Using a specific branch instead of a version with composer

Published on 2021-10-02 • Modified on 2021-10-02

In this snippet, we see how to use a specific branch instead of a version with composer. Sometimes, this can be useful for testing a branch before creating a tag or using a branch that fixes a bug before the maintainers of an open-source library officially create a tag. The trick here is to use "dev-" to start the requirement. When composer detects this, it knows that a branch is required instead of a version requirement. In the following example, the branch my-bug-fix of the friendsofsymfony/elastica-bundle library (my fork) is used.

{ "this is an extract of the composer.json file" },
    "repositories": {
        "coil_foselasticabundle": {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": ""
    "require": {
        "friendsofsymfony/elastica-bundle": "dev-my-bug-fix"

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