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Installing Doctrine

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Welcome back team to episode three of our Symfony 6 series! The first two courses were super important: taking us from the basics up through the core of how everything works in Symfony: all that good "services" & configuration stuff. You are now ready to use any other part of Symfony and really start building out a site.

And... what better way to do that than to add a database? Because... so far, for all the cool things we've done, the site we've been building is 100% static. Boring! Time to change that.

Hello Doctrine

So we know that Symfony is a collection of a lot of libraries for solving a ton of different problems. So... does Symfony have some tools to help us talk to the database? The answer is... no! Because... it doesn't have to!

Why? Enter Doctrine: the most powerful library in the PHP world for working with databases. And Symfony and Doctrine work great together: they're the Frodo and Sam Gamgee of PHP middle earth: the Han Solo and Chewbacca of the PHP Rebel Alliance. Symfony & Doctrine are like two Disney characters that finish each other's sandwiches!

Project Setup

To see this dynamic duo in action, let's get our project set up. Playing with databases is fun, so code along with me! Do that by downloading the course code from this page. After unzipping it, you'll find a start/ directory with the same code that you see here. Pop open this README.MD file for all the setup instructions.

The last step will be to open a terminal, move into your project and run:

symfony serve -d

This uses the Symfony binary to start a local web server which lives at I'll take the lazy way out and click that to see... Mixed Vinyl! Our latest startup idea - and I swear, this one is going to be huge - combines the nostalgia for the "mix tapes" of the 80's and 90's with the audio experience of vinyl records. You craft your sweet mix tapes, then we press them onto a vinyl record for a full hipster audio experience.

So far, our site has a homepage and a page to browse mixes that other people created. Though, that page isn't really dynamic: it pulls from a GitHub repository... and unless you've configured an API key like we did in the last episode, this page is broken! That's the first thing we'll fix: by querying a databasse for the mixes.

Installing Doctrine

So let's get Doctrine installed! Find your terminal and run:

composer require "doctrine:^2.2" "doctrine/annotations:^1.14"

This is, of course, a Flex alias for a library called symfony/orm-pack. And remember: a "pack" is a, sort of, "fake library" that serves as a shortcut to install several packages at once. In this case, we're installing Doctrine itself, but also a few other relataed libraries, like the excellent Doctrine Migrations system.

Docker Configuration

Oh, and check this out! The command is asking:

Do you want to include Docker configuration from recipes?

So, occasionally when you install a package, that package's recipe will contain Docker configuration that can, for example, start a database container. This is totally optional, but I'm going to say p for yes permanently. We'll talk more about the Docker configuration in a few minutes.

The Doctrine Recipes

But right now, let's check out what the recipe did. Run:

git status

Okay cool: this modified the normal files like composer.json, composer.lock and symfony.lock... and it also modified config/bundles.php. If you check that out... no surprise: our app now has two new bundles: DoctrineBundle and DoctrineMigrationsBundle.

... lines 1 - 2
return [
... lines 4 - 13
Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\DoctrineBundle::class => ['all' => true],
Doctrine\Bundle\MigrationsBundle\DoctrineMigrationsBundle::class => ['all' => true],

But probably the most important part of the recipe is the change it made to our .env file. Remember: this is where we can configure environment variables... and the recipe gave us a new one called DATABASE_URL. This, as you can see, holds all the connection details, like the username and password.

30 lines .env
... lines 1 - 27
... lines 29 - 30

What uses this environment variable? Excellent question! Check out a new file the recipe gave us: config/packages/doctrine.yaml. Most of this config you won't need to think about or change. But notice this url key: it reads that DATABASE_URL environment variable!

url: '%env(resolve:DATABASE_URL)%'
... lines 4 - 43

The point is: the DATABASE_URL env var is the key to setting up your app to talk to a database... and we'll play with it in a few minutes.

The recipe also added a few new directories: migrations/ src/Entity/ and src/Repository/. Right now, other than a meaningless .gitignore file, these are all empty. We'll start filling them up real soon.

Ok: Doctrine is now installed. But to talk to a database... we need to make sure we have a database running and that the DATABASE_URL environment variable is pointing to it. Let's do that next, but with an optional & delightful twist: we're going to use Docker to start the database.

