Assets: CSS, Images, etc

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We're doing really well, but yikes! Our site is ugly. Time to fix that.

If you download the course code from this page, after you unzip it, you'll find a start/ directory with a tutorial/ directory inside: the same tutorial/ directory you see here. We're going to copy a few files from it over the next few minutes.

Copying the Base Layout & Main CSS File

The first is base.html.twig. I'll open it up, copy its contents, close it, and then open our templates/base.html.twig. Paste the new stuff here.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<title>{% block title %}Welcome!{% endblock %}</title>
{% block stylesheets %}
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.4.1/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Vkoo8x4CGsO3+Hhxv8T/Q5PaXtkKtu6ug5TOeNV6gBiFeWPGFN9MuhOf23Q9Ifjh" crossorigin="anonymous">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Spartan&display=swap">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/font-awesome/5.12.1/css/all.min.css" integrity="sha256-mmgLkCYLUQbXn0B1SRqzHar6dCnv9oZFPEC1g1cwlkk=" crossorigin="anonymous" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/app.css">
{% endblock %}
</head>
<body>
<nav class="navbar navbar-light bg-light" style="height: 100px;">
<a class="navbar-brand" href="#">
<i style="color: #444; font-size: 2rem;" class="pb-1 fad fa-cauldron"></i>
<p class="pl-2 d-inline font-weight-bold" style="color: #444;">Cauldron Overflow</p>
</a>
<button class="btn btn-dark">Sign up</button>
</nav>
{% block body %}{% endblock %}
<footer class="mt-5 p-3 text-center">
Made with <i style="color: red;" class="fa fa-heart"></i> by the guys and gals at <a style="color: #444; text-decoration: underline;" href="https://symfonycasts.com">SymfonyCasts</a>
</footer>
{% block javascripts %}{% endblock %}
</body>
</html>

This was not a huge change: this added some CSS files - including Bootstrap - and some basic HTML markup. But we have the same blocks as before: {% block body %} in the middle, {% block javascripts %}, {% block title %}, etc.

Notice that the link tags are inside a block called stylesheets. But that's not important yet. I'll explain why it's done that way a bit later.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
... lines 4 - 5
{% block stylesheets %}
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.4.1/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Vkoo8x4CGsO3+Hhxv8T/Q5PaXtkKtu6ug5TOeNV6gBiFeWPGFN9MuhOf23Q9Ifjh" crossorigin="anonymous">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Spartan&display=swap">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/font-awesome/5.12.1/css/all.min.css" integrity="sha256-mmgLkCYLUQbXn0B1SRqzHar6dCnv9oZFPEC1g1cwlkk=" crossorigin="anonymous" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/app.css">
{% endblock %}
</head>
... lines 13 - 27
</html>

One of the link tags is pointing to /css/app.css. That's another file that lives in this tutorial/ directory. In fact, select the images/ directory and app.css and copy both. Now, select the public/ folder and paste. Add another css/ directory and move app.css inside.

Remember: the public/ directory is our document root. So if you need a file to be accessible by a user's browser, it needs to live here. The path /css/app.css will load this public/css/app.css file.

Let's see what this looks like! Spin over to your browser and refresh. Much better. The middle still looks terrible... but that's because we haven't added any markup to the template for this page.

Does Symfony Care about your Assets

So let me ask a question... and answer it: what features does Symfony offer when it comes to CSS and JavaScript? The answer is... none... or a lot!

Symfony has two different levels of integration with CSS and JavaScript. Right now, we're using the basic level. Really, right now, Symfony isn't doing anything for us: we created a CSS file, then added a very traditional link tag to it in HTML. Symfony is doing nothing: it's all up to you.

The other, bigger level of integration is to use something called Webpack Encore: a fantastic library that handles minification, Sass support, React or Vue.js support and many other things. I'll give you a crash course into Webpack Encore at the end of this tutorial.

But right now, we're going to keep it simple: you create CSS or JavaScript files, put them in the public/ directory, and then create link or script tags that point to them.

