How to deploy a Symfony2 application

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How to deploy a Symfony2 application

Note

Deploying can be a complex and varied task depending on your setup and needs. This entry doesn't try to explain everything, but rather offers the most common requirements and ideas for deployment.

Symfony2 Deployment Basics

The typical steps taken while deploying a Symfony2 application include:

  1. Upload your modified code to the live server;
  2. Update your vendor dependencies (typically done via Composer, and may be done before uploading);
  3. Running database migrations or similar tasks to update any changed data structures;
  4. Clearing (and perhaps more importantly, warming up) your cache.

A deployment may also include other things, such as:

  • Tagging a particular version of your code as a release in your source control repository;
  • Creating a temporary staging area to build your updated setup "offline";
  • Running any tests available to ensure code and/or server stability;
  • Removal of any unnecessary files from web to keep your production environment clean;
  • Clearing of external cache systems (like Memcached or Redis).

How to deploy a Symfony2 application

There are several ways you can deploy a Symfony2 application.

Let's start with a few basic deployment strategies and build up from there.

Basic File Transfer

The most basic way of deploying an application is copying the files manually via ftp/scp (or similar method). This has its disadvantages as you lack control over the system as the upgrade progresses. This method also requires you to take some manual steps after transferring the files (see Common Post-Deployment Tasks)

Using Source Control

If you're using source control (e.g. git or svn), you can simplify by having your live installation also be a copy of your repository. When you're ready to upgrade it is as simple as fetching the latest updates from your source control system.

This makes updating your files easier, but you still need to worry about manually taking other steps (see Common Post-Deployment Tasks).

Using Build scripts and other Tools

There are also high-quality tools to help ease the pain of deployment. There are even a few tools which have been specifically tailored to the requirements of Symfony2, and which take special care to ensure that everything before, during, and after a deployment has gone correctly.

See The Tools for a list of tools that can help with deployment.

Common Post-Deployment Tasks

After deploying your actual source code, there are a number of common things you'll need to do:

A) Configure your app/config/parameters.yml file

This file should be customized on each system. The method you use to deploy your source code should not deploy this file. Instead, you should set it up manually (or via some build process) on your server(s).

B) Update your vendors

Your vendors can be updated before transferring your source code (i.e. update the vendor/ directory, then transfer that with your source code) or afterwards on the server. Either way, just update your vendors as your normally do:

1
$ php composer.phar install --optimize-autoloader

Tip

The --optimize-autoloader flag makes Composer's autoloader more performant by building a "class map".

C) Clear your Symfony cache

Make sure you clear (and warm-up) your Symfony cache:

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$ php app/console cache:clear --env=prod --no-debug

D) Dump your Assetic assets

If you're using Assetic, you'll also want to dump your assets:

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$ php app/console assetic:dump --env=prod --no-debug

E) Other things!

There may be lots of other things that you need to do, depending on your setup:

  • Running any database migrations
  • Clearing your APC cache
  • Running assets:install (taken care of already in composer.phar install)
  • Add/edit CRON jobs
  • Pushing assets to a CDN
  • ...

Application Lifecycle: Continuous Integration, QA, etc

While this entry covers the technical details of deploying, the full lifecycle of taking code from development up to production may have a lot more steps (think deploying to staging, QA, running tests, etc).

The use of staging, testing, QA, continuous integration, database migrations and the capability to roll back in case of failure are all strongly advised. There are simple and more complex tools and one can make the deployment as easy (or sophisticated) as your environment requires.

Don't forget that deploying your application also involves updating any dependency (typically via Composer), migrating your database, clearing your cache and other potential things like pushing assets to a CDN (see Common Post-Deployment Tasks).

The Tools

Capifony:

This tool provides a specialized set of tools on top of Capistrano, tailored specifically to symfony and Symfony2 projects.

sf2debpkg:

This tool helps you build a native Debian package for your Symfony2 project.

Magallanes:

This Capistrano-like deployment tool is built in PHP, and may be easier for PHP developers to extend for their needs.

Bundles:

There are many bundles that add deployment features directly into your Symfony2 console.

Basic scripting:

You can of course use shell, Ant, or any other build tool to script the deploying of your project.

Platform as a Service Providers:

PaaS is a relatively new way to deploy your application. Typically a PaaS will use a single configuration file in your project's root directory to determine how to build an environment on the fly that supports your software. One provider with confirmed Symfony2 support is PagodaBox.

Tip

Looking for more? Talk to the community on the Symfony IRC channel #symfony (on freenode) for more information.


This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.