Overriding dependencies with Composer
16 April 2013

At my company, My C-Sense, we use Doctrine amongst other PHP frameworks and libraries. When we find bugs (or need new features), we contribute to the project through our open source initiative.

The problem is when we submit a pull request on Github, several months usually happen until our fix appears in a stable release.

To be able to enjoy our bugfixes immediately, here is our workflow:

  • We fork the repository of the project to our organization account
  • We commit and publish the bugfix in a branch of our repository
  • We submit a Pull Request
  • We override the dependency to the project with our version in Composer

Overriding a dependency is quite simple: just add your git repository in your composer.json and require you branch.

But when we want to override, for example, doctrine/common which is used by doctrine/orm, then we have a problem: doctrine/orm wants a stable version of doctrine/common, it will conflict with your requirement to a dev branch.

The solution is to alias your dev branch to a stable release, and that is possible through the awesome “inline alias” functionality in Composer.

Here is an example:

    "require": {
        "doctrine/orm": "2.3.*",
        "doctrine/common": "dev-ChainDriverFix as 2.3.0"
    "repositories": [
            "type": "git",
            "url": "https://github.com/myclabs/common.git"

Here, our branch ChainDriverFix will override the 2.3.0 version of doctrine/common, which will also be compatible with doctrine/orm!