Adding Routes & Controllers

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If you watch a lot of KnpU tutorials, you know that I love to talk about how the whole point of a bundle is that it adds services to the container. But, even I have to admit that a bundle can do a lot more than that: it can add routes, controllers, translations, public assets, validation config and a bunch more!

Find your browser and Google for "Symfony bundle best practices". This is a really nice document that talks about how you're supposed to build re-usable bundles. We're following, um, most of the recommendations. It tells you the different directories where you should put different things. Some of these directories are just convention, but some are required. For example, if your bundle provides translations, they need to live in the Resources/translations directory next to the bundle class. If you follow that rule, Symfony will automatically load them.

Adding a Route + Controller

Here's our new goal: I want to add a route & controller to our bundle. We're going to create an optional API endpoint that returns some delightful lorem ipsum text.

Before we start, I'll open my PhpStorm preferences and, just to make this more fun, search for "Symfony" and enable the Symfony plugin. Also search for "Composer" and select the composer.json file so that PhpStorm knows about our autoload namespaces.

Back to work! In src/, create a Controller directory and inside of that, a new PHP class called IpsumApiController. We don't need to make this extend anything, but it's OK to extend AbstractController to get some shortcuts... except what!? AbstractController doesn't exist!

That's because the class lives in FrameworkBundle and... remember! Our bundle does not require that! Ignore this problem for now. Instead, find our app code, open AbstractController, copy its namespace, and use it to add the use statement manually to the controller.

... lines 1 - 5
use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\AbstractController;
... line 7
class IpsumApiController extends AbstractController
... lines 9 - 25

Next, add a public function called index. Here, we're going to use the KnpUIpsum class to return a JSON response with some dummy text. When you create a controller in a reusable bundle, the best practice is to register your controller as a proper service and use dependency injection to get anything you need.

... lines 1 - 16
public function index()
... lines 19 - 22
... lines 24 - 25

Add public function __construct() and type-hint the first argument with KnpUIpsum. I'll press Alt+Enter and choose Initialize Fields so that PhpStorm creates and sets a property for that.

... lines 1 - 9
private $knpUIpsum;
... line 11
public function __construct(KnpUIpsum $knpUIpsum)
$this->knpUIpsum = $knpUIpsum;
... lines 16 - 25

Down below, return $this->json() - we will not have auto-complete for that method because of the missing AbstractController - with a paragraphs key set to $this->knpUIpsum->getParagraphs() and a sentences key set to $this->knpUIpsum->getSentences()

... lines 1 - 16
public function index()
return $this->json([
'paragraphs' => $this->knpUIpsum->getParagraphs(),
'sentences' => $this->knpUIpsum->getSentences(),
... lines 24 - 25


Registering your Controller as a Service

Next, we need to register this as a service. In services.xml, copy the first service, call this one ipsum_api_controller, and set its class name. For now, don't add public="true" or false: we'll learn more about this in a minute. Pass one argument: the main knpu_lorem_ipsum.knpu_ipsum service.

... lines 1 - 6
... lines 8 - 13
<service id="knpu_lorem_ipsum.controller.ipsum_api_controller" class="KnpU\LoremIpsumBundle\Controller\IpsumApiController">
<argument type="service" id="knpu_lorem_ipsum.knpu_ipsum" />
... lines 17 - 19
... lines 21 - 22



Finally, let's add some routing! In Resources/config, create a new routes.xml file. This could be called anything because the user will import this file manually from their app.

To fill this in, as usual, we'll cheat! Google for "Symfony Routing" and, just like we did with services, search for "XML" until you find a good example.

Copy that code and paste it into our file. Let's call the one route knpu_lorem_ipsum_api. For controller, copy the service id, paste, and add a single colon then index.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<routes xmlns=""
<route id="knpu_lorem_ipsum_api" controller="knpu_lorem_ipsum.controller.ipsum_api_controller:index" path="/" >
<!-- settings -->

Fun fact: in Symfony 4.1, the syntax changes to a double :: and using a single colon is deprecated. Keep a single : for now if you want your bundle to work in Symfony 4.0.

