Working with Composer & Examples

Tutorial: How to use Composer
I. Composer 101
II. Installing Composer on cPanel servers
III. Working with Composer & Examples

In the previous articles we worked through what composer is, who uses it, and how to install it. Here we will cover some basic use case examples of how to acquire packages using the composer tool we previously setup.

The example documented in this article can be done either locally, or on your Liquid Web Fully Managed cPanel server, in either case these directions should be run as the user owning the website files. On a cPanel server this would mean you’re running these via SSH logged in as the cPanel user and you would be starting from within public_html.

Example #1: Getting GuzzleHTTP using Composer

One of the most popular PHP HTTP clients, Guzzle is a library that can make sending HTTP requests simple and easy. As a widely used and well-documented library, Guzzle is an easy package for any developer or designer to take advantage of.

To try out Guzzle run the following commands:

$ mkdir guzzleTest
$ cd ./guzzleTest/
$ composer require guzzlehttp/guzzle

Then create an index.php file in the same folder with the following content:

require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';
$client = new GuzzleHttp\Client();

// Make a request
$res = $client->request('GET', '');

// Output the status code of the response
echo 'Page response code: '.$res->getStatusCode();
echo "<hr/>";
// "200"

// Output headers of the response
echo 'Response Content-Type header: ';
print_r( $res->getHeader('content-type') );
echo "<hr/>";
// 'application/json; charset=utf8'

// Output the actual content (body) of the response
echo 'Response Body content: ';
echo $res->getBody();
echo "<hr/>";
In the above PHP code, lines starting with ‘//’ are considered comments and are just there to help detail each step of script.

Opening the new index.php file in your browser should yield a page that shows: the HTTP response code, the ‘Content-Type’ header of the response provided, and the actual content of the response.

Example #2: Getting a framework

While composer is mainly used to get specific libraries and packages needed for a site to run, it’s also possible for a whole framework or CMS to be provided using composer. Laravel is one of many popular PHP frameworks that use composer to distribute their core files. An example of using composer to get Laravel can be done with the following commands:

$ composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel ./laraTest

Once this command has been executed composer will do a number of things for you; it will create the “laraTest” folder, initialize the composer.json file, get any necessary dependencies and then setup the Laravel-specific files.

To verify this example you will need some familiarity with the Laravel framework, however you can verify that composer did its job by checking the file structure. To check the file structure run the following command:

$ ls -lah

You should see a structure similar to:

total 200K
drwxr-xr-x 11 user users 4.0K Aug 8 13:17 .
drwxr-xr-x 10 user nginx 4.0K Aug 8 13:16 ..
drwxr-xr-x 10 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 app
-rwxr-xr-x 1 user users 1.7K Apr 27 09:01 artisan
drwxr-xr-x 3 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 bootstrap
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 1.3K Apr 27 09:01 composer.json
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 111K Aug 8 13:17 composer.lock
drwxr-xr-x 2 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 config
drwxr-xr-x 5 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 database
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 458 Aug 8 13:17 .env
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 423 Apr 27 09:01 .env.example
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 61 Apr 27 09:01 .gitattributes
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 73 Apr 27 09:01 .gitignore
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 503 Apr 27 09:01 gulpfile.js
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 212 Apr 27 09:01 package.json
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 1.1K Apr 27 09:01 phpunit.xml
drwxr-xr-x 2 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 public
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 1.9K Apr 27 09:01
drwxr-xr-x 5 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 resources
-rw-r–r– 1 user users 567 Apr 27 09:01 server.php
drwxr-xr-x 5 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 storage
drwxr-xr-x 2 user users 4.0K Apr 27 09:01 tests
drwxr-xr-x 29 user users 4.0K Aug 8 13:17 vendor
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About the Author: Dan Pock

Dan Pock does Technical Writing & Marketing at Liquid Web with a background in System Administration, Public Relations, and Customer Service. His favorite things include: his cats, Oscar Boots and Dash Nouget; experimenting with PHP; and making up recipes (or at least attempting to). You can find his coding hijinks on GitHub, where he shares most of his projects and open source work.

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