Create command line php applications using symfony/console

2.2.0 2024-02-23 17:10 UTC


Create command line php applications using symfony/console.
This is basically a fork of symfony/console which does things a little differently and adds some extra features.
Most of the features are useful when running commands in a background context (such as via crontab).

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Loading Commands

Commands can be automatically created from classes (meaning you don't need to call setName() inside your command class) using the following criteria:

  • Files/classes must be named using CamelCase and must end in "Command" (with files having the .php extension)
  • Each uppercase character will be converted to lowercase and preceded by a hyphen
  • Directories will represent namespaces and each separater will be replaced with a colon
    Using the example below, the file src/commands/Category/Topic/RunCommand.php will create a command called category:topic:run

Of course, they can still be added the symfony way


We use league/climate for terminal output, whilst also maintaining support for the symfony way.
So all of the following is possible:

$output->blue()->out("Blue? Wow!");
$output->writeln("<error>I am a symfony/console error</error>");
$output->error("I am a league/climate error");

Time Limit Commands

Commands can limit how long they are run for, and end in a controlled way when the limit is reached.
Inside your command's class you can call the timeout() method and pass the number of seconds your command should run for.

class LimitedCommand extends \duncan3dc\Console\Command
    protected function execute(InputInterface $input, OutputInterface $output)
        while (true) {
            # If the command has been running for more than 10 minutes then end now
            if ($this->timeout(60 * 10)) {

This behaviour can be overridden by passing the --no-time-limit when running the application, this will cause the timeout() method to always return false

Calling An Existing Command

The symfony way of calling an existing command can be a little long-winded, with steps that seem unnecessary (eg, specifying the command name twice).
The runCommand() method provides a simplified way of doing this (using the example from the symfony docs):

$returnCode = $this->getApplication()->runCommand("demo:greet", [
    "name"      =>  "Fabien",
    "--yell"    =>  true,
], $input, $output);

This also ensures any command event listeners that have been registered are called, which symfony does not do

Command Locking

All commands are automatically locked to prevent the same command being run simultaneously on the same host.
You can prevent particular commands from locking using the doNotLock() method:

protected function configure()
        ->setDescription("This command can run as many times as it likes, whether the previous run has finished or not");

When a command cannot run it will exit with status 201, represented by the class constant Application::STATUS_LOCKED

Tab Completion

Tab completion is provided by stecman/symfony-console-completion and instructions on setting it up for your application can be found in the README.md of that repository.

Namespace Listing

When you are entering commands in completion mode, it can often be useful to view the list of available commands in the namespace.
For example you might type cat then press tab which would complete the namespace, and the namespace separator:

:~$ console category:

But when you press tab again, you might be presented with a list of commands (or sub-namespaces) you don't entirely recognise. At this point the symfony way would be to delete the colon, run your cursor back to before your namespace, and type list:

:~$ console list category

Then having identified the command you need from the listing you would then need to type what you had earlier, before entering the command you require:

:~$ console category:

To make this use case easier, we have made running a command with a trailing colon, an alias for the list command shown above, so you can actually run:

:~$ console category:

Which will list all your available commands, then you can press the up arrow to retrieve that same command from your shell's history and carry on entering the command name, much quicker

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