How to use Composer in Laravel 8 [2023 Edition]

PHP now boasts well-established and capable frameworks that can perform the majority of fundamental processes. In fact, if you possess astute discernment, you will selectively extract components from frameworks such as Zend, Laravel, and Symfony, among others. This phase can prove to be rather taxing, demanding meticulous management of component dependencies. This is precisely where Laravel’s Composer comes into play; otherwise, chaos could ensue.

Composer serves as a high-level package manager within the realm of PHP programming. It furnishes a standardized approach for overseeing the dependencies of PHP applications and the requisite libraries they rely upon. Conceived by Nils Adermann and Jordi Boggiano, Composer has since been expertly maintained by the duo.

What Exactly is Composer?

Composer functions as a tool that consolidates dependencies and libraries, facilitating the seamless creation of projects tailored to specific systems and requirements. The incorporation of third-party libraries into a project becomes effortlessly achievable through Composer. This tool is employed to govern its own prerequisites, with dependencies meticulously outlined within the Composer.

Engineered to not only acquire the desired components or packages for your PHP application, Composer also diligently monitors the dependencies associated with these components or packages. Additionally, it constructs a class map for the downloaded libraries.

Upon its initial loading, Composer becomes universally accessible within the system. It adheres to the “DRY” principleDon’t Repeat Yourself—a cardinal rule in software engineering. This principle advocates against reinventing established solutions while developing applications, leading to time efficiency and code elegance. It is particularly needed  in projects when  multiple developers are collaborating.

Installing Composer

You can install Laravel composer using Composer create-project command in your terminal:

composer create-project laravel/laravel {directory} 4.2 --prefer-dist

To install in Apache The public/.htaccess file provided by the framework is used to permit URLs without index.php. Make sure to activate the mod_rewrite module if Apache will be used to serve your Laravel application.

Try this one if the.htaccess file provided with Laravel does not function with your Apache installation:

Options +FollowSymLinks

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteCond %

{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteRule ^ index.php [L]

Laravel leverages Composer to manage dependencies within its ecosystem. Therefore, before embarking on Laravel usage, a prerequisite check for Composer existence on your framework is essential. In the event that Composer is absent from your computer,

Employ the Composer command to verify its presence or absence.

Navigate to Vendor → Composer.json, Composer.lock within the public_html directory. This is pre-provided by Laravel.

Open the Composer.json file via $ nano Composer.json, revealing a JSON structure comprising various blocks that can be employed as needed.

For instance, if you intend to integrate a URL shortener library into Laravel, proceed to Packagist, search for the relevant package, e.g., “Laravel Debugger” (barryvdh/laravel-debugbar), and execute the corresponding SSH Terminal command.

Here, “barryvdh” denotes the vendor name, and “barryvdh/Laravel-debugbar” signifies the package name.

Adhere to the instructions during package integration from Packagist to ensure proper installation in Laravel.

Post composer installs usage; it’s prudent to execute composer update. This is because the composer install generates the Composer. Lock file, encompassing precise library versions essential for Composer’s functioning. While Composer installs disregards composer.json, solely focusing on the immutable Composer.lock file, composer update serves to refresh and download any new libraries specified in composer.json. In the case of a deleted composer.lock file, Composer install regains functionality. On the other hand, the composer updates vendor/package selectively updates designated libraries from the JSON file.

Leveraging Composer requires you to identify necessary libraries. The composer will automatically append the library to composer.json and execute an update to retrieve it. Notably, this process also procures any dependent files, eliminating dependency conflicts.

Are you curious about how Composer identifies code downloads based solely on component names, such as components/jQuery?

The composer establishes a connection to the official Packagist repository. This repository serves as a comprehensive hub for libraries manageable through Composer. You even have the option to craft your own packages and submit them to Packagist, making them accessible to others.

Removing Packages or Components

Eliminating packages or components is straightforward. Employ the following command:

$ Composer remove vendor/package

Enhancing Project Portability

For enhanced project portability, commit code files along with Composer.json and Composer.lock files to Git. This replaces the need to include the vendor folder. Fellow developers can clone your repository via “Git clone YOUR_REPOSITORY” and execute Composer install to obtain the project’s dependent files. These files are organized within the vendor folder created by the command.

Final Say on Composer in Laravel 8

Composer plays an indispensable role in Laravel’s ecosystem, serving as a crucial tool for efficient dependency management. Its installation and usage streamline the process of acquiring and maintaining Laravel and its packages, ensuring a seamless and reliable development experience.

Composer’s ability to handle package dependencies, fetch required libraries, and manage their versions greatly simplifies the task of building robust Laravel applications. It enhances the overall development workflow by automating the tedious aspects of package management, allowing developers to focus on crafting innovative features and delivering high-quality software.

By incorporating Composer into your Laravel development workflow, you not only harness the power of efficient dependency management but also ensure the security and stability of your project. It’s a fundamental tool that empowers developers to build and maintain Laravel applications with ease, ultimately contributing to a more productive and successful development journey.

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