Global installation of PHP tools with Composer

The Composer package manager along with the Packagist repository site is quickly becoming the defacto PHP package management system.

One feature I found out about recently is that you can install packages globally rather than locally into your project. I think that this is most useful for development tools, such as PHPUnit which are then available everywhere.

To install a composer package globally, you run the usual require command, but with the addition of the global modifier. So to install PHPUnit, you would run:

$ composer global require 'phpunit/phpunit=3.7.*'

This will install PHPUnit and all its dependencies into the ~/.composer/vendor/ directory and, most importantly, the phpunit CLI tools are installed into ~/.composer/vendor/bin/.

Simply add this directory to your PATH in your ~/.bash_profile (or ~/.bashrc) like this:

export PATH=~/.composer/vendor/bin:$PATH

and phpunit is now available on your command line.

To keep your tools up to date, you simply do this:

composer global update

To remove a package, you edit ~/.composer/composer.json and then run composer global update.

3 thoughts on “Global installation of PHP tools with Composer

  1. I also have “./vendor/bin” in my path, which is useful if projects depend on different versions of tools.

  2. Hey, thx for the hint!

    Unfortunately i can’t use the “phpunit” command and i get this error:

    -bash: vendor/bin/phpunit: No such file or directory

    When i run phpunit with the full directory “~/.composer/vendor/bin/phpunit” it works? Am I missing something here?

    Thanks and cheers
    Christoph

  3. Global for the *user* you mean. What about global to the machine? If you have a build machine for instance that always needs phpunit, phpmd, etc..

    I guess that’s why pear is still around, unfortunately it seems some authors are not keeping pear packages/release in step with composer.

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