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Register your Service in the Container

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The MarkdownTransformer class is not an Autobot, nor a Decepticon, but it is a service because it does work for us. It's no different from any other service, like the markdown.parser, logger or anything else we see in debug:container... except for one thing: it sees dead people. I mean, it does not live in the container.

Nope, we need to instantiate it manually: we can't just say something like $this->get('app.markdown_transformer') and expect the container to create it for us.

Time to change that... and I'll tell you why it's awesome once we're done.

Open up app/config/services.yml:

# Learn more about services, parameters and containers at
# parameter_name: value
# service_name:
# class: AppBundle\Directory\ClassName
# arguments: ["@another_service_name", "plain_value", "%parameter_name%"]


If you're using Symfony 3.3, your app/config/services.yml contains some extra code that may break things when following this tutorial! To keep things working - and learn about what this code does - see

To add a new service to the container, you basically need to teach the container how to instantiate your object.

This file already has some example code to do this... kill it! Under the services key, give your new service a nickname: how about app.markdown_transformer:

... lines 1 - 5
... lines 8 - 10

This can be anything: we'll use it later to fetch the service. Next, in order for the container to be able to instantiate this, it needs to know two things: the class name and what arguments to pass to the constructor. For the first, add class: then the full AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer:

... lines 1 - 5
class: AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer
... lines 9 - 10

For the second, add arguments: then make a YAML array: []. These are the constructor arguments, and it's pretty simple. If we used [sunshine, rainbows], it would pass the string sunshine as the first argument to MarkdownTransformer and rainbow as the second. And that would be a very pleasant service.

In reality, MarkdowTransformer requires one argument: the markdown.parser service. To tell the container to pass that, add @markdown.parser:

... lines 1 - 5
class: AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer
arguments: ['@markdown.parser']

That's it. The @ is special: it says:

Woh woh woh, don't pass the string markdown.parser, pass the service markdown.parser.

And with 4 lines of code, a new service has been born in the container. I'm such a proud parent.

Go look for it:

./bin/console debug:container markdown

There is its! And it's so cute. Idea! Let's use it! Instead of new MarkdownTransformer(), be lazier: $transformer = $this->get('app.markdown_transformer):

... lines 1 - 13
class GenusController extends Controller
... lines 16 - 58
public function showAction($genusName)
... lines 61 - 69
$markdownTransformer = $this->get('app.markdown_transformer');
... lines 71 - 97
... lines 99 - 123

When this line runs, the container will create that object for us behind the scenes.

Why add a Service to the Container

Believe it or not, this was a huge step. When you add your service to the container, you get two great thing. First, using the service is so much easier: $this->get('app.markdown_transformer). We don't need to worry about passing constructor arguments: heck it could have ten constructor arguments and this simple line would stay the same.

Second: if we ask for the app.markdown_transformer service more than once during a request, the container only creates one of them: it returns that same one object each time. That's nice for performance.

Oh, and by the way: the container doesn't create the MarkdownTransformer object until and unless somebody asks for it. That means that adding more services to your container does not slow things down.

The Dumped Container

Ok, I have to show you something cool. Open up the var/cache directory. If you don't see it - you may have it excluded: switch to the "Project" mode in PhpStorm.

Open var/cache/dev/appDevDebugProjectContainer.php:

... lines 1 - 9
* appDevDebugProjectContainer.
* This class has been auto-generated
* by the Symfony Dependency Injection Component.
class appDevDebugProjectContainer extends Container
... lines 18 - 3707

This is the container: it's a class that's dynamically built from our configuration. Search for "MarkdownTransformer" and find the getApp_MarkdownTransformerService() method:

... lines 1 - 15
class appDevDebugProjectContainer extends Container
... lines 18 - 23
public function __construct()
... lines 26 - 32
$this->methodMap = array(
... line 34
'app.markdown_transformer' => 'getApp_MarkdownTransformerService',
... lines 36 - 238
... lines 240 - 249
... lines 251 - 272
* Gets the 'app.markdown_transformer' service.
* This service is shared.
* This method always returns the same instance of the service.
* @return \AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer A AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer instance.
protected function getApp_MarkdownTransformerService()
return $this->services['app.markdown_transformer'] = new \AppBundle\Service\MarkdownTransformer($this->get('markdown.parser'));
... lines 285 - 3707

Ultimately, when we ask for the app.markdown_transformer service, this method is called. And look! It runs the same PHP code that we had before in our controller: new MarkdownTransformer() and then $this->get('markdown.parser') - since $this is the container.

You don't need to understand how this works - but it's important to see this. The configuration we wrote in services.yml may feel like magic, but it's not: it causes Symfony to write plain PHP code that creates our service objects. There's no magic: we describe how to instantiate the object, and Symfony writes the PHP code to do that. This makes the container blazingly fast.

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What PHP libraries does this tutorial use?

// composer.json
    "require": {
        "php": ">=5.5.9",
        "symfony/symfony": "3.1.*", // v3.1.4
        "doctrine/orm": "^2.5", // v2.7.2
        "doctrine/doctrine-bundle": "^1.6", // 1.6.4
        "doctrine/doctrine-cache-bundle": "^1.2", // 1.3.0
        "symfony/swiftmailer-bundle": "^2.3", // v2.3.11
        "symfony/monolog-bundle": "^2.8", // 2.11.1
        "symfony/polyfill-apcu": "^1.0", // v1.2.0
        "sensio/distribution-bundle": "^5.0", // v5.0.22
        "sensio/framework-extra-bundle": "^3.0.2", // v3.0.16
        "incenteev/composer-parameter-handler": "^2.0", // v2.1.2
        "knplabs/knp-markdown-bundle": "^1.4", // 1.4.2
        "doctrine/doctrine-migrations-bundle": "^1.1" // 1.1.1
    "require-dev": {
        "sensio/generator-bundle": "^3.0", // v3.0.7
        "symfony/phpunit-bridge": "^3.0", // v3.1.3
        "nelmio/alice": "^2.1", // 2.1.4
        "doctrine/doctrine-fixtures-bundle": "^2.3" // 2.3.0