Using pipelines for site development and testing

The Acquia Cloud pipelines feature is available as an add-on for Acquia Cloud Enterprise subscribers, and requires Acquia Cloud CD. To obtain the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature for your subscription, contact your Account Manager.

The Acquia Cloud pipelines feature is a tool for developing, testing, and deploying websites or other applications to Acquia Cloud, and the feature enables you to complete the following actions:

  • Manage your application’s source code on third-party Git servers, and seamlessly deploy to Acquia Cloud.
  • Use tools like Composer or Drush Make to assemble your application’s components and dependencies automatically.
  • Use technologies such as Sass and Typescript to compile application source code.
  • Control which developers or teams have access to change different parts of your application code base.

How the pipelines feature works

Pipelines in Acquia Cloud execute instructions that you provide to transform application source code into a build artifact which can then be tested and deployed. Specifically:

  • Pipelines jobs are triggered by a commit or pull request to your connected code repository or, optionally, when you run the command line client’s pipelines start command.
  • The pipelines feature clones the Git source repository and checks out the specified branch. Initially, the source repository for your application is its Acquia Cloud Git repository, but you can choose to use GitHub or Bitbucket repositories as the source.
  • Pipelines looks for a file named /acquia-pipelines.yaml in YAML format in the selected Git branch and executes the instructions it finds there. These instructions can assemble your application from multiple code bases, transform source files into compiled files ready to deploy, and run tests. For more information, see Using a build definition file.
  • If all of the instructions in the YAML build definition file succeed, Acquia Cloud commits all of the files and directories created by the instructions as a build artifact, prepended with pipelines-build-, to a build branch in the target repository. Currently, the target repository is always the application’s Acquia Cloud Git repository. Other repositories cannot be targets.
  • You can view the results of each job with the pipelines user interface in Acquia Cloud, the status posted to your pull request on your third-party code repository, and the pipelines status and logs commands.

For a list of software available in your container, and resource limits on pipelines jobs, see Container resources.

Getting started

Use the following general steps to start using the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature for your website development and testing:

  1. Confirm that your Acquia Cloud account’s role has the Execute Pipelines permission. You may also need to be assigned the Add an environment permission.
  2. Optional: Connect your application to an external Git repository.
  3. Create a build definition file.
  4. Start a build job.


The pipelines feature executes subsequent jobs using the credentials of the user who first executes a pipelines build. For more information on how to update to another user, see User permission issues.

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