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7.0.0 2016-04-20 20:08 UTC

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Last update: 2021-01-15 01:21:06 UTC


This is an example of a starting point for developing a Drupal project using Composer.

You can most easily start your Drupal project with this baseline by using Composer:

composer create-projectd dsdobrzynski/druposer your_project_name

Running this command will download the latest release of this project to a new directory called your_project_name and invoke composer install inside it, which will trigger additional scripts to create a working Drupal root in the htdocs subdirectory from the packages downloaded with composer.

We reference a custom composer repository in composer.json here. This repository was created by traversing the list of known projects on drupal.org using drupal/parse-composer, and has the package metadata for all the valid packages with a Drupal 7 release, including Drupal itself.

We use derhasi/composer-preserve-paths to preserve custom Drupal paths, and composer/installers to install packages to the correct location.

As you add modules to your project, just update composer.json and run composer update. You will also need to pin some versions down as you run across point releases that break other functionality. If you are fastidious with this practice, you will never accidentally install the wrong version of a module if a point release should happen between your testing, and client sign off, and actually deploying changes to production. If you are judicious with your constraints, you will be able to update your contrib without trying to remember known untenable versions and work arounds -- you will just run composer update and be done.

This strategy may sound a lot like drush make, but it's actually what you would get if you took the good ideas that lead to drush make, and then discarded everything else about it, and then discarded those good ideas for better ideas, and then added more good ideas.


Project Customization

You may want to customize a couple of things about your box first. The scripts are built to take most of the work out of configuration. There are pretty much two things you may want to do:

Getting Started Developing

This framework does not provide a dev environment.

It is also worth noting, if you are working on an existing site, that the default install script allows you to provide a reference database in order to start your development. Simply add a sql file to either of the following:

  • build/ref/drupalproject.sql
  • build/ref/drupalproject.sql.gz



This project uses the drop_ship module to handle the reusable part of deployment, so everything will get disabled if you don't define dependencies. The DROPSHIP_SEEDS environment variable (see directly below) should consist of only the top level project module and environment specific modules.


The Build and Deployment Scripts

You may have noticed that provisioning the Vagrant box causes build/install.sh to be invoked, and that this causes all of our modules to be enabled, giving us a starting schema.

You should note that build/install.sh really just installs Drupal and then passes off to build/update.sh, which is the reusable and non-destructive script for applying updates in code to a Drupal site with existing content. This is the tool you can use when testing to see if your changes have been persisted in such a way that your collaborators can use them:

build/install.sh                                # get a baseline
alias drush="$PWD/vendor/bin/drush -r $PWD/htdocs" # use drush from composer
drush sql-dump > base.sql                       # save your baseline
# ... do a whole bunch of Drupal hacking ...
drush sql-dump > tmp.sql                        # save your intended state
drush -y sql-drop && drush sqlc < base.sql      # restore baseline state
build/update.sh                                 # apply changes to the baseline

You should see a lot of errors if, for example, you failed to provide an update hook for deleting a field whose fundamental config you are changing. Or, perhaps you've done the right thing and clicked through the things that should be working now and you see that it is not working as expected. This is a great time to fix these issues, because you know what you meant to do and your collaborators don't!

The actual application of updates, including managing the enabled modules, firing their update hooks, disabling things that should not be enabled and reverting features is handled by drupal/drop_ship, which uses (a fork of) kw_manifests for providing an extensible set of deployment tasks that have dependencies on one another.

Because manifests can't receive commandline arguments, we pass information to them with Environment Variables and we provide an env.dist from which to create a .env file that our scripts will then source. This allows an operator with access to the target environment to update these tunables out of channel so that you can deploy any arbitrary revision to any environment.

Particularly, the list of modules used to generate the dependency graph of all the things we should enable resides in the DROPSHIP_SEEDS environment variable. You may notice that it's a list of one and that it's a poorly named do-nothing module with nothing besides dependencies. In real life, you would name this module something relevant to your project and it would be responsible for over-arching functionality or the application, like providing the minimal set of modules to generate the dependencies of everything that must be enabled for the application to work properly. You can think of this like an install profile that doesn't suck, because it's not a singleton, so with care, you can embed your whole project in another project that uses this workflow.



  • Change build/scripts/default_set_theme to a manifest
  • Make the README pithier, factor out discussions into an article or blog