A Composer plugin to manage "assets" package type
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Assets Manager


A Composer plugin to manage ***-assets package type. To begin, have a look at http://assetsmanager.ateliers-pierrot.fr/.

How does it work?

The goal of this Composer plugin is to manage the assets files of a package (javascript libraries, CSS stylesheets or views) just like Composer manages PHP sources. Assets files are downloaded and stored in a specific vendor directory and an internal system permits to retrieve and load assets just like PHP classes (a kind of assets autoloader). Some presets can be defined in package's configuration to construct a full set of assets files grouped by type, library or usage.

Just like any standard Composer feature, all names or configuration variables are configurable.


To install the plugin, add the package to your requirements in your composer.json:

"atelierspierrot/assets-manager": "1.*"


How to inform the extension about your package assets?

The extension handles any package with a type ***-assets, which will be considered as a standard library by Composer if you don't use the extension (and will be installed as any other classic library package).

Schema of usage during a project lifecycle

Installation/Update/Removal by Composer

The \AssetsManager\Composer\Installer installs the "***-assets" packages:

  • it moves the assets in a specific www/vendor/ directory
  • it adds an entry to the internal assets_db table
  • finally, it writes the internal assets_db table in file vendor/assets.json

Life of the project

The \AssetsManager\Loader reads the internal assets_db and manages assets packages and presets:

  • it reads the assets.json db file
  • it finds some assets packages files (realpath and web URL)
  • it manages the assets presets


Let's say your project is based on the following structure, where src/ contains your PHP sources and www/ is your web document root:

| composer.json
| src/
| www/

By default, Composer will install your dependencies in a vendor/ directory and build a autoload.php file:

| composer.json
| src/
| vendor/
| ------- autoload.php
| www/

The plugin will copy the assets of your dependencies in a www/vendor/ directory and build a JSON map in the original vendor/:

| composer.json
| src/
| vendor/
| ------- autoload.php
| ------- assets.json
| www/
| ---- vendor/

Usage of the assets manager

This part will try to explain how to use the assets manager in your scripts.

The assets loader object

The \AssetsManager\Loader class is designed to manage a set of assets based on a table of installed packages (the json file generated during installation/update/removal processes).

The class is based on three paths:

  • base_dir: the package root directory, which must be the directory containing the composer.json file
  • assets_dir: the package asssets directory related to base_dir
  • document_root: the path in the filesystem of the web assets root directory ; this is used to build all related assets HTTP URLs.

For these three paths, the default values are defined on a default package structure:

|----------- src/
|----------- www/

$loader->base_dir = realpath(package_name)
$loader->assets_dir = www
$loader->document_root = www or the server DOCUMENT_ROOT

NOTE - These paths are stored in the object without the trailing slash.

Usage example

Once the install process is done, you can access any assets package or load a package's preset using the \AssetsManager\Loader object:

$loader = \AssetsManager\Loader::getInstance(
    __DIR__.'/..',      // this is the project root directory
    'www',              // this is your assets root directory
    __DIR__             // this is your web document root

// to get a package
$package = $loader->getPackage( package name );
// to retrieve a package asset file URL
echo $package->find( file name );

// to get a preset
$preset = $loader->getPreset( preset name );
// to write a preset dependencies
echo $preset->__toHtml();

As described in the "configuration" section below, calling a preset will automatically load its internal files (some Javascript files for instance) and its dependencies to other presets or files. The result of the __toHtml() method will then be a string to include the files and scripts definitions, fully functional and ready to be written in your HTML.


For instance, if you installed the Gentleface sprites package in its assets-installer version you will have:

// calling ...
echo $loader->getPreset('gentleface-sprites')->__toHtml();
// will render something like:
<link src="vendor/atelierspierrot/gentleface-sprites/gentleface-sprites.min.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" media="all" />


Below is an example of the package configuration using default values:

"extra": {
    # ...

    "assets-dir": "www",
    "assets-vendor-dir": "vendor",
    "document-root": "www",
    "assets-config-class": "AssetsManager\\Config\\DefaultConfig",
    "assets-package-class": "AssetsManager\\Package\\AssetsPackage",
    "assets-preset-class": "AssetsManager\\Package\\Preset",
    "assets-package-installer-class": "AssetsManager\\Composer\\Installer\\AssetsInstaller",
    "assets-autoload-generator-class": "AssetsManager\\Composer\\Autoload\\AssetsAutoloadGenerator",

