Composer doesnt like semver?

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on November 23, 2014

Task: get color-extractor demo code working.

Ingredients: one fresh Debian squeeze install.


Install php and curl, if not already present

apt-get install php5 curl

Install composer

curl -sS | php -- --filename=composer --install-dir=/usr/local/bin

Go to working directory

cd /var/www/

Install package

composer require league/color-extractor:0.1.*

Create demo code


require 'vendor/autoload.php';

use League\ColorExtractor\Client as ColorExtractor;

$client = new ColorExtractor;
$image = $client->loadPng('./image.png');
$palette = $image->extract();

echo $palette

Run in apache

... [Sun Nov 23 00:21:06 2014] [error] [client] PHP Fatal error:  Call to undefined function League\\ColorExtractor\\imagecreatefrompng() in /var/www/vendor/league/color-extractor/src/League/ColorExtractor/Client.php on line 14


This is the issue I came across the other day. I was sent a link to color-extractor as an alternative wrapper for an alternative graphics manipulation program, Graphics Draw (GD). However, I couldn’t get it to run.

The composer package manager for php should have alerted me to the fact I have no GD support. This is valid when installing only php5 from debian-based package managers. You should have to install php5-gd which has bundled support for GD.

So why didn’t this work?

Composer has support for distro package installations. The composer.json file for color-extractor contains the section:

"require": {
    "php": ">=5.3.0",
    "ext-gd": "*"

Which should force php 5.3 or higher, and the external library GD to be installed. When requiring this library from my completely fresh debian install, I was able to successfully require the package, but still get that runtime error (imagecreatefrompng() being a function from GD)

I did find that composer doesn’t load requirements recursively. So, I tried navigating down into vendor/league/color-extractor and running composer install from there. No errors, but the code still didn’t work.

Then I actually checked the composer.json file from that library.

It doesn’t contain the “ext-gd” requirement.

Checking back through the previous releases, I can see that way back in 0.1.0, the composer.json file didn’t have this requirement. Could it be that composer is pulling back this version?

Running composer install league/color-extractor without a version returns: Using version ~0.1 for league/color-extractor ./composer.json has been created Loading composer repositories with package information Updating dependencies (including require-dev) - Installing league/color-extractor (0.1.0) Loading from cache

Writing lock file
Generating autoload files

The output explicitly states version 0.1.0. However, this does not match the expected result.

The version constraints documentation states:

Version constraints can be specified in a few different ways.

Name Example Description
Exact version 1.0.2 You can specify the exact version of a package.
Range >=1.0 >=1.0,<2.0 >=1.0,<1.1 | >=1.2 By using comparison operators you can specify ranges of valid versions. Valid operators are >, >=, <, <=, !=.
You can define multiple ranges. Ranges separated by a comma (,) will be treated as a logical AND. A pipe (|) will be treated as a logical OR. AND has higher precedence than OR.
Wildcard 1.0.* You can specify a pattern with a * wildcard. 1.0.* is the equivalent of >=1.0,<1.1.
Tilde Operator ~1.2 Very useful for projects that follow semantic versioning. ~1.2 is equivalent to >=1.2,<2.0.

Both wildcard and tilda operators in this instance should return >=0.1.0,<0.2, but in this case, it doesn’t actually get the most recent version.

Indeed, testing the require step with :~0.1 specifically returns 0.1.0.

So, problem: “fuzzy” composer constraints don’t seem to work.

Only if I specifically require the 0.1.5 version am I getting the latest version available in the 0.1.* branch. I should be getting the latest version always (given it hasn’t increased to 0.2)

Investigatings continuing