Build and deploy

The file provides a number of ways to control how an application gets turned from a directory in Git into a running application. There are three blocks that control different parts of the process: the build flavor, dependencies, and hooks. The build process will run the build flavor, then install dependencies, then run the user-provided build hook. The deploy process will run the deploy hook.


The build defines what happens when building the application. Its only property is flavor, which specifies a default set of build tasks to run. Flavors are language-specific.

PHP (composer by default)

composer will run composer --no-ansi --no-interaction install --no-progress --prefer-dist --optimize-autoloader if a composer.json file is detected.

drupal will run drush make automatically in one of a few different ways. See the Drupal 7 documentation for more details. We recommend only using this build mode for Drupal 7.

Node.js (default by default)

default will run npm prune --userconfig .npmrc && npm install --userconfig .npmrc if a package.json file is detected. Note that this also allows you to provide a custom .npmrc file in the root of your application (as a sibling of the file.)

In all languages you can also specify a flavor of none (which is the default for any language other than PHP and Node.js); as the name suggests it will take no action at all. That is useful when you want complete control over your build steps, such as to run a custom Composer command or use an alternate Node.js package manager.

    flavor: composer

Build dependencies

It is also possible to install additional system-level dependencies as part of the build process. These can be installed before the build hook runs using the native package manager for several web-focused languages. supports pulling any dependencies for the following languages:

Those dependencies are independent of the eventual dependencies of your application and are available in the PATH during the build process and in the runtime environment of your application. Note that in many cases a given package can be installed either as a global dependency or as part of your application's own dependencies. In such cases it's up to you which one to use.

You can specify those dependencies as shown below:

  php: # Specify one Composer package per line.
    drush/drush: '8.0.0'
  python: # Specify one Pip package per line.
    behave: '*'
  ruby: # Specify one Bundler package per line.
    sass: '3.4.7'
  nodejs: # Specify one NPM package per line.
    grunt-cli: '~0.1.13'

Note that the package name format for each language is defined by the package manager used; similarly, the version constraint string will be interpreted by the package manager. Consult the appropriate package manager's documentation for the supported formats.

Hooks supports two "hooks", or points in the deployment of a new version of an application that you can inject a custom script into. Specifically, there is one hook for build and one for deploy. Both hooks are optional.

The build hook is run after the build flavor (if any). The file system is fully writeable, but no services are available (such as a database) nor any persistent file mounts, as the application has not yet been deployed.

The deploy hook is run after the application container has been started. You can access other services at this stage (MySQL, Solr, Redis, etc.). The disk where the application lives is read-only at this point. Note that the deploy hook will only run on a web instance, not on a worker instance.

Each hook is executed as a single script, so they will be considered failed only if the final command in them fails. To cause them to fail on the first failed command, add set -e to the beginning of the hook. If a build hook fails for any reason then the build is aborted and the deploy will not happen.

The "home" directory for each hook is the application root. If your scripts need to be run from the doc root of your application, you will need to cd to it first; e.g.: cd web.

    build: |
        set -e
        cd web
        cp some_file.php some_other_file.php
    deploy: |

The | character tells YAML that the lines that follow should be interpreted literally as a newline-containing string rather than as multiple lines of YAML properties.

After a Git push, you can see the results of the deploy hook in the /var/log/deploy.log file when logged in to the environment via SSH. It contains the log of the execution of the deployment hook. For example:

[2014-07-03 10:03:51.100476] Launching hook 'cd public ; drush -y updatedb'.

My_custom_profile  7001  Update 7001: Enable the Platform module.
Do you wish to run all pending updates? (y/n): y
Performed update: my_custom_profile_update_7001
'all' cache was cleared.
Finished performing updates.

Hooks are executed using the dash shell, not the bash shell used by normal SSH logins. In most cases that makes no difference but may impact some more involved scripts.

How do I compile Sass files as part of a build?

As a good example of combining dependencies and hooks, you can compile your SASS files using Grunt.

Let's assume that your application has Sass source files (Sass being a Ruby tool) in the web/styles directory. That directory also contains a package.json file for npm and Gruntfile.js for Grunt (a Node.js tool).

The following blocks will download a specific version of Sass and Grunt pre-build, then during the build step will use them to install any Grunt dependencies and then run the grunt command. This assumes that your Grunt command includes the Sass compile command.

    sass: '3.4.7'
    grunt-cli: '~0.1.13'

  build: |
    cd web/styles
    npm install

How can I run certain commands only on certain environments?

The deploy hook has access to all of the same environment variables as the application does normally, which makes it possible to vary the deploy hook based on the environment. A common example is to enable certain modules only in non-production environments. Because the hook is simply a shell script we have full access to all shell scripting capabilities, such as if/then directives.

The following Drupal example checks the $PLATFORM_BRANCH variable to see if we're in a production environment (the master branch) or not. If so, it forces the devel module to be disabled. If not, it forces the devel module to be enabled, and also uses the drush Drupal command line tool to strip user-specific information from the database.

    deploy: |
        if [ "$PLATFORM_BRANCH" = master ]; then
            # Use Drush to disable the Devel module on the Master environment.
            drush dis devel -y
            # Use Drush to enable the Devel module on other environments.
            drush en devel -y
            # Sanitize your database and get rid of sensitive information from Master environment.
            drush -y sql-sanitize --sanitize-password=custompassword
        drush -y updatedb