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Sonata project contribution

Thanks for your interest in Sonata projects!



First, check if you are up to date: is your version still supported, and are you using the latest patch version?

GitHub Issues is for issues, as opposed to question on how to use Sonata. If you are not sure this is a bug, or simply want to ask such a question, please post your question on Stack Overflow, using the sonata tags.

If you happen to find a bug, we kindly request you report it. However, before submitting it, please check the project documentation available online.

Then, if it appears that it is indeed a real bug, you may report it using Github by following these points are taken care of:

  • Check if the bug is not already reported!
  • The title sums up the issue with clarity.
  • A description of the workflow needed to reproduce the bug. Please try to make sentences, dumping an error message by itself is frowned upon.
  • If your issue is an error page, you must provide us with a stack trace. With recent versions of Symfony, you can even get stack traces as plain text at the end of the page. Just look for "Stack Trace (Plain Text)", and copy/paste what you see. Do not make a screenshot of the stack trace, as screenshots are not indexed by search engines and will make it difficult for other people to find your bug report. If you have an issue when using the Symfony CLI, use the -vvv option to get a stack trace.
  • Screenshots should be considered additional data, and therefore, you should always provide a textual description of the bug. It is strongly recommended to provide them when reporting UI-related bugs.
  • If you need to provide code, make sure you know how to get syntactic coloration, in particular with fenced code blocks. When you feel the code is to long, use external code pastebin like or . If this is not sufficient, just create a repository to show the issue.

NOTE: Don't hesitate to give as much information as you can (OS, PHP version, extensions...)

Pull Requests

All the sonata team will be glad to review your code changes propositions! 😄

But please, read the following before.

The content

Coding style

Each project follows PSR-1, PSR-2 and Symfony Coding Standards for coding style, PSR-4 for autoloading.

Please install PHP Coding Standard Fixer and run this command before committing your modifications:

php-cs-fixer fix --verbose

The documentation

The documentation is mostly written with the rst format. You can test the doc rendering with the make docs command.

If your PR contains a new feature, you must add documentation for it.

The tests

If your PR contains a fix, tests should be added to prove the bug.

If your PR contains an addition, a new feature, this one has to be fully covered by tests.

Some rules have to be respected about the test:

  • Annotations about coverage are prohibited. This concerns:
    • @covers
    • @coversDefaultClass
    • @coversNothing
    • @codeCoverageIgnore
    • @codeCoverageIgnoreStart
    • @codeCoverageIgnoreEnd
  • All test methods should be prefixed by test. Example: public function testItReturnsNull().
  • All test method names must be in camel case format.
  • As opposed, the @test annotation is prohibited.
  • Most of the time, the test class should have the same name as the targeted class, suffixed by Test.
  • The @expectedException* annotations are prohibited. Use PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase::setExpectedException().

Writing a Pull Request

The subject

Ideally, a Pull Request should concern one and only one subject, so that it remains clear, and independent changes can be merged quickly.

If you want to fix a typo and improve the performance of a process, you should try as much as possible to do it in a separate PR, so that we can quickly merge one while discussing the other.

The goal is to have a clear commit history and make a possible revert easier.

If you found an issue/typo while writing your change that is not related to your work, please do another PR for that. In some rare cases, you might be forced to do it on the same PR. In this kind of situation, please add a comment on your PR explaining why you feel it is the case.

The Change log

For each PR, a change log must be provided.

There are few cases where no change log is necessary:

  • When you fix a bug on an unreleased feature.
  • When your PR concerns only the documentation (fix or improvement).

Do not edit the directly though, because having every contributor write PR with changes in the same file, at roughly the same line is a recipe for conflicts. Instead, fill in the dedicated section that should appear in a textaread when submitting your PR.

Your note can be put on one of these sections:

  • Added for new features.
  • Changed for changes in existing functionality.
  • Deprecated for deprecation of features that will be removed in next major release.
  • Removed for deprecated features removed in this release.
  • Fixed for any bug fixes.
  • Security to invite users to upgrade in case of vulnerabilities.

More information about the followed changelog format:

The base branch

Before writing a PR, you have to check on which branch your changes should be based.

Each project follows semver convention for release management.

