How to Work with Scopes

How to Work with Scopes


The "container scopes" concept explained in this article has been deprecated in Symfony 2.8 and it will be removed in Symfony 3.0.

This article is all about scopes, a somewhat advanced topic related to the Service Container. If you've ever gotten an error mentioning "scopes" when creating services, then this article is for you.


If you are trying to inject the request service, the simple solution is to inject the request_stack service instead and access the current Request by calling the getCurrentRequest() method (see Injecting the Request). The rest of this entry talks about scopes in a theoretical and more advanced way. If you're dealing with scopes for the request service, simply inject request_stack.

Understanding Scopes

The scope of a service controls how long an instance of a service is used by the container. The DependencyInjection component provides two generic scopes:

container (the default one):
The same instance is used each time you ask for it from this container.
A new instance is created each time you ask for the service.

The ContainerAwareHttpKernel also defines a third scope: request. This scope is tied to the request, meaning a new instance is created for each subrequest and is unavailable outside the request (for instance in the CLI).

An Example: Client Scope

Other than the request service (which has a simple solution, see the above note), no services in the default Symfony container belong to any scope other than container and prototype. But for the purposes of this article, imagine there is another scope client and a service client_configuration that belongs to it. This is not a common situation, but the idea is that you may enter and exit multiple client scopes during a request, and each has its own client_configuration service.

Scopes add a constraint on the dependencies of a service: a service cannot depend on services from a narrower scope. For example, if you create a generic my_foo service, but try to inject the client_configuration service, you will receive a ScopeWideningInjectionException when compiling the container. Read the sidebar below for more details.

Imagine you've configured a my_mailer service. You haven't configured the scope of the service, so it defaults to container. In other words, every time you ask the container for the my_mailer service, you get the same object back. This is usually how you want your services to work.

Imagine, however, that you need the client_configuration service in your my_mailer service, maybe because you're reading some details from it, such as what the "sender" address should be. You add it as a constructor argument. There are several reasons why this presents a problem:

  • When requesting my_mailer, an instance of my_mailer (called MailerA here) is created and the client_configuration service ( called ConfigurationA here) is passed to it. Life is good!

  • Your application now needs to do something with another client, and you've designed your application in such a way that you handle this by entering a new client_configuration scope and setting a new client_configuration service into the container. Call this ConfigurationB.

  • Somewhere in your application, you once again ask for the my_mailer service. Since your service is in the container scope, the same instance (MailerA) is just re-used. But here's the problem: the MailerA instance still contains the old ConfigurationA object, which is now not the correct configuration object to have (ConfigurationB is now the current client_configuration service). This is subtle, but the mis-match could cause major problems, which is why it's not allowed.

    So, that's the reason why scopes exist, and how they can cause problems. Keep reading to find out the common solutions.


A service can of course depend on a service from a wider scope without any issue.

Using a Service from a Narrower Scope

There are two solutions to the scope problem:

  • A) Put your service in the same scope as the dependency (or a narrower one). If you depend on the client_configuration service, this means putting your new service in the client scope (see A) Changing the Scope of your Service);
  • B) Pass the entire container to your service and retrieve your dependency from the container each time you need it to be sure you have the right instance -- your service can live in the default container scope (see B) Passing the Container as a Dependency of your Service).

Each scenario is detailed in the following sections.


Prior to Symfony 2.7, there was another alternative based on synchronized services. However, these kind of services have been deprecated starting from Symfony 2.7.

A) Changing the Scope of your Service

Changing the scope of a service should be done in its definition. This example assumes that the Mailer class has a __construct function whose first argument is the ClientConfiguration object:

B) Passing the Container as a Dependency of your Service

Setting the scope to a narrower one is not always possible (for instance, a twig extension must be in the container scope as the Twig environment needs it as a dependency). In these cases, you can pass the entire container into your service:

// src/AppBundle/Mail/Mailer.php
namespace AppBundle\Mail;

use Symfony\Component\DependencyInjection\ContainerInterface;

class Mailer
    protected $container;

    public function __construct(ContainerInterface $container)
        $this->container = $container;

    public function sendEmail()
        $request = $this->container->get('client_configuration');
        // ... do something using the client configuration here


Take care not to store the client configuration in a property of the object for a future call of the service as it would cause the same issue described in the first section (except that Symfony cannot detect that you are wrong).

The service configuration for this class would look something like this:


Injecting the whole container into a service is generally not a good idea (only inject what you need).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License .