Symfony 5 skeleton project on Ubuntu

This guide will present the steps we followed on a GNU/Linux Ubuntu 20.04LTS to create a new project out of the Symfony 5 website skeleton.

Install core dependecies

First of all, we need to install all dependencies that we will need for sure.

sudo apt install curl gzip git php-cli php-xml php-mbstring php-intl php-mysql p7zip-full;

We chose to install the php-cli package instead of the php as we do not need to install all the additional dependencies php has, like apache2. Since we are working on a development computer, we can skip the required packages for deployment.

We decided to use MySQL in our project, so we installed the php-mysql package that provides the PDO for that database technology.

php-intl and php-mbstring were installed to suppress the following warnings:

Optional recommendations to improve your setup

 * mb_strlen() should be available
   > Install and enable the mbstring extension.

 * intl extension should be available
   > Install and enable the intl extension (used for validators).

Downloading and installing symfony

Since Symfony version 5, there is a new support application for the development of Symfony projects. Using the following commands:

  • we downloaded it from the official website,
  • installed it to our home folder,
  • and then moved it to /user/local/bin/symfony to be accessible from any terminal without changing the path each time.
wget -O - | bash;
sudo mv ~/.symfony/bin/symfony /usr/local/bin/symfony;

In case you do not want to move the binary to /usr/local/bin you can either use it as a local file:


or add it to your $PATH variable:

export PATH="$HOME/.symfony/bin:$PATH";

Creating a new project and making sure dependencies are met

After the above steps are done, we can clone the Symfony 5 skeleton and then use the symfony support application to check that our system has all the needed features.

symfony new symfony_project;
cd symfony_project;
symfony check:req;

If everything is OK, you should get a message similar to the one below:

$ symfony check:req

Symfony Requirements Checker

> PHP is using the following php.ini file:

> Checking Symfony requirements:


