Console Commands

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Console Commands

The Symfony framework provides lots of commands through the bin/console script (e.g. the well-known bin/console cache:clear command). These commands are created with the Console component. You can also use it to create your own commands.

Running Commands

Each Symfony application comes with a large set of commands. You can use the list command to view all available commands in the application:

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$ php bin/console list
...

Available commands:
  about                                      Display information about the current project
  completion                                 Dump the shell completion script
  help                                       Display help for a command
  list                                       List commands
 assets
  assets:install                             Install bundle's web assets under a public directory
 cache
  cache:clear                                Clear the cache
...

If you find the command you need, you can run it with the --help option to view the command's documentation:

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$ php bin/console assets:install --help

APP_ENV & APP_DEBUG

Console commands run in the environment defined in the APP_ENV variable of the .env file, which is dev by default. It also reads the APP_DEBUG value to turn "debug" mode on or off (it defaults to 1, which is on).

To run the command in another environment or debug mode, edit the value of APP_ENV and APP_DEBUG. You can also define this env vars when running the command, for instance:

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# clears the cache for the prod environment
$ APP_ENV=prod php bin/console cache:clear

Console Completion

6.1

Console completion for Fish was introduced in Symfony 6.1.

If you are using the Bash or Fish shell, you can install Symfony's completion script to get auto completion when typing commands in the terminal. All commands support name and option completion, and some can even complete values.

First, you have to install the completion script once. Run bin/console completion --help for the installation instructions for your shell.

Note

When using Bash, make sure you installed and setup the "bash completion" package for your OS (typically named bash-completion).

After installing and restarting your terminal, you're all set to use completion (by default, by pressing the Tab key).

Tip

Many PHP tools are built using the Symfony Console component (e.g. Composer, PHPstan and Behat). If they are using version 5.4 or higher, you can also install their completion script to enable console completion:

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$ php vendor/bin/phpstan completion --help
$ composer completion --help

Creating a Command

Commands are defined in classes extending Command. For example, you may want a command to create a user:

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// src/Command/CreateUserCommand.php
namespace App\Command;

use Symfony\Component\Console\Attribute\AsCommand;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Input\InputInterface;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Output\OutputInterface;

// the name of the command is what users type after "php bin/console"
#[AsCommand(name: 'app:create-user')]
class CreateUserCommand extends Command
{
    protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
    {
        // ... put here the code to create the user

        // this method must return an integer number with the "exit status code"
        // of the command. You can also use these constants to make code more readable

        // return this if there was no problem running the command
        // (it's equivalent to returning int(0))
        return Command::SUCCESS;

        // or return this if some error happened during the execution
        // (it's equivalent to returning int(1))
        // return Command::FAILURE;

        // or return this to indicate incorrect command usage; e.g. invalid options
        // or missing arguments (it's equivalent to returning int(2))
        // return Command::INVALID
    }
}

Configuring the Command

You can optionally define a description, help message and the input options and arguments by overriding the configure() method:

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// src/Command/CreateUserCommand.php

// ...
class CreateUserCommand extends Command
{
    // the command description shown when running "php bin/console list"
    protected static $defaultDescription = 'Creates a new user.';

    // ...
    protected function configure(): void
    {
        $this
            // the command help shown when running the command with the "--help" option
            ->setHelp('This command allows you to create a user...')
        ;
    }
}

Tip

Defining the $defaultDescription static property instead of using the setDescription() method allows to get the command description without instantiating its class. This makes the php bin/console list command run much faster.

If you want to always run the list command fast, add the --short option to it (php bin/console list --short). This will avoid instantiating command classes, but it won't show any description for commands that use the setDescription() method instead of the static property.

The configure() method is called automatically at the end of the command constructor. If your command defines its own constructor, set the properties first and then call to the parent constructor, to make those properties available in the configure() method:

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// ...
use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Input\InputArgument;

class CreateUserCommand extends Command
{
    // ...

    public function __construct(bool $requirePassword = false)
    {
        // best practices recommend to call the parent constructor first and
        // then set your own properties. That wouldn't work in this case
        // because configure() needs the properties set in this constructor
        $this->requirePassword = $requirePassword;

        parent::__construct();
    }

    protected function configure(): void
    {
        $this
            // ...
            ->addArgument('password', $this->requirePassword ? InputArgument::REQUIRED : InputArgument::OPTIONAL, 'User password')
        ;
    }
}

Registering the Command

In PHP 8 and newer versions, you can register the command by adding the AsCommand attribute to it:

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// src/Command/CreateUserCommand.php
namespace App\Command;

use Symfony\Component\Console\Attribute\AsCommand;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;

// the "name" and "description" arguments of AsCommand replace the
// static $defaultName and $defaultDescription properties
#[AsCommand(
    name: 'app:create-user',
    description: 'Creates a new user.',
    hidden: false,
    aliases: ['app:add-user']
)]
class CreateUserCommand extends Command
{
    // ...
}

If you can't use PHP attributes, register the command as a service and tag it with the console.command tag. If you're using the default services.yaml configuration, this is already done for you, thanks to autoconfiguration.

Running the Command

After configuring and registering the command, you can run it in the terminal:

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$ php bin/console app:create-user

As you might expect, this command will do nothing as you didn't write any logic yet. Add your own logic inside the execute() method.

Console Output

The execute() method has access to the output stream to write messages to the console:

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// ...
protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
{
    // outputs multiple lines to the console (adding "\n" at the end of each line)
    $output->writeln([
        'User Creator',
        '============',
        '',
    ]);

    // the value returned by someMethod() can be an iterator (https://secure.php.net/iterator)
    // that generates and returns the messages with the 'yield' PHP keyword
    $output->writeln($this->someMethod());

    // outputs a message followed by a "\n"
    $output->writeln('Whoa!');

    // outputs a message without adding a "\n" at the end of the line
    $output->write('You are about to ');
    $output->write('create a user.');

    return Command::SUCCESS;
}

Now, try executing the command:

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$ php bin/console app:create-user
User Creator
============

Whoa!
You are about to create a user.

