Continuous integration for your Symfony2 app

The hosted continuous integration service Travis CI has been around for a while now, amplifying the testing ambitions of our open source communities. It is really a great service and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with it if you have not already.

For example usage, check out how Symfony2, Ruby on Rails or even my own Facebook service provider is doing. Every code change is extensively tested with the project's built-in test suites.

Travis CI is free for open source projects but for your private repositories you have still had to set up Jenkins or similar, to build a CI environment of your own. Until now, when the fine folks at Travis announced Travis Pro — the same service but for private repositories!

I was recently invited to Travis PRO and since I am currently building a project using Symfony2, I hooked that up for continuous bliss. Here is how you can too.

Symfony2 in Travis CI

First you need to create a .travis.yml configuration file in the root of your project. Start simple with this bare-bones configuration:

language: php
  - 5.3
  - 5.4

This tells Travis that you are running a PHP app and you want it tested for both version 5.3 and 5.4.

Having a PHP app implicates that you are using PHPUnit to test your project. By default this means running phpunit in the project root, but since in Symfony2 Standard Edition your PHPUnit configuration resides in app/, you will want to tweak how Travis initiates the tests.

script: phpunit -c app/

Next up is your parameters configuration. Because of its nature it should not be checked in to Git, so what I do is I keep a skeleton file at app/config/parameters.yml.dist, which I have Travis copy to the correct location before testing the app.

  - cp app/config/parameters.yml.dist app/config/parameters.yml

Since you are using Composer (right?!) you can easily have Travis install all your dependencies by adding it to the before_script list.

  - composer install

That should be all! Now commit this, go to Travis PRO and add your repository and then push the commit to it. Travis will then pick up your changes and run through your tests. You will get an email about its success or failure and with its very nice integration with GitHub you are able to see directly in Pull Requests the status of the tests.

Maximum function nesting level

"Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached, aborting!"

That was one very annoying error I bumped into when I started testing. It turns out this comes from me enabling Symfony2's built-in reverse proxy, where I use ESI tags to render partial bits and pieces of the website.

Fixing it requires setting xdebug.max_nesting_level to a high enough value. This is a PHP configuration so we need to do this in two steps; first identifying where to add our configuration and then setting it there.

  - export ADDITIONAL_PATH=`php -i | grep -F --color=never 'Scan this dir for additional .ini files'`
  - echo 'xdebug.max_nesting_level=9999' | sudo tee ${ADDITIONAL_PATH:42}/symfony2.ini

More Travis

There are of course a lot more you can configure with .travis.yml and I have only touched on the basics. Check out the documentation for more in-depth options.

For example we have set up the notifications so that Travis sends a message to our Basecamp chat whenever a build fails or succeeds. That is a excellent trigger for us to go code review before merging and deploying.

But why are you still reading this? Go sign up for Travis PRO already! :)

Update: Apparently Travis has upped their max_nestling_level to faciliate Symfony2 tests. Thanks, Damien Alexandre for letting us know!

Update: Lukas Smith explains in the comments that Travis has built-in support for Composer, so there is no need to download it first. I have updated the configuration examples as such.