    # this part is just for the example, no asset is embedded with the package
    "assets-presets": {
        "jquery.tablesorter": {
            "css": "vendor_assets/blue/style.css",
            "jsfiles_footer": [
        "jquery.highlight": {
            "css": "vendor_assets/jquery.highlight.css",
            "jsfiles_footer": "vendor_assets/jquery.highlight.js"

assets-dir: string

This defines the relative path of your assets in the package. This directory must exist and must be unique (its value must be a string).

assets-vendor-dir: string

This defines the relative path of your packages' assets from the assets-dir directory above. This directory will be created if it doesn't exist and must be unique (its value must be a string). This value is finally concatenated to the assets-dir to build the relative final directory path of your dependencies assets.

document-root: string (root only)

This defines the relative path used to build the URLs to include your package's assets ; this must be the base directory of your HTTP root. This directory must exist and is unique (its value must be a string). It is only considered for the root package.


For instance, if the absolute path of a CSS stylesheet is /home/www/project/www/assets/package/styles.css and your document-root is define to /home/www/project/www/, the stylesheet tag will be rendered as:

<link src="www/assets/package/styles.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" />

assets-presets: array of arrays

An assets preset is a predefined set of CSS or Javascript files required to use a specific tool (such as a jQuery plugin for instance). Each preset can be used in a view file writing:

echo $assets_loader->getPreset( preset name )->__toHtml();

A preset is defined as a set of key => array pairs where the key is the preset name (the name you will call using the getPreset() method) and the corresponding array defines the required assets files to be included in the whole template. This array can have indexes in "css", "js", "jsfiles_header", "jsfiles_footer" and "require".

css: string|array

The CSS entry of a preset is a list of one or more CSS files to include. This must be a list of existing files and file paths must be relative to the package assets directory. Each entry can also be a valid URL, with or without HTTP protocol.

js, jsfiles_header and jsfiles_footer: string|array

These Javascript entries defines respectively some scripts to be included in the page header or footer. This must be a list of existing files and file paths must be relative to the package assets directory. Each entry can also be a valid URL, with or without HTTP protocol.

require: string|array

If your preset requires another one, use this entry to define one or more of the required other presets. These presets must exist in your package or its dependencies.

Specific rules

You may inform if one of your preset files is already minified or packed. To do so, you can prefix the file path with min: or pack:.


"jsfiles_footer": [

This way, the library can separate already minified files from others.

You can also define a position for your asset file in the global assets files stack. This can be useful for instance if your preset defines two jQuery plugins, A & B, and if B requires A to work. In this case, you may define a higher position for A than for B to be sure that the A files will be loaded before the B ones.

Position is an integer in range [ -1 ; 100 ] where 100 is the top file of the stack and -1 the last one. You can simply write first or last if you don't really mind, which are respectively considered as 100 and -1.


"jsfiles_footer": [
// or
"jsfiles_footer": [

PHP classes (root only)

You can also overwrite the default classes used to manage the configuration, the package and preset and the installation of the assets.

assets-config-class: string

This defines the class used as the default configuration values of your root package. The class must exist and implement the \AssetsManager\Config\ConfiguratorInterface interface.

It defaults to \AssetsManager\Config\DefaultConfig.

assets-package-class: string

This defines the class used to handle each assets package during installation and assets loading. The class must exist and implement the \AssetsManager\Package\AssetsPackageInterface interface.

It defaults to \AssetsManager\Package\AssetsPackage.

assets-preset-class: string

This defines the class used to handle each assets preset. The class must exist and implement the \AssetsManager\Package\AssetsPresetInterface interface.

It defaults to \AssetsManager\Package\Preset.

assets-package-installer-class: string

This defines the class used for packages installation by Composer. The class must exist and implement the \AssetsManager\Composer\Installer\AssetsInstallerInterface interface.

It defaults to \AssetsManager\Composer\Installer\AssetsInstaller.

assets-autoload-generator-class: string

This defines the class used for the assets database JSON file generator. The class must exist and extend the abstract class \AssetsManager\Composer\Autoload\AbstractAssetsAutoloadGenerator.

It defaults to \AssetsManager\Composer\Autoload\AssetsAutoloadGenerator.

Development & Documentation

The whole package is embedded in the AssetsManager namespace.

To install all PHP packages for development, just run:

~$ composer install --dev

A development documentation can be generated with Sami running:

~$ php vendor/sami/sami/sami.php render sami.config.php

The latest version of this development documentation is available online at http://docs.ateliers-pierrot.fr/assets-manager/.

Author & License

Assets Manager


Copyleft (ↄ) 2013-2016, Pierre Cassat and contributors

Licensed under the GPL Version 3 license.


Les Ateliers Pierrot - Paris, France

http://www.ateliers-pierrot.fr/ - contact@ateliers-pierrot.fr