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Restoring a missing composer.json


November 23, 2020

I was working on a client project where I was given access to a Cake PHP installation with a Composer-style vendor directory, but without a composer.json file to reinstall or upgrade the installed packages.

This is a quick tutorial on what steps I took to restore the composer.json file.

Step 1.

Create a bare composer.json file with the following command:

composer init

Step 2

I was running composer on a docker container so I connected to the service like so:

docker exec -it <mycontainer> bash

(If you're not using docker, or running composer outside your container I believe you'll be able to do somthing like: php composer.phar show --installed)

From there I could use the composer cli to get a list of installed packages:

composer show --installed

The result like this:

aura/intl 3.0.0 The Aura Intl package provides internationalization tools, specifically message tra...
cakephp/bake 1.3.3 Bake plugin for CakePHP 3.0
cakephp/cakephp 3.5.10 The CakePHP framework
cakephp/chronos 1.1.3 A simple API extension for DateTime.

Step 3

Take the entries from the previous command and start adding them to your composer.json file:

"name": "root/app",
"require": {
"cakephp/bake": "1.3.3",
/* Add them here */
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