Loïc Faugeron Technical Blog

Learn Symfony2 - Conclusion 23/07/2014

Deprecated: This series has been re-written - see The Ultimate Developer Guide to Symfony

This is the conclusion of the series on learning the Symfony2 framework. Have a look at the five first ones:

  1. Composer
  2. Empty application
  3. Bundles
  4. Controllers
  5. Tests

In the previous articles we created a tested application for the Knight of Ni with the following files:

├── app
│   ├── AppKernel.php
│   ├── cache
│   │   └── .gitkeep
│   ├── config
│   │   ├── config_test.yml
│   │   ├── config.yml
│   │   └── routing.yml
│   ├── logs
│   │   └── .gitkeep
│   └── phpunit.xml.dist
├── composer.json
├── composer.lock
├── src
│   └── Knight
│       └── ApplicationBundle
│           ├── Controller
│           │   └── ApiController.php
│           ├── KnightApplicationBundle.php
│           └── Tests
│               └── Controller
│                   └── ApiControllerTest.php
├── .gitignore
└── web
    └── app.php

Running composer install should create a vendor directory, which we ignored with git.

Here's the repository where you can find the actual code.

This article will be like a cheat sheet of what we saw in the previous ones.


Composer will help you install and update third party libraries.

Download it once for all and install it in your global binaries:

curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php
sudo mv ./composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

It should then be executable like this: composer.

The available third party libraries can be found on Packagist.

Here's an explanation of Composer version constraints by Igor.

In these articles, we create a project from scratch, but the recommended way of starting a Symfony2 application is to use the Composer bootstrap command: composer create-project <vendor/name> <path-to-install>

You could use the Symfony Standard Edition (symfony/framework-standard-edition), or any other distribution.

I'd advise you to use an empty boilerplate with the Symfony Empty Edition:

composer create-project gnugat/symfony-framework-empty-edition <path-to-install>

Tip: For the production server, use this command to install the project's dependencies (the third party libraries):

composer install --no-dev --optimize


They integrate your code with the framework. More specifically, they configure the Kernel's dependency injection container.

Note: To learn more about Dependency Injection, have a look at the following articles:

The only bundle you'll need to create is the ApplicationBundle, where all your code will be. Here's how to create a bundle:

  1. create its directory: mkdir -p src/<Vendor>/<Name>Bundle
  2. create its class: $EDITOR src/<Vendor>/<Name>Bundle/<Vendor><Name>Bundle.php
  3. register it in the kernel: $EDITOR app/AppKernel.php

A Bundle class looks like this:

// File: src/Knight/ApplicationBundle/KnightApplicationBundle.php

namespace Knight\ApplicationBundle;

use Symfony\Component\HttpKernel\Bundle\Bundle;

class KnightApplicationBundle extends Bundle


In your application, there's only a few files related to the Symfony2 framework. Here's the list of the ones you'll usually edit.

The application's kernel

The app/AppKernel.php file is where the bundles are registered and where the configuration is loaded. You'll only need to edit it when you install a new bundle.

Here's how we would proceed: first install the bundle via Composer:

composer require [--dev] <vendor/name:version>

Then register it in the application's kernel:

// File: app/AppKernel.php

use Symfony\Component\HttpKernel\Kernel;
use Symfony\Component\Config\Loader\LoaderInterface;

class AppKernel extends Kernel
    public function registerBundles()
        $bundles = array(
            new Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\FrameworkBundle(),
            new Symfony\Bundle\SecurityBundle\SecurityBundle(),
            new Symfony\Bundle\TwigBundle\TwigBundle(),
            new Symfony\Bundle\MonologBundle\MonologBundle(),
            new Symfony\Bundle\AsseticBundle\AsseticBundle(),
            new Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\DoctrineBundle(),
            new Sensio\Bundle\FrameworkExtraBundle\SensioFrameworkExtraBundle(),

            // Add your bundles here!

        if (in_array($this->getEnvironment(), array('dev', 'test'))) {
            $bundles[] = new Symfony\Bundle\WebProfilerBundle\WebProfilerBundle();
            $bundles[] = new Sensio\Bundle\DistributionBundle\SensioDistributionBundle();
            $bundles[] = new Sensio\Bundle\GeneratorBundle\SensioGeneratorBundle();

