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MakerBundle & Autoconfigure

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Congrats on making it so far! Seriously: your work on this tutorial is going to make everything else you do make a lot more sense. Now, it's time to celebrate!

One of the best parts of Symfony is that it has a killer code generator. It's called "MakerBundle"... because shouting "make me a controller!" is more fun than saying "generate me a controller".

Hello MakerBundle

Let's get it installed. Find your terminal and run:

composer require "maker:^1.30" --dev

We're adding --dev because we won't need the MakerBundle in production, but that's a minor detail.

As I've mentioned so many times - sorry - bundles give you services. In this case, MakerBundle doesn't give you services that you will use directly, like in your controller. Nope, it gives you services that power a huge list of new console commands.

When the install finishes, run:

php bin/console make:

Woh! Our app suddenly has a bunch of commands that start with make:, like make:command, make:controller, make:crud, make:entity, which will be a database entity and more.

Let's try one of these! Let's make our own custom console command!

Making a Custom Console Command

Because, in Symfony, you can hook into anything. The bin/console executable

php bin/console

is no exception: we can add our own command here. I do this all the time for CRON jobs or data importing. To get started, run:

php bin/console make:command

Ok: it asks us for a command name. I like to prefix mine with app: how about app:random-spell. Our new command will output a random magical spell - very useful!

And... we're done! You can see that this created a new src/Command/RandomSpellCommand.php file. Let's go check it out!

43 lines | src/Command/RandomSpellCommand.php
// ... lines 1 - 11
class RandomSpellCommand extends Command
protected static $defaultName = 'app:random-spell';
protected function configure()
->setDescription('Add a short description for your command')
->addArgument('arg1', InputArgument::OPTIONAL, 'Argument description')
->addOption('option1', null, InputOption::VALUE_NONE, 'Option description')
protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
$io = new SymfonyStyle($input, $output);
$arg1 = $input->getArgument('arg1');
if ($arg1) {
$io->note(sprintf('You passed an argument: %s', $arg1));
if ($input->getOption('option1')) {
// ...
$io->success('You have a new command! Now make it your own! Pass --help to see your options.');
return 0;

Cool! We can see the name on top, it has a description, some options... and, at the bottom, it ultimately prints a message. We'll start customizing this in a minute.

But before we do that... guess what? The new command already works! Run:

php bin/console app:random-spell

It's alive! This message is coming from the bottom of the new class.

Service Auto Configuration

But wait: how did Symfony instantly see our new command class and start using it? Is it because... it lives in a Command/ directory and Symfony scans for classes that live there? Nope! We could rename this to directory to DefinitelyNoCommandsInHere/ and it would still see the command.

The way this works is way cooler. Open up config/services.yaml and look at the _defaults section. We talked about what autowire: true means, but I did not explain the purpose of autoconfigure: true:

33 lines | config/services.yaml
// ... lines 1 - 8
# default configuration for services in *this* file
autowire: true # Automatically injects dependencies in your services.
autoconfigure: true # Automatically registers your services as commands, event subscribers, etc.
// ... lines 14 - 33

Because this is below _defaults, autoconfiguration is active on all of our services, including our new command.

When autoconfiguration is enabled for a service, it basically tells Symfony:

Yo! Please look at the base class or interface of this service and if it looks like it should be a command, or an event listener or something else that hooks into Symfony, please automatically integrate it into that system. Thanks!

In other words, Symfony sees our service, notices that it extends Command:

43 lines | src/Command/RandomSpellCommand.php
// ... lines 1 - 4
use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;
// ... lines 6 - 11
class RandomSpellCommand extends Command
// ... lines 14 - 41

And thinks:

I bet this is meant to be a console command. I'll just... hook it into that system automatically.

I love this because it means there is zero configuration needed to get things working. And you'll see this in a bunch of places in Symfony: you create a class, make it implement an interface and... it'll just start working. We'll see another example in a few minutes with a Twig extension.

Ok! Now that our command is working, let's customize it! Playing with console commands is one of my favorite things to do in Symfony. Let's go!