Output Sections

The regular console output can be divided into multiple independent regions called "output sections". Create one or more of these sections when you need to clear and overwrite the output information.

Sections are created with the ConsoleOutput::section() method, which returns an instance of ConsoleSectionOutput:

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// ...
use Symfony\Component\Console\Output\ConsoleOutputInterface;

class MyCommand extends Command
{
    protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
    {
        if (!$output instanceof ConsoleOutputInterface) {
            throw new \LogicException('This command accepts only an instance of "ConsoleOutputInterface".');
        }

        $section1 = $output->section();
        $section2 = $output->section();

        $section1->writeln('Hello');
        $section2->writeln('World!');
        // Output displays "Hello\nWorld!\n"

        // overwrite() replaces all the existing section contents with the given content
        $section1->overwrite('Goodbye');
        // Output now displays "Goodbye\nWorld!\n"

        // clear() deletes all the section contents...
        $section2->clear();
        // Output now displays "Goodbye\n"

        // ...but you can also delete a given number of lines
        // (this example deletes the last two lines of the section)
        $section1->clear(2);
        // Output is now completely empty!

        return Command::SUCCESS;
    }
}

Note

A new line is appended automatically when displaying information in a section.

Output sections let you manipulate the Console output in advanced ways, such as displaying multiple progress bars which are updated independently and appending rows to tables that have already been rendered.

Console Input

Use input options or arguments to pass information to the command:

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use Symfony\Component\Console\Input\InputArgument;

// ...
protected function configure(): void
{
    $this
        // configure an argument
        ->addArgument('username', InputArgument::REQUIRED, 'The username of the user.')
        // ...
    ;
}

// ...
public function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
{
    $output->writeln([
        'User Creator',
        '============',
        '',
    ]);

    // retrieve the argument value using getArgument()
    $output->writeln('Username: '.$input->getArgument('username'));

    return Command::SUCCESS;
}

Now, you can pass the username to the command:

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$ php bin/console app:create-user Wouter
User Creator
============

Username: Wouter

See also

Read Console Input (Arguments & Options) for more information about console options and arguments.

Getting Services from the Service Container

To actually create a new user, the command has to access some services. Since your command is already registered as a service, you can use normal dependency injection. Imagine you have a App\Service\UserManager service that you want to access:

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// ...
use App\Service\UserManager;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;

class CreateUserCommand extends Command
{
    private $userManager;

    public function __construct(UserManager $userManager)
    {
        $this->userManager = $userManager;

        parent::__construct();
    }

    // ...

    protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output): int
    {
        // ...

        $this->userManager->create($input->getArgument('username'));

        $output->writeln('User successfully generated!');

        return Command::SUCCESS;
    }
}

Command Lifecycle

Commands have three lifecycle methods that are invoked when running the command:

initialize() (optional)
This method is executed before the interact() and the execute() methods. Its main purpose is to initialize variables used in the rest of the command methods.
interact() (optional)
This method is executed after initialize() and before execute(). Its purpose is to check if some of the options/arguments are missing and interactively ask the user for those values. This is the last place where you can ask for missing options/arguments. After this command, missing options/arguments will result in an error.
execute() (required)
This method is executed after interact() and initialize(). It contains the logic you want the command to execute and it must return an integer which will be used as the command exit status.

Testing Commands

Symfony provides several tools to help you test your commands. The most useful one is the CommandTester class. It uses special input and output classes to ease testing without a real console:

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// tests/Command/CreateUserCommandTest.php
namespace App\Tests\Command;

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Console\Application;
use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Test\KernelTestCase;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Tester\CommandTester;

class CreateUserCommandTest extends KernelTestCase
{
    public function testExecute()
    {
        $kernel = self::bootKernel();
        $application = new Application($kernel);

        $command = $application->find('app:create-user');
        $commandTester = new CommandTester($command);
        $commandTester->execute([
            // pass arguments to the helper
            'username' => 'Wouter',

            // prefix the key with two dashes when passing options,
            // e.g: '--some-option' => 'option_value',
        ]);

        $commandTester->assertCommandIsSuccessful();

        // the output of the command in the console
        $output = $commandTester->getDisplay();
        $this->assertStringContainsString('Username: Wouter', $output);

        // ...
    }
}

If you are using a single-command application, call setAutoExit(false) on it to get the command result in CommandTester.

Tip

You can also test a whole console application by using ApplicationTester.

Caution

When testing commands using the CommandTester class, console events are not dispatched. If you need to test those events, use the ApplicationTester instead.

Caution

When testing commands using the ApplicationTester class, don't forget to disable the auto exit flag:

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$application = new Application();
$application->setAutoExit(false);

$tester = new ApplicationTester($application);

Caution

When testing InputOption::VALUE_NONE command options, you must pass an empty value to them:

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$commandTester = new CommandTester($command);
$commandTester->execute(['--some-option' => '']);

Note

When using the Console component in a standalone project, use Application and extend the normal \PHPUnit\Framework\TestCase.

Logging Command Errors

Whenever an exception is thrown while running commands, Symfony adds a log message for it including the entire failing command. In addition, Symfony registers an event subscriber to listen to the ConsoleEvents::TERMINATE event and adds a log message whenever a command doesn't finish with the 0 exit status.

Learn More

The console component also contains a set of "helpers" - different small tools capable of helping you with different tasks:

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