 Your system is ready to run Symfony projects 

Note  The command console can use a different php.ini file
~~~~  than the one used by your web server.
      Please check that both the console and the web server
      are using the same PHP version and configuration.

Starting a minimal web server to see the skeleton application

Using PHP’s built-in server, we can execute the skeleton application and see the result in our browser:

php -S -t public/;

Starting the Symfony minimal web server to see the skeleton application

Another option to check out your application is using the Symfony built-in web server, which is richer in features than the PHP server but lighter than Apache or Nginx. Below we present how to start it as an application in a terminal and how to start it as a detached service (leaving your terminal free for other operations).

#If you start it as it as an application, you will need to press Ctrl + C to kill it.
symfony serve;

Starting Symfony server as a detached service:

symfony serve -d;
#To stop it, use the following
symfony server:stop;
#Please note that the command contains the word server and not serve like before.

Adding more features to our project

To make our project more dynamic and versatile, we need to install a few packages using composer. Composer is a PHP utility for managing dependencies. It allows you to indicate the libraries your project relies on, and it will take care of installing and updating them. To fast install it, open a terminal and type the following command:

curl -Ss | php;
# Moving the composer into the /usr/local/bin/ folder will allow us to access it from any folder later on as that folder is in the default PATH variable. You could again avoid this step but it makes the process more user friendly.
sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer;

Allowing code annotations in our PHP code

After the composer is successfully installed, we can install the annotations package, which among other features, will allow us to define routes inside our PHP controller files.

composer require annotations;

A code example of that is the following:


namespace App\Controller;

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\AbstractController;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response;
use Symfony\Component\Routing\Annotation\Route;

class QuestionController extends AbstractController
     * @Route("/", name="app_homepage")
    public function homepage()
        return new Response('Done');

     * @Route("/questions/{slug}", name="app_question_show")
    public function show($slug)
        $answers = [

        return $this->render('question/show.html.twig', [
            'question' => ucwords(str_replace('-', ' ', $slug)),
            'answers' => $answers
        #return new Response(sprintf("The question: %s", $slug));

Installing the twig package that allows us to work better with HTML templates

To avoid embedding HTML code in our PHP code, we can install twig, which provides a framework of templates to build several sites quickly.

composer require template;

Enriching the development experience

To debug in a better way our applications, we install the following two groups of packages that provide several debugging features, including a logging mechanism.

composer require profiler --dev;
composer require debug;

Avoid hardcoding assets in the HTML DOM

To avoid hardcoding items in your DOM (and forcing yourself to remember to edit them depending on the deployment options you are using), you can use the asset package that will handle most of those issues.

composer require symfony/asset;

Serializing more items and objects to JSON and XML

To enrich the power of API calls that return JSON or XML objects (like the code below)

return $this->json(/*...*/);

we can install the following serializer:

composer require symfony/serializer;

and be used as follows:


Develop using HTTPS / SSL for free

Although we are not super happy about installing local Certificate Authorities on our machines, we used the following commands to install the Symfony Certifying Authority certificate and enable HTTPS/SSL development without accepting a non-verified certificate in the browser each time.

sudo apt install libnss3-tools;
symfony server:ca:install;

If you do not install libnss3-tools, you will get the following warning:

$ symfony server:ca:install
You might have to enter your root password to install the local Certificate Authority certificate
Sudo password:
The local CA is now installed in the system trust store!
WARNING "certutil" is not available, so the CA can't be automatically installed in Firefox and/or Chrome/Chromium!
Install "certutil" with "apt install libnss3-tools" and re-run the command
 [OK] The local Certificate Authority is installed and trusted                                          

After you install it, the message will change as follows:

$ symfony server:ca:install
The local CA is now installed in the Firefox and/or Chrome/Chromium trust store (requires browser restart)!
 [OK] The local Certificate Authority is installed and trusted

Install Webpack Encore for the assets

To install Webpack encore, we need yarn. To get yarn, we need npm. So we need the following installation steps:

sudo apt install npm;
sudo npm install --global yarn;

After these steps are successful, in the project folder, execute the following commands to allow the yarn to perform all necessary installations and then use encore to monitor the assets and rebuild its cache. The settings are depended on the file webpack.config.js.

yarn install;
yarn encore dev --watch;

Below, we present an example file of webpack.config.js.

var Encore = require('@symfony/webpack-encore');

// Manually configure the runtime environment if not already configured yet by the "encore" command.
// It's useful when you use tools that rely on webpack.config.js file.
if (!Encore.isRuntimeEnvironmentConfigured()) {
    Encore.configureRuntimeEnvironment(process.env.NODE_ENV || 'dev');

    // directory where compiled assets will be stored
    // public path used by the web server to access the output path
    // only needed for CDN's or sub-directory deploy

     * Add 1 entry for each "page" of your app
     * (including one that's included on every page - e.g. "app")
     * Each entry will result in one JavaScript file (e.g. app.js)
     * and one CSS file (e.g. app.css) if your JavaScript imports CSS.
    .addEntry('app', './assets/js/app.js')
    //.addEntry('page1', './assets/js/page1.js')
    //.addEntry('page2', './assets/js/page2.js')

    // When enabled, Webpack "splits" your files into smaller pieces for greater optimization.

    // will require an extra script tag for runtime.js
    // but, you probably want this, unless you're building a single-page app

     * Enable & configure other features below. For a full
     * list of features, see:
    // enables hashed filenames (e.g. app.abc123.css)

    // enables @babel/preset-env polyfills
    .configureBabelPresetEnv((config) => {
        config.useBuiltIns = 'usage';
        config.corejs = 3;

    // enables Sass/SCSS support

    // uncomment if you use TypeScript

    // uncomment to get integrity="..." attributes on your script & link tags
    // requires WebpackEncoreBundle 1.4 or higher

    // uncomment if you're having problems with a jQuery plugin

    // uncomment if you use API Platform Admin (composer req api-admin)
    //.addEntry('admin', './assets/js/admin.js')

module.exports = Encore.getWebpackConfig();

Some settings for PHPStorm by JetBrains

Since the IDE we are using for PHP development is PHPStorm, we installed the recommended plugins for Symfony to it. In the following image, we list the three plugins that we installed.

