PEAR is the PHP Extension and Application Repository, a collection of open source classes that work together. Developers can use PEAR classes to parse XML, implement authentication systems, make SOAP requests, send MIME mail with attachments, and a wide variety of other common (and not so common) tasks. A pear is also a tasty fruit.
PECL is the PHP Extension Community Library. PECL, pronounced “pickle,” is a series of extensions to PHP written in C. These extensions are just like the ones distributed with the main PHP release, but they’re of more specialized interest—such as an interface to the libssh2 library or the ImageMagick graphics library.
To find general information on PEAR, read the PEAR manual; to discover the latest PEAR packages, go to http://pear.php.net. The PEAR web site also provides links to mailing list archives, as well as RSS feeds that allow easy monitoring of new package releases.
Only a few core PEAR packages are bundled with the main PHP release. However, part of PEAR is a program called, appropriately enough, pear, that makes it easy for you to download and install additional PEAR packages. This program is also known simply as the PEAR installer. Recipe 26.1 shows how to use the PEAR installer.
Additionally, the PEAR installer allows you to use the PEAR class management infrastructure with your personal projects. By creating your own packages that follow the PEAR format, your users can use pear to download and install the ...