Recently my team has started an Ionic project. For my part, I need to use
bower install angular-messages#1.5.3
bower install --save
Yo add a dependency and save in tout bower.json you need to launch
bower install module_name --save not just
bower install --save because this last command check your file and install or update all module on it.
If with this command you haven't some result, post your bower config file because there are maybe some problems with your configuration.
To finish If you want have a project ready to use without dependency problem yes you need to commit bower.json and package.json. However If you have some proxy or weird stuff sometimes it's important to commit .bowerrc to.