Specifically, we installed:

  • Symfony Support
  • PHP Annotations
  • PHP Toolbox

After installing the three plugins, we navigated to the Symfony Plugin settings (which you can find either using the search functionality or under the menu: Languages & Frameworks > PHP > Symfony).

From there, we clicked on the Enable Plugin for this Project and then changed the Web Directory from web to public.

How to encrypt data using the PGP Public Key of an organization/entity

We used this batch of notes to encrypt email communication between us and the website contact. Precisely, we needed to encrypt some email attachments with sensitive data.

First of all, we tried to get their PGP Public Key from using curl.

curl -O;

We soon realized that the data were binary because their webserver or CDN compressed the response.

$ file registrar.asc 
registrar.asc: gzip compressed data, from Unix, original size modulo 2^32 7487

So we modified our curl command to decompress the response automatically:

curl --compressed -O;

After receiving the plaintext version of the registrar.asc file, we were able to proceed with the encryption steps. The first thing we did was to import their key:

gpg --import registrar.asc;
$ gpg --import registrar.asc 
gpg: key 6C12FFD0BFCBFAE2: 9 signatures not checked due to missing keys
gpg: key 6C12FFD0BFCBFAE2: public key "Offensive Security (Offensive Security Registrar) <[email protected]>" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1
gpg: marginals needed: 3  completes needed: 1  trust model: pgp
gpg: depth: 0  valid:   2  signed:   0  trust: 0-, 0q, 0n, 0m, 0f, 2u
gpg: next trustdb check due at 2023-12-13

Using the following command, we were able to encrypt the sensitive data and send them to via mail:

gpg --recipient [email protected] --encrypt sensitive.mp4;

The PGP command automatically used the public key that we imported in the previous step to perform the encryption. PGP named the encrypted file sensitive.mp4.gpg. We only needed to send that file, and the corresponding party had all other information to decrypt it.

Bonus: Create our own public Key so that people can contact you with encryption

gpg --gen-key;

Executing the above command asked us to provide a name, an email, and a password to encrypt the data. Below is the sample output generated for us:

$ gpg --gen-key
gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.19; Copyright (C) 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Note: Use "gpg --full-generate-key" for a full featured key generation dialog.

GnuPG needs to construct a user ID to identify your key.

Real name: John Doe
Email address: [email protected]
You selected this USER-ID:
    "John Doe <[email protected]>"

Change (N)ame, (E)mail, or (O)kay/(Q)uit? O
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
gpg: key A53FEA7768D67D2A marked as ultimately trusted
gpg: revocation certificate stored as '/home/john/.gnupg/openpgp-revocs.d/D1660B83341AEF2852A2A4C6A53FEA7768D67D2A.rev'
public and secret key created and signed.

pub   rsa3072 2021-12-13 [SC] [expires: 2023-12-13]
uid                      John Doe <[email protected]>
sub   rsa3072 2021-12-13 [E] [expires: 2023-12-13]

Then, we exported our public key using the command below.

gpg --export --armor --output john.asc [email protected];

Sending this file to other people or putting it on a public key server allows people to encrypt data just for you to read.

Hikvision web UI cannot change admin password

Note / Disclaimer / Caution / Warning:
We are not sure if the same commands will work on your device!
Following these instructions has some risk as not everything is well documented and could damage your device and make it unable to be repaired or used!
We are posting about our experiences as it might help someone else but we cannot guarantee positive results to other people.
We got lucky, we cannot be sure if this works for everyone...

Recently, we were performing maintenance on a Hikvision DS-KB8112-IM Vandal-Resistant Door Station. When we tried to change the password for the default administrator (called admin) we noticed that we could not edit the user. There was a bug in the list of users which was not showing the username of the admin.

That bug caused the Modify functionality to fail as well. It would leave the User Name field as blank which would trigger an error after pressing the OK button. The system complained that the User Name field is empty while it is required making the change of password to fail.

We could not figure out a way to fix it through the menus of Hikvision nor could we flash or update the device firmware, so after some search, we found the documentation of some API (which we are not sure if is actively maintained) that allowed us to get the settings of the device and update them.

Specifically, using the following command, we got the list of users on the Hikvision device:

curl -k 'https://admin:[email protected]/ISAPI/Security/users';

The GET of ISAPI/Security/users gave us the list of all users like so:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<UserList version="2.0" xmlns="">
<User version="2.0" xmlns="">

Then, for fun, we issued the command that returns the information for the admin user (that has the ID = 1):

curl -k 'https://admin:[email protected]/ISAPI/Security/users/1';
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<User version="2.0" xmlns="">

Then we went for the risky part, to issue a command that would edit the settings of the device with great risk!

curl -k 'https://admin:[email protected]/ISAPI/Security/users/1' -X PUT --data-raw $'<User version="2.0" xmlns="">\n<id>1</id><userName>admin</userName><password>4321</password></User>';

The PUT command for ISAPI/Security/users/1 loaded the following XML to the device:

<User version="2.0" xmlns="">

To our pleasant surprise, it worked! After executing the above command, we were able to log in to the device using the new password. To an even more pleasant surprise, the list of users bug disappeared and we were able to use the web GUI to make changes to the administrator user!

[] Clone all repositories in your account 1 offers a public API that allows us to get information related to our accounts. One of the API calls available is the account projects call (

This call will return a JSON object describing the projects available to your account.

To clone all of the projects available to you, you can use the following:

TOKEN="PASTE_YOUR_PRIVATE_TOKEN_HERE"; PREFIX="ssh_url_to_repo"; curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: $TOKEN" | grep -o "\"$PREFIX\":[^ ,]\+" | awk -F ':' '{printf "ssh://"; for (i=2; i<NF; i++) printf $i "/"; print $NF}' | xargs -L1 git clone

The above code will bring the JSON object, filter out everything except for the “ssh_url_to_repo” member of each project and then it will use it to clone the project by fixing up the URL to be used by git.

To get the above code working: the GitLab API requires that you use a token that is related to your account instead of using your credentials to make the call to the API.

To get your private token, visit this page , the private token is the random sequence of characters in the white box:

[] Private TokenYou need to copy that value in the place of the variable TOKEN in the above script.

In case you have a lot of projects (more than 10), the default call will only produce the results for the first 10 repositories only.

To list all available repositories you have two options:

  1.  Set the per_page query parameter to a value big enough to fetch all your projects information if they are less than 100. e.g
  2. Follow the link headers from the initial response to make all the next calls.