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How to use Propel 1.3

by Carl Vondrick

Starting with symfony 1.1, it is now possible to easily use Propel 1.3 in your project to take advantage of its speed improvements, nested set implementation, object instance pooling, among others. Most importantly, Propel 1.3 uses PDO instead of Creole as the DBAL, offering a significant performance boost.

Installing Propel 1.3 only takes a few minutes. All you must do is install a plugin and modify two configuration files. Read on to learn how.

  • Install the Propel 1.3 plugin from the symfony repository:

    $ cd /path/to/project/root/
    $ svn co plugins/sfPropelPlugin
  • Propel 1.3 uses a new connection format and so you must update databases.yml accordingly. Change config/databases.yml to match the following, making your own necessary changes:

          classname: DebugPDO
        class: sfPropelDatabase
          dsn: mysql:dbname=mydb;host=localhost 
          username: username
          password: password
          encoding: utf8
          persistent: true
          pooling: false
          classname: PropelPDO

    To upgrade your DSN, see the PDO manual.

  • We must update propel.ini to match the same configuration. Look for the 3 lines at the beginning of config/propel.ini and delete them:

    propel.database            = mysql
    propel.database.createUrl  = mysql://[email protected]/
    propel.database.url        = mysql://[email protected]/myproject

    In their place, insert the following:

    propel.database            = mysql
    propel.database.driver     = mysql
    propel.database.createUrl  = mysql://localhost/
    propel.database.url        = mysql:dbname=mydb;host=localhost
    propel.database.user       = username
    propel.database.password   = password
    propel.database.encoding   = utf8

    Be sure that propel.database.url matches the DSN in step 2.

  • Clear symfony's internal cache:

    $ symfony cache:clear
  • Propel 1.3 has an improved object model, so we must rebuild the models:

    $ symfony propel:build-model

If this is a new project, congratulations you have just setup Propel 1.3! The schema.yml syntax is exactly the same as Propel 1.2. The new API is not radically different; in fact, for the most part, the API is exactly the same.

If you are upgrading a project, you might still have a little bit of work ahead of you, but you should find that most of your project will work. If you use transactions or Creole directly in your code, you will have to manually upgrade to PDO. The Propel project has a helpful upgrade guide that guides you through the upgrade process. Even if this is a new project, you might find it helpful to glance over it to learn about all the new features.

symfony 1.1 decouples its core systems, so it couldn't be easier to use any ORM layer you want. If Propel doesn't cut it for you, try sfDoctrinePlugin, which is a alternative to Propel and matches the performance of Propel 1.3. Thanks to symfony 1.1, developers can enjoy Propel 1.3 for improved performance or Propel 1.2 if they require rock solid stability.