Information for: DEVELOPERS   PARTNERS

Using pipelines for website 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 performs actions you describe in a build script (acquia-pipelines.yml), hosted in your Git repository, as a pipelines job. Your build script runs in your container, has access to environment variables, and can perform multiple actions in a single pipelines job, such as compiling code, using Composer, and running tests. If the pipelines job completes without errors, the resulting code (a build artifact) is committed to your Acquia Git repository as a branch, which you can deploy programmatically or manually.

Example build definition files are available at Example pipelines build definition files.

With the pipelines feature, you can 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.
  • Use technologies such as Sass and Typescript to compile application source code.
  • Control which developers or teams have permission to change different parts of your application code base.
Learn more by visiting the Acquia Academy (sign-in required) for the Introduction to Acquia Pipelines video tutorial.

How the pipelines feature works

The Acquia Cloud pipelines feature executes the instructions you provide, transforming application source code into a build artifact which you can then test and deploy. Here is how the pipelines feature works:

  • 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. The instructions can assemble your application from different code bases, transform source files into compiled files ready to deploy, and run tests. For more information, see Creating and managing your build definition file.
  • If all the instructions in the YAML build definition file succeed, Acquia Cloud commits all the files and directories created by the instructions as a build artifact, prepended with pipelines-build-, to a build branch in the target repository. The target repository is 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 your Acquia Cloud account’s role has the Execute pipelines permission. You may also need the Add an environment permission.
  2. Optional: Connect your application to an external Git repository.
  3. Create a build definition file.
  4. Start a pipeline 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.