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Composer Plugin for Contao 4
by Andreas Schempp
While developing Contao 4, one major focus was set on keeping backwards compatibility with Contao 3 extensions. It means they are still installed in system/modules and will work just fine. However, because the extension repository (ER2) is no longer supported, there's no easy way to install and update extensions.
Composer has become a de-facto industry standard to ease installing PHP packages. In Contao 3, the so-called Composer plugin allowed to install Contao extensions using Composer, by taking care of copying files to system/modules. Until now, this plugin was not available for Contao 4, which prevented automated installation of existing extensions.
This Composer plugin has now been re-engineered by the workgroup "core development" in association with the Contao Community Alliance. To allow installation of existing extensions in Contao 4, developers have to adjust the composer.json with new compatibility information. Extensive information is available in the README of the plugin.
With a small adjustment from the author, existing extensions will become available for Contao 4. As Composer is currently only available on the command line, we would like to recommend a good read on why you should not be afraid of the command line. Meanwhile, we're still working on the Contao Package Manager, the graphical user interface for Composer, which has been funded by the Contao Association (german).
Notice: Extension in Contao 4 need to be activated before the system will recognize them. A nice video tutorial created by the Contao Academy is available on YouTube. The speaker is german only, but the video should still be helpful for a quick start.
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