Re-doing things with Symfony2

At the end I realized I should re-write this website with the latest ( not stable ) version of my favourite framework: Symfony2.

I downloaded the PR7 and started converting the old Sf1.x application to Symfony2: since I had really cool impressions, and since I made a few mistakes, I want to share a few considerations.

What’s the stack?

The Symfony2 version is the PR7, as I said, while I used, for the first time, Twig.

I mapped a single entity, Content, through Doctrine2.

The backend is still the one made with symfony 1.4, since I had no reason at all to spend time on a backend without the admin generator.

I heavily used the HTTP caching headers: that’s basically why I decided to move this site to Symfony2; I will monitor the stats of this VPS in order to get some conclusions in a few days.

Twig

That’s amazing.

Templates become declarative is a second.

Something we will definitely appreciate are the filters and the tests..

The filters are a way to format a variable:

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article.publishedDate | date

and they become powerful when you think that, behind the scenes, Twig is purely OO, so you can plug it with stuff like:

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article.title | slug

The testers are another really cool thing.

As far as I undertood, they follow a is statement:

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if article.id is odd

Again, really powerful when you think at:

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{% if author.country is european %}
...
{% if article.date is summer %} 

However, I’ve made a few mistakes with the templates, because I didn’t find a way to avoid the duplication of declaring the metatags in every single template.

Controllers

I practically have a single controller, which handles the whole blog.

Since I wanted to deploy the blog as faster as I could, I decided to have fat controllers without using the repository pattern, which is the one we will use for high-value code.

Mapping your routes with the annotations, well, that is awesome: since the routing gets compiled down into the cache the overhead is really small.

Be aware that if you have multiple parameters in the route, you must specify the requirements, otherwise mess will come.

I wrote tons of LoCs in the controller, but with the annotations you should be able to let the controller only fetch stuff from the DB (without even specifying the template rendering LoCs in PHP).

Querying the database

The fact that you can use N placeholders for the query variables is really good, and the whole API hasn’t changed so much from Doctrine 1.2.

Conclusions

I’ve boiled a few spaghetti on GitHub this weekend, but I’m pretty satisfied that I know where I failed and why ( were we speaking about high-value code? ;–) ).

Symfony2 seems amazing, as I said looking at the DIC.

Other conclusions, dealing with the HTTP cache and server resources, will come in a few days…

Ah, wait!

If you find that something is broken, tell me in the comments or wherever!

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