            // Or here, if you want it to only be available in dev or test environment

        return $bundles;

    public function registerContainerConfiguration(LoaderInterface $loader)

The routing configuration

The app/config/routing.yml file is where you will link a controller's action to an URL. Here's an example:

# File: app/config/routing.yml
    path: /api/ni
        - POST
        _controller: KnightApplicationBundle:Api:ni

    path: /api/question/{number}
        - GET
        _controller: KnightApplicationBundle:Api:question

As you can see, you can tell the routing to use placeholders, which will be then available in the controller via the Request object:

$request->query->get('number'); // query is an instance of ParameterBag

Controllers, your entry point

Each route is associated to a controller's action.

A controller is a class located in src/<Vendor>/ApplicationBundle/Controller, suffixed with Controller.

An action is a controller's public method, suffixed with Action, which takes a Request $request parameter and must return an instance of the Response object:

// File: src/Knight/ApplicationBundle/Controller/ApiController.php

namespace Knight\ApplicationBundle\Controller;

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\Controller;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\JsonResponse;

class ApiController extends Controller
    public function niAction(Request $request)
        $postedContent = $request->getContent();
        $postedValues = json_decode($postedContent, true);

        $answer = array('answer' => 'Ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky-pikang-zoop-boing-goodem-zoo-owli-zhiv');
        $statusCode = Response::HTTP_OK;
        if (!isset($postedValues['offering']) || 'shrubbery' !== $postedValues['offering']) {
            $answer['answer'] = 'Ni';
            $statusCode = Response::HTTP_UNPROCESSABLE_ENTITY;

        return new JsonResponse($answer, $statusCode);

Note: you can create sub-directories in src/<Vendor>/ApplicationBundle/Controller, allowing you to categorize your controllers. In the routing, this would look like this: KnightApplicationBundle:Subdirectory\Controller:action.

Functional tests

Of course you can use any test framework with a Symfony2 project. PHPUnit is one of them, and a popular one, so we'll use it for our examples.

Functional tests mirror the controllers and check if the status code is successful. If you're building an API, you can check more precisely the status code:

// File: src/Knight/ApplicationBundle/Tests/Controller/ApiControllerTest.php

namespace Knight\ApplicationBundle\Tests\Controller;

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Test\WebTestCase;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response;

class ApiControllerTest extends WebTestCase
    private function post($uri, array $data)
        $content = json_encode($data);
        $client = static::createClient();
        $client->request('POST', $uri, array(), array(), array(), $content);

        return $client->getResponse();

    public function testOfferingTheRightThing()
        $response = $this->post('/api/ni', array('offering' => 'shrubbery'));

        $this->assertSame(Response::HTTP_OK , $response->getStatusCode());

    public function testOfferingTheWrongThing()
        $response = $this->post('/api/ni', array('offering' => 'hareng'));

        $this->assertSame(Response::HTTP_UNPROCESSABLE_ENTITY , $response->getStatusCode());

The WebTestCase class is provided by the framework: it creates an application (just like we do in web/app.php), so you can send requests and test the response.

Where to put your own code

You can put your code anywhere in src/<Vendor>/ApplicationBundle.

Who said you needed to decouple your code from Symfony2? You can already write decoupled code!

A convention is to create directories named after the type of objects it holds. For example the Controller contains controller classes (which are suffixed with Controller). You don't have to follow it though (except for controllers and commands): use your best judgement!


Symfony2 gets out of your way, the only class from the framework we need to use is the controller, the request and the response.

The workflow is really simple:

  1. Symfony2 converts the HTTP request into a Request object
  2. the routing allows to execute a controller related to the current URL
  3. the controller receives the Request object as a parameter and must return a Response object
  4. Symfony2 converts the Response object into the HTTP response

What should we do now?


We now know the strict minimum about Symfony2, and the only way to learn more is to practice, encounter new use cases, find answers in the documentation and ask questions on StackOverflow (if they haven't been already asked).

If you really want to master Symfony2, then stay tuned: I'll start writing a new series of articles!