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Update your Docs for "composer require", then Celebrate with a Sandwich

Update your Docs for "composer require", then Celebrate with a Sandwich

Update your Docs for "composer require", then Celebrate with a Sandwich

Pretty much every package manager works the same: run the executable (apt-get), add the command install, pass it a library name php5, then make a sandwich:

apt-get install php5
# ... makes a sandwich

But not Composer, right? Typically, the docs for a a PHP library looks like this:

  1. Add the following to your composer.json file:
{
    "require": {
        "my-cool-name/sandwich-maker": "~1.1.0"
    }
}
  1. Run the following command:
composer update my-cool-name/sandwich-maker

Here are the problems:

  • Needing 2 steps is a bummer.
  • Manually updating composer.json can confuse beginners: "I already have a require key, should I replace what I have with this?".
  • The latest version of my sandwich maker is 2.5.4, but since I forgot to update the docs, people are still installing the ancient version... which only makes grilled cheese.

One Step Installation

Thanks to some help from Jordi (friends call him "Mr Composer"), we merged an update to Composer on Sep 23rd to make Composer's require command automatically select the latest version constraint for you.

This means I can update my installation docs to say this:

Run `composer require my-cool-name/sandwich-maker`.

That's it! Composer automatically selects the latest version (using the ~ constraint when possible), updates composer.json and runs the update. This means you get ~2.5.4 in composer.json and a sandwich maker that cooks fancy sandwiches.

Got it? Now let's go update our docs or open pull requests for libraries that we use... and then have a sandwich.

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