Peter Petermann has (re)posted an article he wrote about building better project skeletons with Composer and automate the process to make your life easier.
The more you use modern frameworks and the more modular you build your PHP applications, the more likely you’ll use a skeleton (or template) for creating new projects. In fact, most of the better known frameworks provide skeletons for you to bootstrap your application with. Those skeletons are great to get started, but it’s very likely you’ll have your own stack of composer packages that you integrate in each project after a while. Each skeleton will be slightly different, so you’ll likely fork your own. This article is meant to provide you with an understanding on how to build a skeleton that will allow you to automate things as far as possible.
He starts with some of the basics, both in the terminology that will be used in the article and a little bit about projects in Composer. He shows how the Zend Framework 2 project makes uses of a built-in "composer.phar" file to make bootstrapping easier but soon asks how it could be improved. The answer comes in the form of Composer's own "create-project" functionality (with a few additions, like cleanup scripts run after the fact). He then gets into building his own custom skeleton that includes a custom post-create-project cleanup script, templates for static files (README, CHANGELOG, etc) and a basic "composer.json" configuration for the end result.