The Not-So-Important asset() Function

Well, actually, even with this, "basic" integration, there is one small Symfony feature you should use.

Before I show you, go into your PhpStorm preference... and search again for "Symfony" to find the Symfony plugin. See this web directory option? Change that to public/ - this was called web/ in older versions of Symfony. This will give us better auto-completion soon. Hit "Ok".

Here's the deal: whenever you reference a static file on your site - like a CSS file, JavaScript file or image, instead of just putting /css/app.css, you should use a Twig function called asset(). So, {{ asset() }} and then the same path as before, but without the opening /: css/app.css.

... line 1
<html>
<head>
... lines 4 - 5
{% block stylesheets %}
... lines 7 - 9
<link rel="stylesheet" href="{{ asset('css/app.css') }}">
{% endblock %}
</head>
... lines 13 - 27
</html>

What does this super-cool-looking asset() function do? Almost... nothing. In fact, this will output the exact same path as before: /css/app.css.

So why are we bothering to use a function that does nothing? Well, it does do two things... which you may or may not care about. First, if you decide to deploy your app to a subdirectory of a domain - like ILikeMagic.com/cauldron_overflow, the asset() function will automatically prefix all the paths with /cauldron_overflow. Super great... if you care.

The second thing it does is more useful: if you decide to deploy your assets to a CDN, by adding one line to one config file, suddenly, Symfony will prefix every path with the URL to your CDN.

So... it's really not that important, but if you use asset() everywhere, you'll be happy later when you need it.

But... if we move over and refresh... surprise! It explodes!

Did you forget to run composer require symfony/asset? Unknown function asset.

How cool is that? Remember, Symfony starts small: you install things when you need them. In this case, we're trying to use a feature that's not installed... so Symfony gives us the exact command we need to run. Copy it, move over and go:

composer require symfony/asset

When this finishes... move back over and... it works. If you look at the HTML source and search for app.css... yep! It's printing the same path as before.

Making the "show" page Pretty

Let's make the middle of our page look a bit nicer. Back in the tutorial/ directory, open show.html.twig, copy its contents, close it, then open up our version: templates/question/show.html.twig. Paste the new code.

{% extends 'base.html.twig' %}
{% block title %}Question: {{ question }}{% endblock %}
{% block body %}
<div class="container">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-12">
<h2 class="my-4">Question</h2>
<div style="box-shadow: 2px 3px 9px 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.04);">
<div class="q-container-show p-4">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-2 text-center">
<img src="/images/tisha.png" width="100" height="100">
</div>
<div class="col">
<h1 class="q-title-show">{{ question }}</h1>
<div class="q-display p-3">
<i class="fa fa-quote-left mr-3"></i>
<p class="d-inline">I've been turned into a cat, any thoughts on how to turn back? While I'm adorable, I don't really care for cat food.</p>
<p class="pt-4"><strong>--Tisha</strong></p>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="d-flex justify-content-between my-4">
<h2 class="">Answers <span style="font-size:1.2rem;">({{ answers|length }})</span></h2>
<button class="btn btn-sm btn-secondary">Submit an Answer</button>
</div>
<ul class="list-unstyled">
{% for answer in answers %}
<li class="mb-4">
<div class="d-flex justify-content-center">
<div class="mr-2 pt-2">
<img src="/images/tisha.png" width="50" height="50">
</div>
<div class="mr-3 pt-2">
{{ answer }}
<p>-- Mallory</p>
</div>
<div class="vote-arrows flex-fill pt-2" style="min-width: 90px;">
<a class="vote-up" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-up"></i></a>
<a class="vote-down" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-down"></i></a>
<span>+ 6</span>
</div>
</div>
</li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
</div>
{% endblock %}

Once again, there's nothing important happening here: we're still overriding the same title and body blocks. We're still using the same question variable and we're still looping over the answers down here. There's just a lot of extra markup... which... ya know... makes things pretty.

When we refresh... see! Pretty! Back in the template, notice that this page has a few img tags... but these are not using the asset() function. Let's fix that. I'll use a shortcut! I can just type "tisha", hit tab and... boom! It takes care of the rest. Search for img... and replace this one too with "tisha". Wondering who tisha is? Oh, just one of the several cats we keep on staff here at SymfonyCasts. This one manages Vladimir.

