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02.

KnpTimeBundle: Install the Bundle, Get its Service

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On our site, customers have a convenient "Ship Repair Queue" that lists all of the ships being repaired and their status. For this tutorial, we've added a new $arrivedAt field to our Starship class with some getters and setters. We want to print this field on the homepage.

61 lines | src/Model/Starship.php
// ... lines 1 - 4
class Starship
{
public function __construct(
// ... lines 8 - 12
private \DateTimeImmutable $arrivedAt,
) {
}
// ... lines 16 - 55
public function getArrivedAt(): \DateTimeImmutable
{
return $this->arrivedAt;
}
}

If you forgot which controller is responsible for the homepage, you can always hover over the page info in the web debug toolbar and... boom! It says "MainController :: homepage". Let's open that up - MainController.php - and find the homepage() action. Down here, we can see that it renders a template: main/homepage.html.twig. Open that, find the "Ship Repair Queue" and, down here after {{ ship.name }}, add a new <div> with Arrived at: {{ ship.arrivedAt }}.

57 lines | templates/main/homepage.html.twig
// ... lines 1 - 4
{% block body %}
// ... lines 6 - 14
{% for ship in ships %}
// ... lines 16 - 18
<div class="ml-5">
// ... lines 20 - 29
<div>
Arrived at: {{ ship.arrivedAt }}
</div>
</div>
// ... lines 34 - 46
{% endfor %}
// ... lines 48 - 55
{% endblock %}

Now, if we head back to the browser and refresh the homepage... ah... an error.

An exception has been thrown during the rendering of a template ("Object of class DateTimeImmutable could not be converted to string").

That makes sense. PHP can't just print DateTime objects because it doesn't know which format we want. How do we fix that? Easy! We can use a Twig filter. Back over here, after arrivedAt, say |date. If we refresh again... awesome! Here's the date and time in a specific format.

57 lines | templates/main/homepage.html.twig
// ... lines 1 - 18
<div class="ml-5">
// ... lines 20 - 29
<div>
Arrived at: {{ ship.arrivedAt|date }}
</div>
</div>
// ... lines 34 - 57

We can pass an optional DateTime format as the first argument to this |date filter, but if we skip it, the application's default format will be used. Which one, exactly? Good question! Let's check out the config. At your terminal, run:

bin/console config:dump twig

Here, you can see the date format configuration for your application. I actually cheated a bit when running this command. The full command name is config:dump-reference. With Symfony commands, you can shorten the name as much as you want as long as it's not ambiguous with another command's name. If multiple commands match, the console will ask which one you want to run.

All right, back to the browser. We've printed our date, but it would be so much cooler if we could say something like "2 hours ago" instead of this long date. Unfortunately, we don't have a service in our app that can do that for us yet. And I certainly don't want to write it myself. I've got more fun things to do like playing board games. But, hm... Is there a bundle with a service that can do this? Yep! It's called "KnpTimeBundle". Let's find it on GitHub. Here it is! Scroll down to the "Installation" section and copy this command. At your terminal, paste that command and run it:

composer require knplabs/knp-time-bundle

This installs the bundle, the required dependencies, and it also executes some recipes. If we run:

git status

Check it out! Every time we install a new bundle, it changes our composer.json, composer.lock, symfony.lock, and bundles.php files. Let's open that.

16 lines | config/bundles.php
// ... lines 1 - 2
return [
// ... lines 4 - 13
Knp\Bundle\TimeBundle\KnpTimeBundle::class => ['all' => true],
];

Down here, we can see that KnpTimeBundle was added to this array. That's where Symfony activates this bundle in our application. Remember, bundles give us services, and this one's no exception. But... what services did it give us? We could read the docs to learn more about this, but I'm going to be lazy and run:

bin/console debug:container time

I'll select datetime_formatter, which is option 10, for more information. Cool!

To see if we can autowire it, let's run another command:

bin/console debug:autowiring time

And... we can! If we want to use the ago format for our date object, this is the typehint we need to use to inject this service in our PHP classes. But, since we only want this in our Twig template, there's a better solution. This bundle also comes with a Twig integration that provides some nice Twig filters and functions. We can see that if we run:

bin/console debug:twig

and search for ago. Here it is! If this date looks familiar, that's because it is. That's the one we used before. Let's try the ago filter this time.

57 lines | templates/main/homepage.html.twig
// ... lines 1 - 18
<div class="ml-5">
// ... lines 20 - 29
<div>
Arrived at: {{ ship.arrivedAt|ago }}
</div>
</div>
// ... lines 34 - 57

Back over here, replace date with ago... save, and open the browser. Refresh the homepage and... there it is! We now have this nice "ago" format. So, bundles give us services, services are tools, and tools are fun.

Next, let's add even more services by installing new Symfony components.