When Symfony 1.3 & 1.4 were released, little attention was given to a new feature that had tremendous potential: the installer. By adding –installer=installFile.php is possible to execute custom PHP code when creating a new symfony project.

So when I came across this I had an idea that could save us all some time. Every time we want to try some thing quick, do a prototype, test a plugin or simply start a new application, we create a new symfony project. The common workflow once the project is created is to add a new “virtual” hostname to the hosts file so we can reach the project through the browser, then add a virtual host to the Apache configuration, so the “virtual” hostname points to the correct web directory of the project, etc… These steps are repetitive and consume a bit of time and quite frankly I’d love to automate this whole thing. For that I created the symfony Web Development Environment Installer (also known as project codename: Swedein).

The installer will ask you a series of questions: ie. IP address, hostname, location of Apache installation. It can also locate the Apache configuration by looking for it in common places. Then it goes ahead and adds a line to the hosts file, adds the virtual host block to Apache’s configuration and restarts Apache. In a matter of seconds you should be ready to go.


To run the installer, you have a couple of options:

a) Download the installer file, rename it to SymWebDevInstaller.php and run:

symfony generate:project myproject --installer=path/to/SymWebDevInstaller.php

b) If you have support for http URLs in your PHP you can simply run:

symfony generate:project myproject --installer=http://labs.servergrove.com/SymWebDevInstaller/SymWebDevInstaller.php

Note: There is a bug in the generate:project task that prevents URLs from being used with the –installer option. This should be fixed soon.

This is being tested in:

  • Windows XP with Zend Server CE
  • Mac OS X with Zend Server CE
  • CentOS Linux
  • Ubuntu Linux

In Mac OS and Linux, the script will need to have permissions to update the hosts file and the Apache configuration. Make sure your user has permissions or use sudo to execute the installer. Restarting Apache is supported on Linux only. Other OSes coming soon.

We are looking for help to include and test in other types of installations and to add other improvements the community might think about. You can either check out the github repository where we can receive patches or send it to us and we will update it. We look forward to your feedback.