Autowired Controllers as Services for Lazy People

Found a typo? Edit me
This post was updated at May 2017 with fresh know-how.
What is new?

This post is valid only up to Symfony 3.2.

Since Symfony 3.3 you can use PSR4-based service discovery and registration. It does pretty much the same thing - registers autowired controllers (and more) - and it has native support in Symfony.

I recommend using it instead!

With new autowiring feature in Symfony 2.8+, it is now easier to manage dependencies for services. But what about for controllers? Unfortunately, there are 3 annoying steps you have to do. Today I will show you, how to reduce them to 0.

Disclaimer: Why even use controllers as services?

The goal of this article is not to discuss pro and cons of "controller as service" (further CAS) approach. If you haven't decided yet to use CAS, I recommend checking these articles:

But now, back to the topic.

Autowire service? Easy!

With autowire feature, managing dependencies for services is now as simple as:

        class: PostPublisher
        autowire: true # all you got to do is add this line

Autowire controller? Hell!

Managing dependencies for controllers in same way is complicated. To apply the same effect, you have to make following 3 steps:

  1. Register controller manually as service to the config

    # app/config/services.yml
        post_controller: # you have to use this name everywhere, so pick it wisely
            class: PostController
            autowire: true
  2. Add @Route annotation with service name

    // src/AppBundle/Controller/PostController.php
    namespace AppBundle\Controller\PostController;
    use Sensio\Bundle\FrameworkExtraBundle\Configuration\Route;
     * @Route(service="post_controller") # watch for typo here!
    class PostController
        public function listAction()

    or route using service name:

    # app/config/routing.yml
        path: /post-list
            _controller: post_controller:listAction
            # and not bundle like approach
            # _controller: AppBundle:Post:list

    This difference is so difficult to spot, that it created question on StackOverflow.

  3. Finally, you have to use service name and single colon for referring:

    // any controller

There is nice answer on StackOverflow explaining with more details.

This process is exhausting already and difficult to remember.

Did you make it? Here comes much deeper hell

Even if you do manage to finish these steps, these issues will appear:

Is there some way back from hell to heaven?

Author of autowiring feature and Symfony core contributor Kévin Dunglas sees similar problem and proposes solution with ADR pattern. I think it's the right direction, but it bends controllers too much.

But the goal is to keep controllers' code without touching.

Autowiring in Controllers

This is wheremade Symplify\ControllerAutowire bundle helps. It solves problems mentioned above.

How does it work?

Let's try it together.

1. Install package

composer require symplify/controller-autowire

2. Register bundle

// app/AppKernel.php
class AppKernel extends Kernel
    public function registerBundles()
        $bundles = [
            new Symplify\ControllerAutowire\SymplifyControllerAutowireBundle(),
            // ...

3. Add some dependency for your controller via constructor

// src/AppBundle/Controller/DefaultController.php
namespace AppBundle\Controller;

use Sensio\Bundle\FrameworkExtraBundle\Configuration\Route;
use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\Controller;
use Symfony\Component\EventDispatcher\EventDispatcherInterface;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;

class DefaultController extends Controller
     * @var EventDispatcherInterface
    private $eventDispatcher;

    public function __construct(EventDispatcherInterface $eventDispatcher)
        $this->eventDispatcher = $eventDispatcher;

     * @Route("/", name="homepage")
    public function indexAction(Request $request)

        return $this->render('default/index.html.twig', [
            // ...

And that's it!

For further use, just check Readme for Symplify/ControllerAutowire.

Happy coding!

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