Chapter 8. PEAR
IN THIS CHAPTER
PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) is a powerful tool that enhances and aids in the development of PHP applications. In short, it is a repository of reusable PHP code, but it has become much more than a mere collection of code in the few years of its existence.
The seeds for PEAR were planted in late 1999 by Stig S. Bakken and began coming to fruition as early as January 2000 at the PHP Developers' Meeting in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Over the next three years, PEAR and its surrounding framework were discussed, standardized, solidified, and developed until a stable PEAR version 1.0 was released on December 27, 2002a release that coincided with that of PHP 4.3.0. Since then, PEAR has been included in every release of PHP.
Today, PEAR is a large developer community with a base of more than 700 members and thousands of users worldwide. The PEAR framework itself includes more than 350 packages and thousands of lines of code. To oversee this ever-expanding code repository and widely growing community, Bakken announced in August 2003 the formation of the PEAR Group, the governing body of PEAR. Rather than add a level of bureaucracy to PEAR, the PEAR Group oversees the decisions being made and ensures that they are fair and efficient.
This chapter introduces PEAR and attempts to create a working definition of its nature. In addition, it will acquaint you with the PEAR Package Manager (PPM) and how it may be used to download packages and maintain your PEAR installation. You'll also briefly explore the PEAR website and, finally, see how to use PEAR packages in applications.