Deployment workflow


Acquia will end support for BLT on December 31, 2024. For more information on how to replace your BLT implementation with updated functionality, see You don’t need BLT on Acquia Cloud.

This document outlines the workflow to build a complete Drupal application (plus supporting features, such as Cloud Hooks) which can be deployed directly to Cloud Platform. Collectively, this bundle of code is referred to as the build artifact.

The most important thing to remember about this workflow is that the GitHub and Cloud Platform repositories are not clones of one another. GitHub only stores the source code, and Cloud Platform only stores the production code (for example, the build artifacts).

Currently, this workflow can either be followed manually, or integrated into a continuous integration (CI) solution such as Pipelines, Travis CI, or Jenkins.

First time setup

You should have your GitHub repository checked out locally. Your Cloud Platform repository should be empty, or nearly empty.

Check out a new branch to match whatever branch you are working on in GitHub (typically develop).

Ensure your Cloud Platform remote is listed in blt.yml under git:remotes. For example:

  default_branch: master
    cloud: '[email protected]:project.git'

Creating the build artifact

In order to create the build artifact in /deploy, run the following command:

blt artifact:build

This task is analogous to source:build but with a few critical differences:

  • The docroot is created at /deploy/docroot.

  • Only production required to the docroot

  • (planned) CSS and JavaScript are compiled in production mode (compressed and minified)

  • (planned) Sensitive files, such as CHANGELOG.txt, are removed.

After the artifact is created, you can inspect it or even run it as a website locally. You may also manually commit and push it to Cloud Platform.

Create and deploy the build artifact

To both create and deploy the build artifact in a single command, run the following command:

blt artifact:deploy --commit-msg "BLT-000: Example deploy to branch" --branch "develop-build" --no-interaction

This command will commit the artifact to the develop-build branch with the specified commit message and push it to the remotes defined in blt.yml.

To create a new Git tag for the artifact (rather than committing to a branch) run the following command:

blt artifact:deploy --commit-msg "Creating release 1.0.0." --tag "1.0.0"

This will generate the artifact, tag it with 1.0.0, and push it to the remotes defined in blt.yml.

When deploying a tag to the artifact repository, if the config option deploy.tag_source is set to TRUE, BLT will also create the supplied tag on the source repository. This makes it easier to verify the source commit upon which an artifact tag is based.


BLT does not push the tag created on the source repository to its remote.

Modifying the artifact

The artifact is built by running the artifact:build target, which does the following:

  • Rsyncs files from the repository root.

  • Re-builds dependencies directly in the deploy directory (for example, composer install).

The rsync and re-build processes can be configured by modifying the values of variables under the top-level deploy key in your blt.yml file.

For more information about overriding default configuration, see Extending and overriding BLT.

Debugging deployment artifacts

If you want to create, commit, but not push the artifact, you can create a test run with the following command:

blt artifact:deploy --dry-run

This is helpful for debugging deployment artifacts.

Continuous integration

Instead of performing these deployments manually, you can enlist the help of a CI tool, such as Pipelines, Travis CI, or Jenkins. This will allow you to generate deployment artifacts whenever code is merged into a given branch. For information about configuring a CI tool, see Continuous integration.

Cloud Hooks

On Cloud Platform, Cloud Hooks are the preferred method to run database updates and configuration imports on each deploy. BLT provides a post-code-deploy hook that will run these updates and fail the deployment task if anything goes wrong.

To install Cloud Platform hooks for your BLT project, complete the following steps:

  1. Initialize Cloud Platform hooks by running the following command:

    blt recipes:cloud-hooks:init

    This will add a hooks directory in your project root based on Acquia BLT’s default Cloud Platform hooks.

  2. Commit the new directory and push it to your Acquia Git remote. Refer to the following example commands:

    git add hooks
    git commit -m 'Initializing Cloud Platform hooks.'
    git push origin

For consistency and reliability, you should run the same updates on deployment as you would run locally or in CI testing. BLT provides aliases for the drupal:update task to support this in a local environment and artifact:update:drupal to execute against an artifact.

For more information, see the Cloud Platform Hooks Slack example.