Using Composer with Drupal 8 sites

Composer is a tool for managing PHP dependencies for your website or application. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on, and it will install and update them for you.

For full instructions about downloading and installing Composer for your operating system, see Composer’s Getting Started guide.

Using Composer with Acquia Cloud

Because Composer is not installed on Acquia Cloud, we recommend that you install Composer locally and use it with your local copy to perform updates and manage dependencies. You can then deploy your build artifact to your Acquia Cloud environments using the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature.

To follow best practices with Composer, you should maintain a source code (source) repository for your project that is separate from your Acquia Cloud (build) repository. Your source repository should contain only the minimum amount of code required to build your project, such as a composer.json file, composer.lock file, and any custom modules or settings. The source repository should not contain copies of your Composer dependencies. Your build repository (hosted on Acquia Cloud) should contain static snapshots, called build artifacts, of your entire codebase (including Composer dependencies) that are ready for deployment to Acquia Cloud.

To move code between your source and build repositories, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Copy the necessary files locally
  • Use a continuous integration service, such as the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature
  • Use a tool that automates this process (such as Acquia BLT)

It is possible, but not recommended, to use a Composer-based workflow with only a single repository. Using a single repository creates a brittle development workflow, which can make it difficult to maintain code consistency. For instance, with a single repository, the versions of dependencies in composer.json and the versions of dependencies actually committed to the repository must be kept in sync, which introduces a high risk of human error.

If you are unable to use the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature, you can use Composer based on the following methods:

  • Using Acquia BLT deploy commands, as described in the Acquia BLT Deployment workflow
  • Installing Composer through Live Development (not recommended) It is also possible to install Composer in Acquia Cloud, but to do so you will need to both enable Live Development and follow normal Git workflow for checking out the code (including adding the changed flags, committing the changes, and pushing to origin). After installing Composer, using Composer on Acquia Cloud requires Live Development mode to be enabled. For more information about working with Live Development, see Live Development workflow. By default the .gitignore file ignores the Vendor directory, which makes sense if you are using Composer on Acquia Cloud directly.

Using Composer with Drupal

In Drupal versions 8.1 and greater, Drupal core uses Composer to manage dependencies, which can include Drupal modules. For more information, see the following Drupal.org resources:

Starting with Drupal 8.4, a minimum version of Drush 8.1.12 is required if installed globally, and Drush 8.1.15 if required at the project level using Composer.

Migrating into a Composer-managed build

Migrating an existing Drupal 8 website into a Composer-managed build requires building a composer.json file that includes all of the required packages for your existing website. For more information about the migration process, see the Composer: Migrate an existing D8 site into a Composer-managed build knowledgebase article.

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