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Easy PEAR Package creation

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Here's a fairly simple way of creating PEAR package so you can distribute your application or library as a PEAR package.


Let's assume you've written an application or library called 'MyApp'. The following is a possible directory structure layout:

  |- MyApp.php
  \- MyAap/
       \- MyApp/MyLib.php

Install the PackageFileManager.

Since writing a package file by hand is way too much work, we first install the PEAR_PackageFileManager utility. This PEAR package includes a commandline utility which will guide you through the steps needed to create a proper package.xml file for your application or library.

# pear install pear install PEAR_PackageFileManager_Cli-0.3.0
Ignoring installed package pear/pear
No releases available for package "pear.php.net/install"
Cannot initialize 'channel://pear.php.net/install', invalid or missing package file
WARNING: channel "pear.php.net" has updated its protocols, use "channel-update pear.php.net" to update
Did not download optional dependencies: pear/PHP_CompatInfo, use --alldeps to download automatically
pear/PEAR_PackageFileManager can optionally use package "pear/PHP_CompatInfo" (version >= 1.4.0)
downloading PEAR_PackageFileManager_Cli-0.3.0.tgz ...
Starting to download PEAR_PackageFileManager_Cli-0.3.0.tgz (8,051 bytes)
.....done: 8,051 bytes
downloading PEAR_PackageFileManager-1.6.3.tgz ...
Starting to download PEAR_PackageFileManager-1.6.3.tgz (82,393 bytes)
...done: 82,393 bytes
Package "channel://pear.php.net/install" is not valid
install ok: channel://pear.php.net/PEAR_PackageFileManager-1.6.3
install ok: channel://pear.php.net/PEAR_PackageFileManager_Cli-0.3.0

If your PEAR is outdated, you will see something like:

pear/PEAR_PackageFileManager requires PEAR Installer (version >= 1.8.0alpha1), installed version is 1.7.1

In that case, you can upgrade your PEAR like so:

# pear channel-update pear.php.net
Updating channel "pear.php.net"
Update of Channel "pear.php.net" succeeded
# pear upgrade PEAR
upgrade ok: channel://pear.php.net/PEAR-1.8.1

You may also run into problems with alpha/beta state packages required for installation of the PackageFileManager CLI package. For instance, I got the following error: Failed to download pear/XML_Serializer within preferred state "stable", latest release is version 0.19.2, stability "beta", use "channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer-0.19.2" to install

In that case, you must manually install the beta packages:

# pear install channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer-0.19.2
downloading XML_Serializer-0.19.2.tgz ...
Starting to download XML_Serializer-0.19.2.tgz (39,703 bytes)
..........done: 39,703 bytes
downloading XML_Parser-1.3.2.tgz ...
Starting to download XML_Parser-1.3.2.tgz (16,260 bytes)
...done: 16,260 bytes
install ok: channel://pear.php.net/XML_Parser-1.3.2
install ok: channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer-0.19.2

Generate a package.xml file.

You can now use the PackageFileManager command-line utility to bootstrap a package.xml file for your PEAR package.

Change to the directory that is the root of your package:

$ cd myapp/

myapp$ ls
MyApp  MyApp.php

myapp$ pfm

PEAR Package File Manager Command Line Tool

Please enter the location of your package [.]*: .

Creating a new package file ...

Enter the base install directory*: .

Enter the name of the package [myapp]*: MyApp

Channel or URI based package? [c] (c,u)*: u

Enter the package URI*: http://www.example.com/download/PEAR/

Enter a 1 line summary*: My first PEAR example application.

Enter a description* (2 blank lines to finish):
MyApp is my first PEAR example application.
It rocks.

Enter the release version*: 0.1.0

Enter the API version [0.1.0]*: 

Choose a release stability [alpha] (alpha,beta,stable)*:  

Choose an API stability [alpha] (alpha,beta,stable)*: 

Enter any release notes* (2 blank lines to finish):
Initial release

Enter the minimum PHP version [5]*: 

Enter the minimum PEAR Installer version [1.4.0]*: 

Please choose a license from one of the following options

    1) Apache
    2) BSD Style
    3) LGPL
    4) MIT
    5) PHP

Please choose an option: 4

How many maintainers?*: 1

What type of maintainer is #1? [lead] (lead,developer,contributor,helper)*:     

Enter maintainer #1's name*: Ferry Boender

Enter maintainer #1's username*: fboender

Enter maintainer #1's email [fboender@php.net]*: ferry.boender@example.com

PEAR Package File Manager Command Line Tool

    1. Package name                 [MyApp]
    2. Channel/URI                  [URI: http://www.example.com/download/PEAR/]
    3. Summary                      [My first PEAR example application.]
    4. Description                  [MyApp is my first PEAR example applic...]
    5. Maintainers
    6. Version                      [Release: 0.1.0 API: 0.1.0]
    7. Stability                    [Release: alpha API: alpha]
    8. License                      [MIT]
    9. Notes                        [Initial release]
   10. Dependencies
   11. Tasks
   12. Regenerate contents
   13. Echo package file to stdout
   14. Save & Quit
   15. Quit without saving          (ctrl-c)

Please choose an option from the menu: 14

Analyzing MyApp/MyLib.php
Analyzing MyApp.php

This generates a package.xml for you, containing details for the PEAR package creation.

Create a PEAR package.

PEAR can use this package.xml file to create a PEAR package for you:

myapp$ pear package package.xml 
Analyzing myapp/MyApp.php
Analyzing myapp/MyApp/MyLib.php
Package MyApp-0.1.0.tgz done

Testing and (un)installing your package

Test the installation of the package:

myapp$ pear install ./MyApp-0.1.0.tgz
pear install ./MyApp-0.1.0.tgz 
install ok: channel://__uri/MyApp-0.1.0

It appears to work. Make sure to check the PEAR directory to see if it placed the files in the right spot:

myapp$ ls /usr/share/php/
Archive  MyApp      OS    PEAR.php  Structures  adodb  doc   pearcmd.php  php-shell-cmd.php  
Console  MyApp.php  PEAR  PHP       System.php  data   docs  peclcmd.php  

The MyApp.php file, and the MyApp directory have been added to the PEAR library directory. If their PHP include_path is set correctly, users of your package should now be able to include it using:


You can uninstall the package using the pear uninstall command:

$ pear uninstall channel://__uri/MyApp-0.1.0
uninstall ok: channel://__uri/MyApp-0.1.0

Distribute your package

You can now put your PEAR package online, and point users to it by mentioning they can install it using PEAR with the command:

$ pear install http://www.example.com/download/PEAR/MyApp-0.1.0.tgz