... lines 1 - 4
{% block body %}
<div class="container">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-12">
... line 9
<div style="box-shadow: 2px 3px 9px 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.04);">
<div class="q-container-show p-4">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-2 text-center">
<img src="{{ asset('images/tisha.png') }}" width="100" height="100">
</div>
... lines 16 - 23
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
... lines 29 - 36
<ul class="list-unstyled">
{% for answer in answers %}
<li class="mb-4">
<div class="d-flex justify-content-center">
<div class="mr-2 pt-2">
<img src="{{ asset('images/tisha.png') }}" width="50" height="50">
</div>
... lines 44 - 52
</div>
</li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
</div>
{% endblock %}

By the way, in a real app, instead of these images being static files in our project, that might be files that users upload. Don't worry: we have an entire tutorial on handling file uploads.

Make sure this works and... it does.

Styling the Homepage

The last page that we haven't styled is the homepage... which right now... prints some text. Open its controller: src/Controller/QuestionController.php. Yep! It's just return new Response() and text. We can do better. Replace this with return $this->render(). Let's call the template question/homepage.html.twig. And... right now... I don't think we need to pass any variables into the template... so I'll leave the second argument off.

... lines 1 - 8
class QuestionController extends AbstractController
{
... lines 11 - 13
public function homepage()
{
return $this->render('question/homepage.html.twig');
}
... lines 18 - 34
}

Inside templates/question/, create the new file: homepage.html.twig.

Most templates start the exact same way. Yay consistency! On top, {% extends 'base.html.twig' %}, {% block body %} and {% endblock %}. In between, add some markup so we can see if this is working.

{% extends 'base.html.twig' %}
{% block body %}
<h1>Voilà</h1>
{% endblock %}

Ok... refresh the page and... excellent! Except for the "this looks totally awful" part.

Let's steal some code from the tutorial/ directory one last time. Open homepage.html.twig. This is just a bunch of hardcoded markup to make things look nicer. Copy it, close that file... and then paste it over our homepage.html.twig code.

{% extends 'base.html.twig' %}
{% block body %}
<div class="jumbotron-img jumbotron jumbotron-fluid">
<div class="container">
<h1 class="display-4">Your Questions Answered</h1>
<p class="lead">And even answers for those questions you didn't think to ask!</p>
</div>
</div>
<div class="container">
<div class="row mb-3">
<div class="col">
<button class="btn btn-question">Ask a Question</button>
</div>
</div>
<div class="row">
<div class="col-12">
<div style="box-shadow: 2px 3px 9px 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.04);">
<div class="q-container p-4">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-2 text-center">
<img src="{{ asset('images/tisha.png') }}" width="100" height="100">
<div class="d-block mt-3 vote-arrows">
<a class="vote-up" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-up"></i></a>
<a class="vote-down" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-down"></i></a>
</div>
</div>
<div class="col">
<a class="q-title" href="#"><h2>Reversing a Spell</h2></a>
<div class="q-display p-3">
<i class="fa fa-quote-left mr-3"></i>
<p class="d-inline">I've been turned into a cat, any thoughts on how to turn back? While I'm adorable, I don't really care for cat food.</p>
<p class="pt-4"><strong>--Tisha</strong></p>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
<a class="answer-link" href="#" style="color: #fff;">
<p class="q-display-response text-center p-3">
<i class="fa fa-magic magic-wand"></i> 6 answers
</p>
</a>
</div>
</div>
<div class="col-12 mt-3">
<div class="q-container p-4">
<div class="row">
<div class="col-2 text-center">
<img src="{{ asset('images/magic-photo.png') }}" width="100" height="100">
<div class="d-block mt-3 vote-arrows">
<a class="vote-up" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-up"></i></a>
<a class="vote-down" href="#"><i class="far fa-arrow-alt-circle-down"></i></a>
</div>
</div>
<div class="col">
<a class="q-title" href="#"><h2>Pausing a Spell</h2></a>
<div class="q-display p-3">
<i class="fa fa-quote-left mr-3"></i>
<p class="d-inline">I mastered the floating card, but now how do I get it back to the ground?</p>
<p class="pt-4"><strong>--Jerry</strong></p>
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
<a class="answer-link" href="#" style="color: #fff;">
<p class="q-display-response text-center p-3">
<i class="fa fa-magic magic-wand"></i> 15 answers
</p>
</a>
</div>
</div>
</div>
{% endblock %}

And now... it looks much better.

