What's the difference between require and require-dev?

03/27/2020 03:30:01

I'm new to the composer and I would like to know the difference between require and require-dev. The composer website doesn't offer a good explanation the difference between these two.

The part that I don't get is Lists packages required for developing this package, or running tests, etc. from Composer Official Docs.

Verified Answer (227 Votes)

03/27/2015 20:27:54

The require-dev packages are packages that aren't necessary for your project to work and shouldn't be included in the production version of your project.

Typically, these are packages such as phpunit/phpunit that you would only use during development.


Answer #2 (55 Votes)

05/22/2013 02:18:04

seems clear to me:


Lists packages required by this package. The package will not be installed unless those requirements can be met.

require-dev (root-only)

Lists packages required for developing this package (1), or running tests, etc. The dev requirements of the root package only will be installed if install is run with --dev or if update is run without --no-dev.


1. the packages used to develop a package


Answer #3 (45 Votes)

04/01/2016 09:23:02

The key distinction is that Composer will only install require-dev dependencies for the "root package" – the directory where you run composer install. The documentation describes this as:

The root package is the package defined by the composer.json at the root of your project. It is the main composer.json that defines your project requirements.

…and the require-dev documentation specifies that it is "root-only".

In practice, this means that a package's require-dev dependencies aren't used if the package is being installed as a dependency for something else (ie it's installed to another project's vendor folder).

So if you have phpunit in the require-dev list for YourProject, and I clone down YourProject and run composer install in the yourproject/ directory, Composer will install phpunit to yourproject/vendor/, because it's likely I'm doing some development on YourProject. As part of doing development I'll probably want to run YourProject's test suite, and to do that I'll need phpunit.

But, if I add YourProject as a dependency of MyProject, installing the myproject package will install the yourproject package as well, but it will not install phpunit.

You can override this behaviour with the --dev and --no-dev options, but the default behaviour is based on whether the package concerned is the root package.

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