Finally, for path, the user will probably want something like /api/lorem-ipsum. But instead of guessing what they want, just set this to /, or at least, something short. We'll allow the user to choose the path prefix.

And that's it! But... how can we make sure it works? In a few minutes, we're going to write a legitimate functional test for this. But, for now, let's just test it in our app!

In the config directory, we have a routes.yaml file, and we could import the routes.xml file from here. But, it's more common to go into the routes/ directory and create a separate file: knpu_lorem_ipsum.yaml.

Add a root key - _lorem_ipsum - this is meaningless, then resources set to @KnpULoremIpsumBundle and then the path to the file: /Resources/config/routes.xml. Then, give this a prefix! How about /api/ipsum.

resource: '@KnpULoremIpsumBundle/Resources/config/routes.xml'
prefix: /api/ipsum

Did it work? Let's find out: find your terminal tab for the application, and use the trusty old:

php bin/console debug:router

There it is! /api/ipsum/. Copy that, find our browser, paste and.... nope. Error!

Controller ipsum_api_controller cannot be fetched from the container because it is private. Did you forget to tag the service with controller.service_arguments.

The error is not entirely correct for our circumstance. First, yes, at this time, controllers are the one type of service that must be public. If you're building an app, you can give it this tag, which will automatically make it public. But for a reusable bundle, in services.xml, we need to set public="true".

... lines 1 - 6
... lines 8 - 13
<service id="knpu_lorem_ipsum.controller.ipsum_api_controller" class="KnpU\LoremIpsumBundle\Controller\IpsumApiController" public="true">
... line 15
... lines 17 - 19
... lines 21 - 22

Try that again! Now it works. And... you might be surprised! After all, our bundle references a class that does not exist! This is a problem... at least, a minor problem. But, because FrameworkBundle is included in our app, it does work.

But to really make things solid, let's add a proper functional test to the bundle that guarantees that this route and controller work. And when we do that, it'll become profoundly obvious that we are, yet again, not properly requiring all the dependencies we need.

Leave a comment!

  • 2020-04-22 Diego Aguiar

    Hey Guilherme Nascimento

    Sorry for being late to help you out but I'm glad that you could find and share the solution. Cheers!

  • 2020-04-20 Guilherme Nascimento

    First of all, thanks for this tutorial. Super clear, although when doing it using symfony 5 I always get stuck on this issue:

    {{my_route}} has no container set, did you forget to define it as a service subscriber


    Anybody having the same issue?

    Found the issue,
    needed to add <defaults autowire="true" autoconfigure="true"/> on your service.xml file to enable auto wiring.

  • 2019-05-30 Victor Bocharsky

    You're welcome! ;)


  • 2019-05-30 Yaroslav Yaremenko

    hi Viktor,

    great, thank you for the reply! will surely give it a try.

    thank you for your support!

  • 2019-05-30 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Yaroslav,

    Ah, yes, now I see the problem. You're talking about *your* bundle, sure Flex does not know nothing about it except that it's a Symfony bundle so it just includes the bundle in bundles.php and that's it. To teach Flex that when you require your bundle Flex should copy some extra files as well - you need to create a recipe for your bundle. Recipe is just a set of instructions, you can see the same EasyAdminBundle as example: . But that's the official recipe, your recipe should be in repository where other non-official bundles are.

    Here's more info about how to create a recipe:

    I hope that helps!


  • 2019-05-30 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Yaroslav,

    Well, doing so with Composer is not a correct way in my opinion.


  • 2019-05-29 Yaroslav Yaremenko

    btw, I also tried to do a routes file copy with the means of composer.json of my bundle

    "scripts": {
    "post-install-cmd": "php -r \"copy('Resources/config/routes.yml', '../config/routes/my-bundle.yml');\"",
    "post-package-install": "php -r \"copy('Resources/config/routes.yml', '../config/routes/my-bundle.yml');\"",
    "post-package-uninstall": "php -r \"unlink('../config/routes/my-bundle.yml')\""

    but none of these worked (looks like none of these was called at all, because I tried echoing and got no output)...