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Ted-H Avatar

Hello there !
when I try to open the downloaded source files I get this error from Symfony: Environment variable not found: "GITHUB_TOKEN". I'm not sure how to fix it


Hey @Ted-H

Could you corroborate you got that error from the code project of this tutorial? Also, does it happen on both directories (start, finish)? I'm asking because I just checked this course project and there are not any references to such environment variable

Ted-H Avatar

yes from the code project of this tutorial, it actually happens on both (start and finish) it also happens on the projects I tried to download form the next episodes in this tutorial, I followed along with Ryan since the first course and I started getting this error around the last episodes of the last course and I couldnt't solve it since. I'm following along with two computers to do the work twice and understand better but now I'm getting the error on both computers.


That's odd, I just gave it a try and could install the start directory of this project without any problems. This makes me think there's something going on in your local machine. Let's try to find where is that env var being used, run: git grep GITHUB_TOKEN
As a workaround, just define the env var in the .env file and try again

Ted-H Avatar

it is quite odd indeed, defining the variable in the .env file did the work. thank you

Bartlomeij Avatar
Bartlomeij Avatar Bartlomeij | posted 3 months ago | edited

Hello there!
I got a weird problem I don't know how to solve. Working on Symfony's project in version 6.2, and PHP 8.2 after running composer require doctrine errors occur:

- symfony/orm-pack[v1.0.0, ..., v1.0.7] require php ^7.0 -> your php version (8.2.3) does not satisfy that requirement.
- doctrine/doctrine-migrations-bundle[v2.0.0, ..., 2.2.1] require php ^7.1 -> your php version (8.2.3) does not satisfy that requirement.
- doctrine/orm[v2.6.0, ..., 2.7.5] require php ^7.1 -> your php version (8.2.3) does not satisfy that requirement.

And more...
I know what that means, but do you have any ideas on how to solve that in a different way than downgrading my PHP version?
When I run composer require "symfony/orm-pack:^2.3", another errors are shown:

- doctrine/orm[2.3.0, ..., v2.3.6] require symfony/console 2.* -> found symfony/console[2.0.4, ..., v2.8.52] but it conflicts with your root composer.json require (6.2.*).
- doctrine/orm[v2.4.0, ..., v2.4.8] require symfony/console ~2.0 -> found symfony/console[2.0.4, ..., v2.8.52] but it conflicts with your root composer.json require (6.2.*).
- doctrine/orm[v2.5.0, ..., v2.5.1] require symfony/console ~2.5 -> found symfony/console[v2.5.0, ..., v2.8.52] but it conflicts with your root composer.json require (6.2.*).



Hey Bartlomeij,

I don't think there're any other robust solutions. You can try to ignore platform requirements with --ignore-platform-reqs flag, but I'd not recommend it because it may cause issues in your code as it will use the new PHP syntax that will just not work on your PHP version.

So, you need either downgrade your PHP version or upgrade those required packages to a newer (most probably major) version. You can leverage https://packagist.org/ to see what version of the package requires what PHP version.

I hope this helps!


Benoit-L Avatar
Benoit-L Avatar Benoit-L | posted 6 months ago

Hi there,

It is not clear for me if the composer install should be run inside the "start" directory or outside

When I install it inside the directory it works better than outside.

Jesse-Rushlow Avatar
Jesse-Rushlow Avatar Jesse-Rushlow | SFCASTS | Benoit-L | posted 6 months ago | edited

Howdy Benoit -

When I install it inside the directory it works better than outside.

This made me chuckle :) But to answer your question, yes - run composer install inside the start directory.

From this point on, you'll be doing everything from within the start directory. The finish directory is how your code should look at the end of the tutorial - assuming you're coding along with Ryan throughout the course.


Benoit-L Avatar

Yes, I think it would make me chuckle as well if I would read something like that :)

Could you take into consideration the way it is presented in the ReadMe file ?

Step 1 : (in whatever directory you are you should check that composer is installed properly)
So I would say that you should already mention that you are in the directory of your project at this stage.
In the Readme you are saying that you should only move to the directory later : "once on your system.
Then, to start the web server, open a terminal, move into theproject, and run ...":

Make sure you have Composer installed
and then run:

composer install

You may alternatively need to run php composer.phar install, depending
on how you installed Composer.

Start the Symfony web server

You can use Nginx or Apache, but Symfony's local web server
works even better.

To install the Symfony local web server, follow
"Downloading the Symfony client" instructions found
here: https://symfony.com/download - you only need to do this
once on your system.

Then, to start the web server, open a terminal, move into the
project, and run:

symfony serve

The problem is also that when I run git status I have a lot of files that are displayed and that should not be, right ?