So that's the basic CSS and JavaScript integration inside of Symfony: you manage it yourself. Sure, you should use this asset() function, but it's not doing anything too impressive.

If you want more, you're in luck! In the last chapter, we'll take our assets up to the next level. You're going to love it.

Next: our site now has some links on it! And they all go nowhere! Let's learn how to generate URLs to routes.

Leave a comment!

  • 2020-07-01 Tadas Davidsonas

    Thanks, bro ! :D

  • 2020-06-30 weaverryan

    It MAY have snuck in there after a few chapters were already recorded 😀- you have a good eye for detail! It's definitely in the code download, though ;).

  • 2020-06-30 Tadas Davidsonas

    Not sure how the tutorial folder got into the cauldron_overflow project? :)

  • 2020-04-14 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Alexey,

    Yes, this is the recent upgrade of Mac OS I suppose. If you press and hold the keyboard letter button for a second or two, e.g. "a" - it will show additional chars for that letter and you can choose from the list. I suppose it might be available on other OS, but I'm not sure how to do it, better google for it if you really need this feature.

    Cheers!

  • 2020-04-14 Alexey Goncharov

    Hi! Can you please tell how did you get that à in voilà? Was it some shortcut in PHPStorm or it's just from Mac?

  • 2020-04-09 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Łukasz,

    Oh, now I see you were talking about live templates, it's not actually an autocompletion :) Anyway, glad you figured out how to get it working yourself, good job!

    Cheers!

  • 2020-04-09 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Łukasz,

    Ah, yes, sure, it will only work in curly braces {{}} - this is how PhpStorm knows when you actually call that asset() function. Otherwise, it won't autocomplete because, well, the syntax is incorrect.

    Cheers!

  • 2020-04-08 Łukasz Stadnik

    Ok I know what is wrong. If you want to use that shortcuts you must install Live Templates from this link: https://github.com/knpunive.... If you do everything like it's said there, you should have this autocompletion asset thing. So you have it installed on your version of PHPStorm but didn't said about it :P

  • 2020-04-08 Łukasz Stadnik

    I did everything like you said (install and enable Symfony plugin, configure it to public directory and restart PHPStorm), but nothing happens. This autocomplete only works after I write {{}} and inside it type asset. But if I wrote asset only inside "" it does nothing.

  • 2020-04-08 Victor Bocharsky

    Hey Łukasz,

    Do you have Symfony Plugin installed and enabled in your PhpStorm? I suppose that autocompletion for "asset()" Twig function works thanks to that plugin. You need to install it first, then go to its configuration and enable it. Also, check that paths are correct. For example, the path to the web directory should be "public/". Then, after you enabled it and made necessary config tweaks inside - restart your PhpStorm just in case and try again.

    I hope this helps!

    Cheers!

  • 2020-04-08 Łukasz Stadnik

    I have a problem with this asset autocomplete option. I use PHPStorm and have Twig Plugin enabled. But if I type asset into the "" I only have some angular functions but not from Twig. I must write {{}} and if i type asset into this brackets i've got a autocomplete option. Do you know maybe what is the problem? I don't have any of this autocomplete functions like you shown (asset, asseticjs or asseticcss). Thanks for help.

  • 2020-04-07 Diego Aguiar

    Hey @Dean

    The CSS file comes with the course code inside the tutorial directory. You just need to download it from this page, at the right top corner it's the button :)

    Cheers!

  • 2020-04-03 Dean

    Hello !! How do we get the css code ?