I just created a new Symfony 2.5 project with a regular composer command:

php composer.phar create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition path/ 2.5.0

The Terminal asks me:

Would you like to use Symfony 3 directory structure?

What is this Symfony 3 directory structure? I have never seen it before... Is it new since 2.5?

What are the benefits to using it?

Is there any way to replicate this directory structure?


I want to use the new Symfony 3 directory structure, but I don't see the question?

The question Would you like to use Symfony 3 directory structure? has been removed when creating a new project due to the confusion it caused. You can force the use of the directory structure using the following:

If you prefer the new structure, you can add the environment variable SENSIOLABS_ENABLE_NEW_DIRECTORY_STRUCTURE to your .bashrc or .bash_profile like so:

Make all future projects ask for the new structure

# .bash_profile
# ALL new composer installs will ask `Would you like to use the new Symfony3 strucure?`

Make ONLY THIS project ask if we want to use the new structure.

If you wanted it for a particular project only (a one off), you can use:

SENSIOLABS_ENABLE_NEW_DIRECTORY_STRUCTURE=true composer create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition path/ "2.5.*"

If the environment variable SENSIOLABS_ENABLE_NEW_DIRECTORY_STRUCTURE is set and set to true, composer will ask if you want to use the new directory structure.

Continue reading below for all the changes between the Symfony2 and Symfony3 directory structure.

What is the new Symfony 3 directory structure?

(and how does it effect me & my workflow)

I looked into this by creating 2 projects, one with symfony-2.5.0 directory structure, one with symfony-3 (directory structure change only).

Make one of each project:

# say `N` to `Would you like to use Symfony 3 directory structure?`
$ composer create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition symfony-2.5.0/ 2.5.0

# say `Y` to `Would you like to use Symfony 3 directory structure?`
$ composer create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition symfony-3/ 2.5.0

So now we have the 2 different directories we want to compare.

Find the difference

You can diff between the 2 directories using:

$ diff -rq symfony-2.5.0/ symfony-3/
/** (Returned from the diff)
Files symfony-2.5.0/.gitignore and symfony-3/.gitignore differ
Files symfony-2.5.0/.travis.yml and symfony-3/.travis.yml differ
Only in symfony-2.5.0/app: bootstrap.php.cache
Only in symfony-2.5.0/app: cache
Only in symfony-2.5.0/app: console
Only in symfony-2.5.0/app: logs
Only in symfony-2.5.0/app: phpunit.xml.dist
Only in symfony-3/bin: console
Only in symfony-3/bin: symfony_requirements
Files symfony-2.5.0/composer.json and symfony-3/composer.json differ
Only in symfony-3/: phpunit.xml.dist
Only in symfony-3/: var
Files symfony-2.5.0/vendor/autoload.php and symfony-3/vendor/autoload.php differ
Files symfony-2.5.0/vendor/composer/autoload_real.php and symfony-3/vendor/composer/autoload_real.php differ
Files symfony-2.5.0/web/app.php and symfony-3/web/app.php differ
Files symfony-2.5.0/web/app_dev.php and symfony-3/web/app_dev.php differ

This shows the files that differ in the 2 versions.

Breakdown of diff

Here's a breakdown of everything in the diff.

# These files still exist in both versions (with different content)

# The following files have been removed from 2.5.0
# {RemovedFile2.5}      |  {ReplacedWith3.0}
app/cache               |  var/cache
app/logs                |  var/log
app/bootstrap.php.cache |  var/bootstrap.php.cache
app/console             |  bin/console
app/phpunit.xml.dist    |  phpunit.xml.dist

# The following files are new in 3.0
bin/symfony_requirements # run via CLI

Benefits of the Symfony 3 directory structure

The new directory structure has a number of benefits, all of which are minor and may require minimal changes to your workflow.


phpunit can be run from the project root without having to explicitly specify the path of the configuration file.

# Symfony2
phpunit -c app/phpunit.xml

# Symfony3 (no need to specify the configuration file location)

Binary Executables

All binary executable files are now all located in a single location - the bin directory (similar to a unix-like os).

# you can update your `PATH` to include the `bin` directory

# From your project root you can now run executables like so:

# else with no `PATH` update

The new /var directory

The new /var directory contains the files to which the system writes data to during the course of its operation (similar to a unix-like os).

This also makes it easier to add permissions, the entire /var directory should be writable by your webserver. You can follow the Symfony2 guide for setting permissions (substituting app/cache && app/logs with var), any other files you want to write locally could also be located here.

# default symfony3 `var` directory

Symfony requirements check

Running symfony_requirements will output mandatory & optional environment configurations.

* 'Symfony requirements check' *

* Configuration file used by PHP: /usr/local/php5/lib/php.ini

*  The PHP CLI can use a different php.ini file
*  than the one used with your web server.
*  To be on the safe side, please also launch the requirements check
*  from your web server using the web/config.php script.

