The symfony team has just completed the first release of the 1.3 branch: 1.3.0 alpha 1. We have been working on and with this branch for some time, and are very excited about the enhancements it includes. This is an alpha release, which means it is not stable, but if you'd like to check it out or help us test, please download a copy and take it for a spin.

Here are some of the highlights of what's new in symfony 1.3.


When we queried the community for feedback on what we should work on for symfony 1.3, performance was at the top of this list. We've taken this feedback to heart and have made significant improvements.

A large portion of the routing system was rewritten to facilitate matching the incoming URL to a route much faster.

We've also added a project:optimize task that caches a snapshot of your project's directory structure, drastically reducing the number read operations that go to the filesystem.

These optimizations have grown out of feedback based in users' projects. If you have additional feedback, on these optimizations or on other areas of symfony that could use some optimization love, please send us specifics.


Doctrine is now the default ORM for symfony. We still support Propel, of course, but recommend you start new projects with Doctrine.


The Swift Mailer project, which Fabien recently took over as Lead Developer, is bundled with symfony 1.3 and integrated into the framework. You can now take advantage of a flexible mailer from inside symfony, without adding any custom code.


A number of enhancements were made to the forms framework, all geared toward making it easier to use and easier to extend. All form classes generated by your ORM now notify events and extend a common stub class located in your project, making them easy to extend for your project, or from a plugin. A fluent interface has also been added, facilitating the creation of forms "on the fly."

Web debug panels

Two new debug panels have been added. A "view" panel, and a "mailer" one. The view one lists the templates and template partials that compose the current page, as well as all the variables that are passed to them. Each variable is described and, if it's an object, a link is provided to open it's class file in your favorite text editor. We hope the new view panel will give non-symfony developers the tools they need to work productively in symfony's view layer without too much hand-holding.

Improving your workflow

A number of enhancements have been made to increase your efficiency as a symfony developer. A new autoloader has been added to the development environment that knows when changes are made, so you no longer have to run symfony cc after adding a new class. Unit and functional tests have been improved for greater efficiency when writing and running them, and running tests from plugins is now natively supported.

These are just some of the improvements we've made for symfony 1.3, and we're very happy to be releasing this alpha so you can get a taste for the rest.

If you want to read more about this new version, read the "What's new?" tutorial. Upgrading from 1.2 is very easy thanks to the project:upgrade task and the "Upgrade" tutorial.

We are working hard to update the documentation, and the Jobeet tutorial and the reference guide should be available soon.

We need your help to try out this new version and report any problem you might find.