Project template for Drupal 8 projects with composer

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8.1.0 2016-12-18 18:10 UTC

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Last update: 2022-10-01 18:30:41 UTC


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This project template should provide a kickstart for managing your site dependencies with Composer.

If you want to know how to use it as replacement for Drush Make visit the Documentation on drupal.org.


First you need to install composer.

Note: The instructions below refer to the global composer installation. You might need to replace composer with php composer.phar (or similar) for your setup.

After that you can create the project:

composer create-project caxy/drupal-project:8.x-dev some-dir --stability dev --no-interaction

With composer require ... you can download new dependencies to your installation.

cd some-dir
composer require drupal/devel:~1.0

The composer create-project command passes ownership of all files to the project that is created. You should create a new git repository, and commit all files not excluded by the .gitignore file.

What does the template do?

When installing the given composer.json some tasks are taken care of:

  • Drupal will be installed in the docroot-directory.
  • Autoloader is implemented to use the generated composer autoloader in vendor/autoload.php, instead of the one provided by Drupal (docroot/vendor/autoload.php).
  • Modules (packages of type drupal-module) will be placed in docroot/modules/contrib/
  • Theme (packages of type drupal-theme) will be placed in docroot/themes/contrib/
  • Profiles (packages of type drupal-profile) will be placed in docroot/profiles/contrib/
  • Creates default writable versions of settings.php and services.yml.
  • Creates sites/default/files-directory.
  • Latest version of drush is installed locally for use at vendor/bin/drush.
  • Latest version of DrupalConsole is installed locally for use at vendor/bin/drupal.

Updating Drupal Core

This project will attempt to keep all of your Drupal Core files up-to-date; the project drupal-composer/drupal-scaffold is used to ensure that your scaffold files are updated every time drupal/core is updated. If you customize any of the "scaffolding" files (commonly .htaccess), you may need to merge conflicts if any of your modfied files are updated in a new release of Drupal core.

Follow the steps below to update your core files.

  1. Run composer update drupal/core --with-dependencies to update Drupal Core and its dependencies.
  2. Run git diff to determine if any of the scaffolding files have changed. Review the files for any changes and restore any customizations to .htaccess or robots.txt.
  3. Commit everything all together in a single commit, so docroot will remain in sync with the core when checking out branches or running git bisect.
  4. In the event that there are non-trivial conflicts in step 2, you may wish to perform these steps on a branch, and use git merge to combine the updated core files with your customized files. This facilitates the use of a three-way merge tool such as kdiff3. This setup is not necessary if your changes are simple; keeping all of your modifications at the beginning or end of the file is a good strategy to keep merges easy.

Generate composer.json from existing project

With using the "Composer Generate" drush extension you can now generate a basic composer.json file from an existing project. Note that the generated composer.json might differ from this project's file.

Creating a site profile

We advise that all projects be created as a Drupal 8 profile and that Composer be used to manage Drupal dependencies within the profile.

mkdir docroot/profiles/specialproject

Create a composer.json file in the profile's directory, for example:

    "name": "my-company/special-project-profile",
    "type": "drupal-profile",
    "repositories": [
            "type": "composer",
            "url": "https://packagist.drupal-composer.org"
    "require": {
        "drupal/metatag": "~8.0@dev"

Add this to your root level composer.json:

    "require": {
        "wikimedia/composer-merge-plugin": "^1.3.0"
    "extra": {
        "merge-plugin": {
            "include": [

This will allow you to maintain a composer.json file for your profile separate from the Drupal composer platform's dependencies while keeping the simplicity of running composer update from the root level to update dependencies for the Drupal platform and the profile at the same time.


Should I commit the contrib modules I download?

Composer recommends no. They provide argumentation against but also workrounds if a project decides to do it anyway.

Should I commit the scaffolding files?

The drupal-scaffold plugin can download the scaffold files (like index.php, update.php, …) to the web/ directory of your project. If you have not customized those files you could choose to not check them into your version control system (e.g. git). If that is the case for your project it might be convenient to automatically run the drupal-scaffold plugin after every install or update of your project. You can achieve that by registering @drupal-scaffold as post-install and post-update command in your composer.json:

"scripts": {
    "drupal-scaffold": "DrupalComposer\\DrupalScaffold\\Plugin::scaffold",
    "post-install-cmd": [
    "post-update-cmd": [

How can I apply patches to downloaded modules?

If you need to apply patches (depending on the project being modified, a pull request is often a better solution), you can do so with the composer-patches plugin.

To add a patch to drupal module foobar insert the patches section in the extra section of composer.json:

"extra": {
    "patches": {
        "drupal/foobar": {
            "Patch description": "URL to patch"

How do I use this on Acquia cloud?

Add this to your settings.php before deploying to Acquia Cloud. Replace AH_SITE_GROUP with the name of your site group in Acquia Cloud.


// On Acquia Cloud, this include file configures Drupal to use the correct
// database in each site environment (Dev, Stage, or Prod). To use this
// settings.php for development on your local workstation, set $db_url
// (Drupal 5 or 6) or $databases (Drupal 7 or 8) as described in comments above.
if (file_exists('/var/www/site-php')) {

  // As of 29 October 2015, Acquia Cloud does not support release candidates of Drupal 8,
  // so we must define `conf_path` function which was removed between beta15 and RC1.
  if (!function_exists('conf_path')) {
    function conf_path() {
      $request = \Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request::createFromGlobals();
      return \Drupal\Core\DrupalKernel::findSitePath($request, FALSE);

The Acquia Connector should be added to the root level composer.json unless your site profile can only run on the Acquia Cloud environment.

    "require": {
        "drupal/acquia_connector": "8.1.*@dev"

Do I need Composer Manager?

You never need this module, and it probably will not work correctly as there is no longer a composer.json file within the document root. It is incorrect for contrib modules to declare this dependency explicitly, because it is never the only way to run a module that has composer PHP dependencies.

In a module or your project profile, add this hook implementation:


 * Implements hook_system_info_alter().
function MODULE_system_info_alter(array &$info, \Drupal\Core\Extension\Extension $file, $type) {
  // remove composer_manager dependency.
  if (isset($info['dependencies']) && !empty($info['dependencies'])) {
    $info['dependencies'] = array_diff($info['dependencies'], array('composer_manager'));