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Console Applications
Console applications are mainly used to perform offline work needed by an
online Web application, such as code generation, search index compiling, email
sending, etc. Yii provides a framework for writing console applications in
an object-oriented way. It allows a console application to access
the resources (e.g. DB connections) that are used by an online Web application.
Yii represents each console task in terms of a [command|CConsoleCommand].
A console command is written as a class extending from [CConsoleCommand].
When we use the `yiic webapp` tool to create an initial skeleton Yii application,
we may find two files under the `protected` directory:
* `yiic`: this is an executable script used on Linux/Unix;
* `yiic.bat`: this is an executable batch file used on Windows.
In a console window, we can enter the following commands:
cd protected
yiic help
This will display a list of available console commands. By default, the available
commands include those provided by Yii framework (called **system commands**)
and those developed by users for individual applications (called **user commands**).
To see how to use a command, we can execute
yiic help <command-name>
And to execute a command, we can use the following command format:
yiic <command-name> [parameters...]
Creating Commands
Console commands are stored as class files under the directory specified by
[CConsoleApplication::commandPath]. By default, this refers to the directory
A console command class must extend from [CConsoleCommand]. The class name
must be of format `XyzCommand`, where `Xyz` refers to the command name with
the first letter in upper case. For example, a `sitemap` command must use
the class name `SitemapCommand`. Console command names are case-sensitive.
> Tip: By configuring [CConsoleApplication::commandMap], one can also have
> command classes in different naming conventions and located in different
> directories.
To create a new command, one often needs to override [CConsoleCommand::run()]
or develop one or several command actions (to be explained in the next section).
When executing a console command, the [CConsoleCommand::run()] method will be
invoked by the console application. Any console command parameters will be passed
to the method as well, according to the following signature of the method:
public function run($args) { ... }
where `$args` refers to the extra parameters given in the command line.
Within a console command, we can use `Yii::app()` to access the console application
instance, through which we can also access resources such as database connections
(e.g. `Yii::app()->db`). As we can tell, the usage is very similar to what we can
do in a Web application.
> Info: Starting from version 1.1.1, we can also create global commands that
are shared by **all** Yii applications on the same machine. To do so, define
an environment variable named `YII_CONSOLE_COMMANDS` which should point to
an existing directory. We can then put our global command class files under
this directory.
Console Command Action
> Note: The feature of console command action has been available since version 1.1.5.
A console command often needs to handle different command line parameters, some required,
some optional. A console command may also need to provide several sub-commands to handle
different sub-tasks. These work can be simplified using console command actions.
A console command action is a method in a console command class.
The method name must be of the format `actionXyz`, where `Xyz` refers to the action
name with the first letter in upper-case. For example, a method `actionIndex` defines
an action named `index`.
To execute a specific action, we use the following console command format:
yiic <command-name> <action-name> --option1=value1 --option2=value2 ...
The additional option-value pairs will be passed as named parameters to the action method.
The value of a `xyz` option will be passed as the `$xyz` parameter of the action method.
For example, if we define the following command class:
class SitemapCommand extends CConsoleCommand
public function actionIndex($type, $limit=5) { ... }
public function actionInit() { ... }
Then, the following console commands will all result in calling `actionIndex('News', 5)`:
yiic sitemap index --type=News --limit=5
// $limit takes default value
yiic sitemap index --type=News
// $limit takes default value
// because 'index' is a default action, we can omit the action name
yiic sitemap --type=News
// the order of options does not matter
yiic sitemap index --limit=5 --type=News
If an option is given without value (e.g. `--type` instead of `--type=News`), the corresponding
action parameter value will be assumed to be boolean `true`.
> Note: We do not support alternative option formats such as
> `--type News`, `-t News`.
A parameter can take an array value by declaring it with array type hinting:
public function actionIndex(array $types) { ... }
To supply the array value, we simply repeat the same option in the command line as needed:
yiic sitemap index --types=News --types=Article
The above command will call `actionIndex(array('News', 'Article'))` ultimately.
Starting from version 1.1.6, Yii also supports using anonymous action parameters and global options.
Anonymous parameters refer to those command line parameters not in the format of options.
For example, in a command `yiic sitemap index --limit=5 News`, we have an anonymous parameter whose value
is `News` while the named parameter `limit` is taking the value 5.
To use anonymous parameters, a command action must declare a parameter named as `$args`. For example,
public function actionIndex($limit=10, $args=array()) {...}
The `$args` array will hold all available anonymous parameter values.
Global options refer to those command line options that are shared by all actions in a command.
For example, in a command that provides several actions, we may want every action to recognize
an option named as `verbose`. While we can declare `$verbose` parameter in every action method,
a better way is to declare it as a **public member variable** of the command class, which turns `verbose`
into a global option:
class SitemapCommand extends CConsoleCommand
public $verbose=false;
public function actionIndex($type) {...}
The above code will allow us to execute a command with a `verbose` option:
yiic sitemap index --verbose=1 --type=News
Exit Codes
> Note: The possibility to return exit codes in console commands has been available since version 1.1.11.
When running console commands automatically, via cronjob or using a continuous integration server, it is
always interesting if the command ran successfully or if there were errors.
This can be done by checking the exit code a process returns on exit.
These codes are integer values between 0 and 254 (this is the range in [php world](,
where 0 should be returned on success and all other values greater than 0 will indicate an error.
In an action method or in the `run()` method of your console command you can return an integer value
to exit your application with an exit code.
if (/* error */) {
return 1; // exit with error code 1
// ... do something ...
return 0; // exit successfully
When there is no return value, application will exit with code 0.
Customizing Console Applications
By default, if an application is created using the `yiic webapp` tool, the configuration
for the console application will be `protected/config/console.php`. Like a Web application
configuration file, this file is a PHP script which returns an array representing the
property initial values for a console application instance. As a result, any public property
of [CConsoleApplication] can be configured in this file.
Because console commands are often created to serve for the Web application, they need
to access the resources (such as DB connections) that are used by the latter. We can do so
in the console application configuration file like the following:
return array(
As we can see, the format of the configuration is very similar to what we do in
a Web application configuration. This is because both [CConsoleApplication] and [CWebApplication]
share the same base class.
<div class="revision">$Id$</div>
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