How to package and use Yii framework in PHAR

July 20, 2013

Okay, today's the task: pushing all of 1892 files of Yii framework to the Git repository is a burden, and upgrading it to new version pollutes the git log with changes to files you don't care about. Let's package it into a PHAR!


Rasmus Schultz made a special script to package the Yii framework into a PHAR archive. I forked it to save for a future (at least my GitHub account will live as long as this blog).

You need just to put this script to the root of Yii codebase (cloned github repo, for example), and run it as usual:

php yii-phar.php

This will create the PHAR archive in the same directory.

Hovewer, beware the catch 1: PHP can refuse to create packed archive, emitting the following error:

PHP Fatal error:  Uncaught exception 'BadMethodCallException' 
with message 'unable to create temporary file'
in /path/to/your/yii/root/yii-phar.php:142
Stack trace:
#0 /path/to/your/yii/root/yii-phar.php(142): Phar->compressFiles(4096)
#1 {main}
  thrown in /parh/to/your/yii/root/yii-phar.php on line 142

I decided to just remove lines 140 and 142 from the script:

    echo "Compressing files ...\n\n";


And that’s all. I can bear with 20 MB file in repo, and don't really care about compression.


To connect the resulting PHAR to your Yii application, replace your usual:


With the following:

new Phar('/path/to/yii.phar');

Note that in new Phar() invocation you should use real path to your phar archive file, but second line should be written verbatim, as the PHAR which becomes created is being made with alias 'yii', using feature described in the documentation for Phar::__construct.

However, of course, there's a catch 2: Yii built-in asset manager (CAssetManager) has too specific `publish` method, unable to cope with custom PHP streams. So, we need the fixed version.

I decided to create a descendant of `CAssetManager` descriptively called `PharCompatibleAssetManager` with the following definition exactly:

     * Class PharCompatibleAssetManager
     * As we use Yii packaged into .phar archive, we need to make changes into the Asset Manager,
     * according to the
     * Details about packaging Yii into .phar archive can be found at
    class PharCompatibleAssetManager extends CAssetManager
      protected $_published = array();

      public function publish($path,$hashByName=false,$level=-1,$forceCopy=null)
        if($forceCopy && $this->linkAssets)
          throw new CException(Yii::t('yii','The "forceCopy" and "linkAssets" cannot be both true.'));
          return $this->_published[$path];

        $isPhar = strncmp('phar://', $path, 7) === 0;
        $src = $isPhar ? $path : realpath($path);

        if ($isPhar && $this->linkAssets)
          throw new CException(
              'The asset "{asset}" cannot be published using symlink, because the file resides in a phar.',
              array('{asset}' => $path)

        if ($src !== false || $isPhar)


            if($this->linkAssets && !is_file($dstFile)) symlink($src,$dstFile);

            return $this->_published[$path]=$this->getBaseUrl()."/$dir/$fileName";
            if($this->linkAssets && !is_dir($dstDir))
            elseif(!is_dir($dstDir) || $forceCopy)

            return $this->_published[$path]=$this->getBaseUrl().'/'.$dir;
        throw new CException(Yii::t('yii','The asset "{asset}" to be published does not exist.',

I’m really, really sorry that you had to read this traditionally horrible Yii code, but that was inevitable... :(

Main change was starting from the $isPhar = strncmp('phar://', $path, 7) === 0; part.

Now just link this asset manager instead of built-in one:

        'components' => array(
            'assetManager' => array(
                'class' => '',


Now your Yii web application uses phar archive instead of huge pile of separate files. They say that this increases performance, but my personal reasons was just to reduce the number of files inside the repository.

Previous: Real-world Acceptance Testing with Behat Next: Consistent UI with YiiBooster