** Mandatory requirements **
 OK       PHP version must be at least 5.3.3 (5.5.11 installed)
 OK       PHP version must not be 5.3.16 as Symfony wont work properly with it
 OK       Vendor libraries must be installed
 OK       var/cache/ directory must be writable
 OK       var/logs/ directory must be writable
 OK       date.timezone setting must be set
 OK       Configured default timezone "Europe/London" must be supported by your installation of PHP
 OK       json_encode() must be available
 OK       session_start() must be available
 OK       ctype_alpha() must be available
 OK       token_get_all() must be available
 OK       simplexml_import_dom() must be available
 OK       APC version must be at least 3.1.13 when using PHP 5.4
 OK       detect_unicode must be disabled in php.ini
 OK       xdebug.show_exception_trace must be disabled in php.ini
 OK       xdebug.scream must be disabled in php.ini
 OK       PCRE extension must be available
** Optional recommendations **
 OK       xdebug.max_nesting_level should be above 100 in php.ini
 OK       Requirements file should be up-to-date
 OK       You should use at least PHP 5.3.4 due to PHP bug #52083 in earlier versions
 OK       When using annotations you should have at least PHP 5.3.8 due to PHP bug #55156
 OK       You should not use PHP 5.4.0 due to the PHP bug #61453
 OK       When using the logout handler from the Symfony Security Component, you should have at least PHP 5.4.11 due to PHP bug #63379 (as a workaround, you can also set invalidate_session to false in the security logout handler configuration)
 OK       You should use PHP 5.3.18+ or PHP 5.4.8+ to always get nice error messages for fatal errors in the development environment due to PHP bug #61767/#60909
 OK       PCRE extension should be at least version 8.0 (8.34 installed)
 OK       PHP-XML module should be installed
 OK       mb_strlen() should be available
 OK       iconv() should be available
 OK       utf8_decode() should be available
 OK       posix_isatty() should be available
 OK       intl extension should be available
 OK       intl extension should be correctly configured
 OK       intl ICU version should be at least 4+
 OK       a PHP accelerator should be installed
 OK       short_open_tag should be disabled in php.ini
 OK       magic_quotes_gpc should be disabled in php.ini
 OK       register_globals should be disabled in php.ini
 OK       session.auto_start should be disabled in php.ini
 OK       PDO should be installed
 OK       PDO should have some drivers installed (currently available: mysql, sqlite, dblib, pgsql)


Looks like a good tidy up by Sensio Labs, all the above changes make perfect sense, they should be easy to implement when upgrading from 2.5 to 3.x, these will probably be the least of your problems!

Read the docs

Symfony 2.x => 3.0 Upgrade docs here
Symfony 3.0 The Architecture

Release Date for Symfony 3

It looks far off looking at the Release process (worth a read):


Updated Symfony release Process
(source: symfony.com)

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for your help, yes I hope that migrating from 2.* to 3.0 will be possible and easy. – Ousmane Jun 4 '14 at 14:32
  • Now I think that why command not working because composer moved from app to bin. – Parixit Jun 16 '14 at 10:36
  • 1
    As of yesterday, we've removed the "3.0" directory structure question because it was confusing people and there's no real benefit yet to using this structure. 3.0 is still a long time away, but when we get there, there will certainly be details on how to upgrade :). – weaverryan Jul 17 '14 at 20:24
  • 1
    @MarcelBurkhard I've updated my answer to show how to force the new directory structure, you simply add the environment variable SENSIOLABS_ENABLE_NEW_DIRECTORY_STRUCTURE=true (view the top of my answer for full details) – Anil Sep 19 '14 at 13:51
  • 1
    You should update the answer and note that they removed this option from the installer. – Pinoniq Oct 20 '15 at 9:54

Here is a list of changes between the old and new directory structure:

  • A new var folder is introduced
  • app/console is moved to bin/console
  • app/check.php is moved/renamed to bin/symfony_requirements
  • app/phpunit.xml.dist is moved to the root folder
  • app/SymfonyRequirements.php is moved to var/SymfonyRequirements.php
  • the app/cache and app/logs folders have been moved to var/cache and var/logs, respectively

(Currently not all of the old files seem to be removed, so you might want to do so manually before committing all files into version control. See this issue)

So what's the benefit?

There are a couple of benefits with these changes. First of all, all files and folders that should be writable for Symfony are now in the var folder. This should make configuring permissions a lot easier: simply assure write access to the var folder and you're done. This is suggested in this blog post - I haven't tried this myself, yet.

Secondly, all executables, including console, are now in the bin folder. That allows Bash users for instance to add this to their .profile file:

# set PATH so it includes current bin folder

Now you don't even have to type bin/console anymore, simply console will suffice (note that I had to reboot in order for this to work).

There are some other improvements as well. app/check.php is now an executable, so you can call it using bin/symfony_requirements instead of php app/check.php. (Using the .profile trick I described earlier, simply symfony_requirements will suffice as well)

And, last but not least, you no longer have to specify the location of the configuration file when running PHPUnit. So instead of phpunit -c app you can simply execute phpunit.

Can I upgrade existing projects to this new structure as well?

By default, you'll only get the 'Do you want to use the new directory structure' question when creating a new project (using composer create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition path/ "2.5.*").

However, it is possible to upgrade an existing Symfony application, but it's a somewhat hacky solution. I have managed to do so with a number of applications now, and you can read the steps in this gist. However, since it wasn't designed for this, I can not guarantee it will allways work.


It turns out that Symfony no longer asks you if you want to use the new directory structure, when creating a new Symfony application through Composer. However, it is still possible to create Symfony projects with the new directory structure, by using an environment variable. For more information, see How can I create a new Symfony project with the new directory structure?

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  • 6
    You don't need to reboot after changing your .profile, you can just re-source the file in your current shell, or quit and start a new shell. Running . ~/.profile will re-source the file (note the leading dot-space). – Drarok Jul 10 '14 at 9:28

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