Jesse-Rushlow Avatar
Jesse-Rushlow Avatar Jesse-Rushlow | SFCASTS | Benoit-L | posted 6 months ago

Sorry for the slow reply,

Once you've extracted and moved into the start directory, you should be able to git init to initialize that directory as a git repository. git add . then git commit -m "starting the tutorial" to add and commit everything in start to the repo. Now when you run composer install, you will see a few files change - like composer.lock and possibly see a couple files added/changed due to Symfony's Flex recipe system. Those changes are ok to commit after running composer. Thanks to .gitignore you shouldn't see anything in git status related to say vendor/ and the like.

Does that sound about right for what you're seeing?

Markchicobaby Avatar
Markchicobaby Avatar Markchicobaby | posted 7 months ago

Hi when following along, git status doesn't work because of course there is no git repo... I'm thinking we should run git init after composer install and before composer require "doctrine:^2.2"


Hey Markchicobaby!

git status doesn't work because of course there is no git repo

Ha! Of course! I've been saying this type of thing for years without thinking about this fact! The hope is that you will initialize the git repository when you start via git init, but you're absolutely right that I don't say this. I'm going to be more careful with my language afterwards.


Joshua C. Avatar
Joshua C. Avatar Joshua C. | posted 9 months ago

Hey! The audio stops at 5:22 and the video froze too!


Hey Craig,

We're sorry to hear you're experiencing problems with our video player! I just double-check it, the video plays well for me around those 5:22, so it might be an internet connection issue on your laptop and so the video was not able to load from the server. Or, it might be a temporary outage of Vimeo video service - our video hosting provider. Please, try again today and let us know if the problem still persist. In this case, as a temporary workaround, I'd recommend you to download the video and watch it locally.

I hope this helps.


Joshua C. Avatar

The video player still doesn't work for me in the website. The downloaded video works great. I don't have any trouble with any other videos on the site (I've watched dozens), so I assumed it was an issue with this video specifically.


Hey Craig,

Glad to hear you were able to watch the downloaded video in full locally. I'd recommend you to try a different browser, or probably a Chrome Incognito mode might help as well. But since you already watched it locally, you may just ignore :)

I still can't reproduce it for myself, so I think it should be good and most probably it's something local.


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What PHP libraries does this tutorial use?

// composer.json
    "require": {
        "php": ">=8.1",
        "ext-ctype": "*",
        "ext-iconv": "*",
        "babdev/pagerfanta-bundle": "^3.7", // v3.7.0
        "doctrine/doctrine-bundle": "^2.7", // 2.7.0
        "doctrine/doctrine-migrations-bundle": "^3.2", // 3.2.2
        "doctrine/orm": "^2.12", // 2.12.3
        "knplabs/knp-time-bundle": "^1.18", // v1.19.0
        "pagerfanta/doctrine-orm-adapter": "^3.6", // v3.6.1
        "pagerfanta/twig": "^3.6", // v3.6.1
        "sensio/framework-extra-bundle": "^6.2", // v6.2.6
        "stof/doctrine-extensions-bundle": "^1.7", // v1.7.0
        "symfony/asset": "6.1.*", // v6.1.0
        "symfony/console": "6.1.*", // v6.1.2
        "symfony/dotenv": "6.1.*", // v6.1.0
        "symfony/flex": "^2", // v2.2.2
        "symfony/framework-bundle": "6.1.*", // v6.1.2
        "symfony/http-client": "6.1.*", // v6.1.2
        "symfony/monolog-bundle": "^3.0", // v3.8.0
        "symfony/proxy-manager-bridge": "6.1.*", // v6.1.0
        "symfony/runtime": "6.1.*", // v6.1.1
        "symfony/twig-bundle": "6.1.*", // v6.1.1
        "symfony/ux-turbo": "^2.0", // v2.3.0
        "symfony/webpack-encore-bundle": "^1.13", // v1.15.1
        "symfony/yaml": "6.1.*", // v6.1.2
        "twig/extra-bundle": "^2.12|^3.0", // v3.4.0
        "twig/twig": "^2.12|^3.0" // v3.4.1
    "require-dev": {
        "doctrine/doctrine-fixtures-bundle": "^3.4", // 3.4.2
        "symfony/debug-bundle": "6.1.*", // v6.1.0
        "symfony/maker-bundle": "^1.41", // v1.44.0
        "symfony/stopwatch": "6.1.*", // v6.1.0
        "symfony/web-profiler-bundle": "6.1.*", // v6.1.2
        "zenstruck/foundry": "^1.21" // v1.21.0