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Flysystem: Filesystem Abstraction

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I keep talking about how we're going to eventually move our uploads off of our server and put them onto AWS S3. But right now, our entire upload system is very tied to our local filesystem. For example, $file->move()? Yea, that will always move things physically on your filesystem.

One of my favorite tools to help with this problem is a library called Flysystem. It's written by our friend Frank - who co-authored our React tutorial. He also spoke at SymfonyCon in 2018 about Flysystem and that presentation is available right here on SymfonyCasts.

Flysystem gives you a nice service object that you can use to write or read files. Then, behind the scenes, you can swap out whether you want to use a local filesystem, S3, Dropbox or pretty much anything else. It gives you an easy way to work with the filesystem, but that filesystem could be local or in the cloud.


In Symfony, we have an excellent bundle for this library: Google for OneupFlysystemBundle, find their GitHub page, then click into the docs. Copy the library name, find your terminal and run:


A newer version of this bundle exists, which uses a newer version of the underlying league/flysystem library. To use the same version as we use in this tutorial, install version 3 of the bundle. If you install the newer version, we'll do our best to add notes to guide you through any changes :).

composer require "oneup/flysystem-bundle:^3"

Adapters & Filesystems

While Jordi is preparing our packages, go back to their docs. Flysystem has two important concepts, which you can see here in the config example. First, we need to set up an "adapter", which is a lower-level object. Give it any name - like my_adapter. Then, this key - local - is the critical part: this says that you want to use the local adapter - an adapter that stores things on the local filesystem. Click the AwsS3 adapter link. If you want to use this adapter and store your files in S3, you'll use the key awss3v3. Every adapter also has different options. We're going to start with the local adapter, but move to s3 later.

But the real star, is the filesystem. Same thing: you give it any nickname, like my_filesystem and then say: this filesystem uses the my_adapter adapter. We'll talk about visibility later. The filesystem is the object that we'll work with directly to read, write & delete files.

Ok, go check on Composer. It's done and thanks to the recipe, we have a new config/packages/oneup_flysystem.yaml file with the same config we just saw in the docs.

# Read the documentation: https://github.com/1up-lab/OneupFlysystemBundle/tree/master/Resources/doc/index.md
directory: '%kernel.cache_dir%/flysystem'
adapter: default_adapter
alias: League\Flysystem\Filesystem

Configuring the Adapter & Filesystem

Let's create 1 adapter and 1 filesystem for our uploads. Call the adapter, how about, public_uploads_adapter. I'm saying "public uploads" because this will put things into the public/ directory: they will be publicly accessible. We'll talk about private uploads soon - those are files where you need to do some security checks before you allow a user to see them. Change the directory to %kernel.project_dir% and then /public/uploads.


If you're using version 4 of oneup/flysystem-bundle, the directory config is now called location.

10 lines | config/packages/oneup_flysystem.yaml
// ... line 1
directory: '%kernel.project_dir%/public/uploads'
// ... lines 7 - 10

That is the root of this filesystem: everything will be stored relative to this. Give the filesystem a similar name - public_uploads_filesystem - and set adapter: to public_uploads_adapter.

10 lines | config/packages/oneup_flysystem.yaml
// ... line 1
// ... lines 3 - 6
adapter: public_uploads_adapter

Filesystem Alias?

What about this alias key? Let's see what that does. First, when you configure a filesystem here, it creates a service. Find your terminal and run:

php bin/console debug:container flysystem

There it is: oneup_flysystem.public_uploads_filesystem_filesystem. That service was created thanks to our config and we'll use it soon in UploaderHelper. The bundle also created another service called: League\Flysystem\Filesystem. Well, actually, it's an alias: I'll type 61 to view more info about it. Yep! This points to our public_uploads_filesystem service. The purpose of this is that it allows us to type-hint League\Flysystem\Filesystem and Symfony will autowire our filesystem service.

If you only have 1 filesystem, having this alias is great. But if you have multiple, well, you can only autowire one of them. I'm going to remove the alias - I'll show you another way to access the filesystem service.

Ok, config done! Next, let's start using this shiny new Filesystem service.