  • 2019-05-29 Yaroslav Yaremenko

    hi Victor,

    thank you for the prompt reply. yes, I'm using Smf 4.2, and just follow this tutorial instructions (except for manual addition of bundle's resource to app routes config).

    I tried install / uninstall my bundle via composer, but the routes file was never auto-copied.

    should I probably create some instructions for Flex (a recipe) so that it would know what file to copy?

  • 2019-05-29 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Yaroslav,

    Actually, Symfony Flex can auto-add routes.... Are we talking about Symfony 4? For example, here's the routes for EasyAdminBundle that Flex will automatically add when you require this package: - i.e. Flex just copy/paste the easy_admin.yaml file with routes into "config/routes/easy_admin.yaml" in your project, and if you have good Symfony 4 application - that file will be automatically read by the application, see "configureRoutes()" in Kernel that responsible to load those files:

    Did you upgrade to Symfony 4 your application from 3.x? Or did you create Symfony 4 application from scratch? Probably you missed something during your update?


  • 2019-05-29 Yaroslav Yaremenko

    hey, thanks for this tutorial;
    I still wonder though, if there is a way for Symfony (Flex?...) to auto-add the bundle's routing file (as resource) - so that I would not do it manually? can / should I do that manually in the load() method maybe? could you please just give a hint?

  • 2019-03-04 Michał Wilczyński

    Hey! I have error:

    Type error: Too few

    arguments to function


    0 passed in


    on line 111 and exactly 1 expected

    in services.xml I have registered new service for controller with argument:

    <service id="mwil_dummy_article_bundle.dummy_article_api_controller" class="Mwil\DummyArticleBundle\Controller\DummyArticleApiController">
    <argument type="service" id="mwil_dummy_article_bundle.mwil_dummy_article"/>

    But it not passing argument to constructor in DummyArticleApiController class

    {{ PROBLEM RESOLVED }} I can't believe I missed typo and I was looking for a problem for an hour ;)

  • 2018-12-11 weaverryan

    Hey Dennis de Best!

    No worries! Let's just say that making mistakes is the best way to learn - so now you're an expert in this area ;). Good job figuring out the issue.


  • 2018-12-11 Dennis de Best

    Turns out i'm an idiot, when including the routes.xml file in my actual application I actually included the services.xml instead, please disregard my previous message

  • 2018-12-10 Dennis de Best

    Hey, I've been going crazy trying to find why this bit will not work for me.
    I keep gettin the error : [ERROR 1845] Element '{}container': No matching global declaration available for the validation root.

    Now from what I've gathered so far this is due to discrepancy between the xsd defintion and the actual xml file.

    However my xml file just contains the defintions from the official symfony docs and one service :

    <container xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemalocation="">

    <service id="ddb_stuart_api.stuart_api" class="DdB\StuartApiBundle\StuartApi" public="true"/>


    Does anyone have a clue why I might be getting this error ?

    Thanks in advance for any help

  • 2018-10-01 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks for mentioning it! Yes, it looks like we have a little discrepancy between the video and its scripts, in the video we missed that "controller" string between "knpu_lorem_ipsum" and "ipsum_api_controller". Probably not a big deal, but it might be good to know for others.


  • 2018-09-30 Tom Moore

    Hi guys, I found a discrepancy between the name of the controller service in the example file in the script, and the name that appears in the video. In the example it is `knpu_lorem_ipsum.controller.ipsum_api_controller`, but in the script it appears as `knpu_lorem_ipsum.ipsum_api_controller`.

  • 2018-06-06 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Lucas,

    Good question! You can create an entity in your bundle and even use Doctrine annotation for mapping. Then in your app that uses the bundle you can create an empty class in src/Entity/ dir that will extend the one from the bundle - Doctrine will see all the parents fields. Or even better to create a Trait in your bundle instead of a class, so you don't need to inherit any class in your app, just *use* the trait - this way is even more flexible, thanks to PHP traits.


  • 2018-06-05 Lucas Baldassari

    I need to create some Doctrine Entities in my bundle, to be used by the external App. How can I add and configure these Entities?