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More with ManyToMany: Avoiding Duplicates

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More with ManyToMany: Avoiding Duplicates

Now click the attend link again. Ah, an error!

SQLSTATE[23000]: Integrity constraint violation: 1062 Duplicate entry ‘4-4’ for key ‘PRIMARY’

Our User is once again added as an attendee to the Event. And when Doctrine saves, it tries to add a second row to the join table. Not cool!

Adding the hasAttendee Method

To fix this, create a new method in Event called hasAttendee. This will return true or false depending on whether or not a given user is attending this event:

// src/Yoda/EventBundle/Entity/Event.php
// ...

 * @param \Yoda\UserBundle\Entity\User $user
 * @return bool
public function hasAttendee(User $user)
    return $this->getAttendees()->contains($user);

Avoiding Duplicates

Find attendAction in EventController. We can use the new hasAttendee method to avoid adding duplicate Users:

// src/Yoda/EventBundle/Controller/EventController.php

public function attendAction($id)
    // ...

    if (!$event->hasAttendee($this->getUser())) {

    // ...

Try it out! Go crazy, click the attend link as many times as you want: you’re only added the first time.

Adding Unattend Logic

Let’s fill in the logic in unattendAction. Actually, we can just copy attendAction and remove the current user from the attendee list by using the removeElement method:

// src/Yoda/EventBundle/Controller/EventController.php
// ...

public function unattendAction($id)
    $em = $this->getDoctrine()->getManager();
    /** @var $event \Yoda\EventBundle\Entity\Event */
    $event = $em->getRepository('EventBundle:Event')->find($id);

    if (!$event) {
        throw $this->createNotFoundException('No event found for id '.$id);

    if ($event->hasAttendee($this->getUser())) {


    $url = $this->generateUrl('event_show', array(
        'slug' => $event->getSlug(),

    return $this->redirect($url);

In our show template, let’s show only the “attend” or “unattend” link based on whether we’re attending the event or not. That’s easy with the hasAttendee method:

{# src/Yoda/EventBundle/Resources/views/Event/show.html.twig #}
{# ... #}

    {# ... #}

        {% if entity.hasAttendee(app.user) %}
            <a href="{{ path('event_unattend', {'id':}) }}" class="btn btn-warning btn-xs">
                Oh no! I can't go anymore!
        {% else %}
            <a href="{{ path('event_attend', {'id':}) }}" class="btn btn-success btn-xs">
                I totally want to go!
        {% endif %}

When we refresh, the unattend button is showing. Click it and then click the attend button again. This bake sale is going to be off the hook!

What’s really going on in the Base Controller

Quickly, look back at the redirect and generateUrl methods we’re using in our controller. Let’s see what these really do by opening up Symfony's base controller class:

// vendor/symfony/symfony/src/Symfony/Bundle/FrameworkBundle/Controller/Controller.php
// ...

public function generateUrl($route, $parameters = array(), $absolute = false)
    return $this->container->get('router')->generate($route, $parameters, $absolute);

public function redirect($url, $status = 302)
    return new RedirectResponse($url, $status);

Like we’ve seen over and over again, generateUrl is just a shortcut to grab a service from the container and call a method on it. The redirect method is even simpler: it returns a special type of Response object that’s used when redirecting users.

The point is this: Symfony is actually pretty simple under the surface. Your job in every controller is to return a Response object. The container gives you access to all types of powerful objects to make that job easier.