Here is a short table resuming on which you have to start:

Kind of modification Backward Compatible (BC) Type of release Branch to target Label
Bug fixes Yes Patch {{ stable_branch }}
Bug fixes No (Only if no choice) Major {{ unstable_branch }}
Feature Yes Minor {{ stable_branch }}
Feature No (Only if no choice) Major {{ unstable_branch }}
Deprecation Yes (Have to) Minor {{ stable_branch }}
Deprecation removal No (Can't be) Major {{ unstable_branch }}


  • Branch {{ stable_branch }} is the branch of the latest stable minor release and has to be used for Backward compatible PRs.
  • If you PR is not Backward Compatible but can be, it must be:
    • Changing a function/method signature? Prefer create a new one and deprecate the old one.
    • Code deletion? Don't. Please deprecate it instead.
    • If your BC PR is accepted, you can do a new one on the {{ unstable_branch }} branch which removes the deprecated code.
    • SYMFONY DOC REF (same logic)?

If you have a non-BC PR to propose, please try to create a related BC PR first. This BC PR should mark every piece of code that needs to be removed / uncommented / reworked in the corresponding non-BC PR with the following marker comment : NEXT_MAJOR. When the BC PR is merged in the stable branch, wait for the stable branch to be merged in the unstable branch, and then work on your non-BC PR.

For instance, assuming you want to introduce a new method to an existing interface, you should do something like this:


namespace Foo;

interface BarInterface
   * NEXT_MAJOR: Uncomment this method
   * This method does useful stuff.
  // public function usefulMethod();


In some cases, you will have the possibility to warn the user that things will change, and recommend a new way of doing things. You can do so by triggering the dedicated kind of error, like this:

if (/* some condition showing the user is using the legacy way */) {
        'The '.__METHOD__.' method is deprecated since 42.x, to be removed in 43.0. '.
        'Use FooClass::barMethod() instead.',
} else {
    // new way of doing things

Additionally, and when applicable, you must use the @deprecated tag on classes or methods you wish to deprecate, along with a message directed at the end user (as opposed to other contributors).

 * NEXT_MAJOR: remove this method
 * @deprecated since 3.x, to be removed in 4.0. Use Foo::bar instead.
public function baz()

In that case, unit tests might show your deprecation notice. You must mark such tests with the @group legacy annotation, and if need be, isolate them in a new test method that can simply be removed in the non-BC PR.

Be aware that pull requests with BC breaks could be rejected or postponed to next major release if BC is not possible.

If you are not sure what should be done, don't hesitate to open an issue about your PR project.

The commit message

Sonata is a big project with many contributors, and a big part of the job is being able to understand the code at all times, be it when submitting a PR or looking at the history. Good commit messages are crucial to achieve this goal.

There are already a few articles (or even single purpose websites) about this, we cannot recommend enough the following:

To sum them up, the commit message has to be crystal clear and of course, related to the PR content.

The first line of the commit message must be short, keep it under 50 characters. It must say concisely but precisely what you did. The other lines, if needed, should contain a complete description of why you did this.

Bad commit message subject:


Good commit message subject :

Document how to install the project

Also, when you specify what you did avoid commit message subjects with "Fix bug in such and such feature". Saying you are fixing something implies the previous implementation was wrong and yours is right, which might not even be true. Instead, state unquestionable technical facts about your changes, not opinions. Then, in the commit description, explain why you did that and how it fixes something.

call foo::bar() instead of bar::baz()

This fixes a bug that arises when doing this or that, because baz() needs a
flux capacitor object that might not be defined.
Fixes #42

The description is optional but strongly recommended. It could be asked by the team if needed. PR will often lead to complicated, hard-to-read conversations with many links to other web pages.

The commit description should be able to live without what is said in the PR, and should ideally sum it up in a crystal clear way, so that people do not have to open a web browser to understand what you did. Links to PRs/Issues and external references are of course welcome, but should not be considered enough. When you reference an issue, make sure to use one of the keywords described in the dedicated github article.

Good commit message with description :

Change web UI background color to pink

This is a consensus made on #4242 in addition to #1337.

We agreed that blank color is boring and so deja vu. Pink is the new way to do.

(Obviously, this commit is fake. 😉)