reference": "tags/Smarty_3_1_7/distribution/"
                },
                "autoload": {
                    "classmap": ["libs/"]
                }
            }
        }
    ],
    "require": {
        "smarty/smarty": "3.1.*"
    }
}

Typically, you would leave the source part off, as you don't really need it.

Note: This repository type has a few limitations and should be avoided whenever possible:

  • Composer will not update the package unless you change the version field.
  • Composer will not update the commit references, so if you use master as reference you will have to delete the package to force an update, and will have to deal with an unstable lock file.

The "package" key in a package repository may be set to an array to define multiple versions of a package:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "package",
            "package": [
                {
                    "name": "foo/bar",
                    "version": "1.0.0",
                    ...
                },
                {
                    "name": "foo/bar",
                    "version": "2.0.0",
                    ...
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Hosting your own#

While you will probably want to put your packages on packagist most of the time, there are some use cases for hosting your own repository.

  • Private company packages: If you are part of a company that uses Composer for their packages internally, you might want to keep those packages private.

  • Separate ecosystem: If you have a project which has its own ecosystem, and the packages aren't really reusable by the greater PHP community, you might want to keep them separate to packagist. An example of this would be wordpress plugins.

For hosting your own packages, a native composer type of repository is recommended, which provides the best performance.

There are a few tools that can help you create a composer repository.

Private Packagist#

Private Packagist is a hosted or self-hosted application providing private package hosting as well as mirroring of GitHub, Packagist.org and other package repositories.

Check out Packagist.com for more information.

Satis#

Satis is a static composer repository generator. It is a bit like an ultra- lightweight, static file-based version of packagist.

You give it a composer.json containing repositories, typically VCS and package repository definitions. It will fetch all the packages that are required and dump a packages.json that is your composer repository.

Check the satis GitHub repository and the handling private packages article for more information.

Artifact#

There are some cases, when there is no ability to have one of the previously mentioned repository types online, even the VCS one. A typical example could be cross-organisation library exchange through build artifacts. Of course, most of the time these are private. To use these archives as-is, one can use a repository of type artifact with a folder containing ZIP or TAR archives of those private packages:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "artifact",
            "url": "path/to/directory/with/zips/"
        }
    ],
    "require": {
        "private-vendor-one/core": "15.6.2",
        "private-vendor-two/connectivity": "*",
        "acme-corp/parser": "10.3.5"
    }
}

Each zip artifact is a ZIP archive with composer.json in root folder:

unzip -l acme-corp-parser-10.3.5.zip

composer.json
...

If there are two archives with different versions of a package, they are both imported. When an archive with a newer version is added in the artifact folder and you run update, that version will be imported as well and Composer will update to the latest version.

Path#

In addition to the artifact repository, you can use the path one, which allows you to depend on a local directory, either absolute or relative. This can be especially useful when dealing with monolithic repositories.

For instance, if you have the following directory structure in your repository:

...
├── apps
│   └── my-app
│       └── composer.json
├── packages
│   └── my-package
│       └── composer.json
...

Then, to add the package my/package as a dependency, in your apps/my-app/composer.json file, you can use the following configuration:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "path",
            "url": "../../packages/my-package"
        }
    ],
    "require": {
        "my/package": "*"
    }
}

If the package is a local VCS repository, the version may be inferred by the branch or tag that is currently checked out. Otherwise, the version should be explicitly defined in the package's composer.json file. If the version cannot be resolved by these means, it is assumed to be dev-master.

When the version cannot be inferred from the local VCS repository, or when you want to override the version, you can use the versions option when declaring the repository:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "path",
            "url": "../../packages/my-package",
            "options": {
                "versions": {
                    "my/package": "4.2-dev"
                }
            }
        }
    ]
}

The local package will be symlinked if possible, in which case the output in the console will read Symlinking from ../../packages/my-package. If symlinking is not possible the package will be copied. In that case, the console will output Mirrored from ../../packages/my-package.

Instead of default fallback strategy you can force to use symlink with "symlink": true or mirroring with "symlink": false option. Forcing mirroring can be useful when deploying or generating package from a monolithic repository.

Note: On Windows, directory symlinks are implemented using NTFS junctions because they can be created by non-admin users. Mirroring will always be used on versions below Windows 7 or if proc_open has been disabled.

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "type": "path",
            "url": "../../packages/my-package",
            "options": {
                "symlink": false
            }
        }
    ]
}

Leading tildes are expanded to the current user's home folder, and environment variables are parsed in both Windows and Linux/Mac notations. For example ~/git/mypackage will automatically load the mypackage clone from /home/<username>/git/mypackage, equivalent to $HOME/git/mypackage or %USERPROFILE%/git/mypackage.

Note: Repository paths can also contain wildcards like * and ?. For details, see the PHP glob function.

Disabling Packagist.org#

You can disable the default Packagist.org repository by adding this to your composer.json:

{
    "repositories": [
        {
            "packagist.org": false
        }
    ]
}

You can disable Packagist.org globally by using the global config flag:

composer config -g repo.packagist false

Schema | Config

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