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Creating a new Symfony 5 Project


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Hey friends! And welcome to the world of Symfony 5... which just happens to be my favorite world! Ok, maybe Disney World is my favorite world... but programming in Symfony 5 is a close second.

Symfony 5 is lean and mean: it's lightning fast, starts tiny, but grows with you as your app gets bigger. And that's not marketing jargon! Your Symfony app will literally grow as you need more features. But more on that later.

Symfony 5 is also the product of years of work on developer experience. Basically, the people behind Symfony want you to love using it but without sacrificing quality. Yep, you get to write code that you're proud of, love the process, and build things quickly.

Symfony is also the fastest major PHP framework, which is no surprise: - its creator also created the PHP profiling system Blackfire. So... performance is always a focus.

Go Deeper!

Watch our Blackfire.io: Revealing Performance Secrets with Profiling course to learn about Blackfire.

Downloading the Symfony Installer

So... let's do this! Start off by going to http://symfony.com and clicking "Download". What we're about to download is not actually Symfony. It's an executable tool that will help make local development with Symfony... well.. awesome.

Because I'm on a Mac, I'll copy this command and then go open a terminal - I already have one waiting. It doesn't matter where on your filesystem you run this. Paste!

curl -sS https://get.symfony.com/cli/installer | bash

This downloads a single executable file and, for me, puts it into my home directory. To make it so that I can run this executable from anywhere on my system, I'll follow the command's advice and move the file somewhere else:

mv /Users/weaverryan/.symfony/bin/symfony /usr/local/bin/symfony

Ok, try it!


It's alive! Say hello to the Symfony CLI: a command-line tool that will help us with various things along our path to programming glory.

Starting a new Symfony App

Its first job will be to help us create a new Symfony 5 project. Run:

symfony new cauldron_overflow

Where cauldron_overflow will be the directory that the new app will live in. This also happens to be the name of the site we're building... but more on that later.

Behind the scenes, this command isn't doing anything special: it clones a Git repository called symfony/skeleton and then uses Composer to install that project's dependencies. We'll talk more about that repository and Composer a bit later.

When it's done, move into the new directory:

cd cauldron_overflow

And then open this directory in your favorite editor. I already have it open in my favorite: PhpStorm, which I did by going to File -> Open Directory and selecting the new project folder. Anyways, say hello to your brand new, shiny, full-of-potential new Symfony 5 project.

Our App is Small!

Before we start hacking away at things, let's create a new git repository and commit. But wait... run:

git status

On branch master, nothing to commit.

Surprise! The symfony new command already initialized a git repository for us and made the first commit. You can see it by running:

git log

Add initial set of files

Nice! Though, I personally would have liked a slightly more epic first commit message... but that's fine.

I'll hit "q" to exit this mode.

I mentioned earlier that Symfony starts small. To prove it, we can see a list of all the files that were committed by running:

git show --name-only

Yea... that's it! Our project - which is fully set up and ready to leverage Symfony - is less than 15 files... if you don't count things like .gitignore. Lean and mean.

Checking Requirements

Let's hook up a web server to our app and see it in action! First, make sure your computer has everything Symfony needs by running:

symfony check:req

For check requirements. We're good - but if you have any issues and need help fixing them, let us know in the comments.

Starting the PHP Web Server

To actually get the project running, look back in PhpStorm. We're going to talk more about each directory soon. But the first thing you need to know is that the public/ directory is the "document root". This means that you need to point your web server - like Apache or Nginx - at this directory. Symfony has docs on how to do that.

But! To keep life simple, instead of setting up a real server on our local machine, we can use PHP's built-in web server. At the root of your project, run:

php -S -t public/

As soon as we do that, we can spin back over to our browser and go to http://localhost:8000 to find... Welcome to Symfony 5! Ooh, fancy!

Next: as easy as it was to run that PHP web server, I'm going to show you an even better option for local development. Then we'll get to know the significance of the directories in our new app and make sure that we have a few plugins installed in PhpStorm... which... make working with Symfony an absolute pleasure.