Start with Symfony on Mountain Lion

Start developing Symfony on a Mac is quite easy. Mountain Lion ships with some of the required libraries, but a few are hidden in the depth of the system.

This is a guide with shows you how to get Symfony running on Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8 that is).


First and foremost you need to install Xcode. Don’t worry you can download it for free at the App Store.

After downloading and installation, start Xcode and go to downloads area in the preferences (⌘, > Downloads) and install the Command Line Tools.

Xcode Preferences Panel


Homebrew is a package manager which helps us installing and configuring a few needed packages for our development platform.

Paste the following command into the terminal to install Homebrew:

$ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)"

After that you need to run brew doctor to finalize you installation.


You can decide which database you would like to use. Running PostgreSQL is far easier than running MySQL. Just use the Postgres.app.

If you prefer running MySQL I’d like to refer to MariaDB an enhanced, drop-in replacement for MySQL. You can install it with Homebrew:

$ brew install mariadb

If you get errors that no compilers are available install the apple-gcc42 compiler and re-run brew install mariadb.

$ brew install apple-gcc42

For now, just start your freshly installed MariaDB with mysql.server start and test your connection with mysql -uroot. If you get a warm welcome, everything works as expected. Terminate your connection with \q.


Mountain Lion ships with Apache, but it is not running per default. You can start with sudo apachectl start and stop through sudo apachectl stop. But first we need to change some settings.

Open the file /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf in your favorite editor and remove the # infront of theese two lines:

#Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

#LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

Now open the file /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf and remove all <VirtualHost> instances and add the following:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/Users/[username]/symfony/web"
    ServerName dev.symfony

    <Directory "/Users/[username]/symfony">
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all

    ErrorLog "/Users/[username]/symfony/app/logs/apache_error.log"
    CustomLog "/Users/[username]/symfony/app/logs/apache_access.log" common

Replace [username] with your actual username. If you don’t know it, start a new terminal and type whoami, which outputs your username.

Open your hosts file located at /etc/hosts and add a new entry for your ServerName specified in the Apache configuration above.   dev.symfony

We do not start Apache yet.


You need to copy the default php.ini file to the correct place and add detect_unicode = Off to the end of the file.

$ sudo cp /etc/php.ini.default /etc/php.ini
$ echo "echo 'detect_unicode = Off' >> /etc/php.ini" | sudo bash

Open the file /etc/php.ini, search for date.timezone and set your timezone accordingly.

date.timezone = Europe/Berlin

Don’t forget to remove the ; at the beginning of the line. Save the file.


We use Composer to install Symfony. Start the install process:

$ cd
$ curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php
$ mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Now you can get the current Symfony version with the command:

$ composer create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition symfony/ 2.3.6

Answer the questions you get asked accordingly to your configuration. You also might need to replace 2.3.6 with the current version of symfony.

Now set the writing permissions for apache and the current user to the log and cache directory.

$ cd symfony
$ chmod 0777 app/{logs,cache}
$ sudo chmod +a "_www allow delete,write,append,file_inherit,directory_inherit" app/cache app/logs
$ sudo chmod +a "`whoami` allow delete,write,append,file_inherit,directory_inherit" app/cache app/logs

You now have a fresh installation of your Symfony in your home directory.

Now start Apache with sudo apachectl start.


Head over to your browser and type http://dev.sympfony/config.php (or the ServerName you set above).

Correct all open major problems if there are some left.

Install PECL and PEAR:

$ sudo php /usr/lib/php/install-pear-nozlib.phar
$ pear config-set php_ini /private/etc/php.ini
$ pecl config-set php_ini /private/etc/php.ini
$ sudo pear upgrade-all
$ sudo pear channel-update pear.php.net
$ sudo pecl channel-update pecl.php.net

Install the open recommendations intl and the PHP accelerator apc:

$ brew install icu4c
$ sudo pecl install intl

Answer with the path /usr/local/opt/icu4c when asked for the ICU libraries and headers.

$ brew install pcre
$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/include/pcre.h /usr/include/
$ sudo pecl install apc

Restart Apache sudo apachectl restart.

Reload your browser http://dev.sympfony/config.php and watch for open recommendations.