Create and Automate with Acquia Developer Tools

The first article of a two-part series about developer tools that Acquia offers to help you create digital assets.

Acquia is committed to the success of your digital assets, so it’s no surprise that when you use Acquia, you don’t just get a platform. You also get a wealth of tools to maximize your developer experience, including Acquia’s own powerful and easy-to-use developer tools. In this blogpost, part of a two-part series about Acquia’s Developer Tools, we’re going to focus on the tools Acquia offers to help you create and automate digital assets.

Create with DevDesktop

This powerful GUI tool enables you to build locally and integrate easily with the Acquia Cloud Platform environment. Acquia DevDesktop has a full Drupal-specific stack that includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Also, attributable to its integration with Acquia Cloud Platform, Dev Desktop is the easiest method to publish, develop and synchronize your local Drupal websites onto the web. Key features include:

  • User-friendly GUI: Simple point-and-click interface for common development tasks.
  • Native LAMP stack: Prepackaged development environment with all of Drupal's system requirements.
  • Cloud Synchronization: Sync code, database and files between Acquia Cloud Platform and your local machine.
  • Debugging tools: Includes tools for debugging, like xDebug and Drush.

Create with Lightning

Launch your Drupal project on Acquia Cloud Platform faster with Lightning. Acquia Lightning delivers a powerful set of tools to your editorial team and site builders right out of the box so they can build Drupal 8 sites better and faster. Choose your page layouts, drag and drop digital assets, schedule content and preview the experience before it goes live. Some highlights are as follows:

  • Media: Extends Drupal core media capabilities by enabling upload and embedding of audio, video (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo), images and even tweets.
  • Layout: Use drag-and-drop tools to place and configure content on any page.
  • Workflow: Manage content using editorial workflows and scheduled publication.
  • APIs: Deliver decoupled applications faster by providing out-of-the-box APIs for content and authentication.

Create with BLT

Build, test and launch Drupal apps faster with a powerful and flexible CLI tool called BLT. Acquia BLT, available on GitHub, generates new Drupal projects using a standardized template based on Acquia Professional Services’ best practices. To improve efficiency and collaboration across Drupal projects, Acquia BLT provides both a common suite of tools and standardized structure. The tools and structure will help developers reduce incidents of duplicated work, speed up project configuration and onboard new developers faster.

  • Local Git Hooks: Validate code formatting, syntax and compliance with Drupal standards.
  • Testing Framework: Provides default configurations for Behat and PHPUnit testing.
  • Project Automation Tasks: Includes commands for tasks like syncing environments, compiling front-end assets and executing tests.
  • Deployment Artifact Generation: Automates creation of production optimized and sanitized application code.
  • Out-of-the-box CI Support: Preconfigured integration with Acquia Pipelines and Travis CI.

Create with Node.js

Node.js is an open source server-side environment (runtime) for JavaScript network applications. With Acquia, you can create and manage your decoupled Drupal app and its accompanying Node.js app all on the same platform. Acquia Cloud Platform Enterprise subscribers can leverage both the Acquia platform and Node.js to create unique digital experiences that better leverage the best in JavaScript talent.

With Node.js in Acquia Cloud Platform, you have a powerful set of tools to enhance your decoupled Drupal applications. You can also create standalone Node.js applications to share data with Drupal. Node.js applications in Acquia Cloud Platform provide the following features:

  • Server-side rendering of front-end templates written in AngularJS, React and Ember, or other front-end frameworks.
  • The ability to create powerful, flexible proxy layers between clients and Drupal for enhanced security and performance as well as to enhance your decoupled Drupal applications with improved speed, SEO, and proxying capabilities.
  • Websockets support for high-performing, low-overhead, two-way data transfer to clients.
  • Stand-alone Node.js apps for real-time communications (like chat servers), for analyzing statistics or analytics, or anything else.
  • Access to thousands of Node.js modules, through NPM.

Automate with Pipelines

Subscribers can use Acquia Cloud Platform pipelines feature to develop, test and deploy websites or other applications to Acquia Cloud. 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. GitHub integration allows you to submit and merge pull requests on GitHub to automatically trigger Pipelines builds. CDE integration empowers you to create and configure on-demand environments with Pipelines builds. 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 Platform.
  • Use tools like Composer or Drush Make to assemble your application’s components and dependencies.
  • Utilize 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.

Automate with Cloud Platform API

You can use Acquia’s expansive cloud API to script any actions you’d perform in the Cloud, like refreshing development environments from production or deploying code. Acquia Cloud Platform has an additional interface developers can use to extend, enhance and customize Acquia Cloud: the Acquia Cloud API. The Acquia Cloud API is a RESTful web interface that allows developers to extend, enhance and customize Acquia Cloud Platform. It includes developer workflow, website management and provisioning capabilities. You can use the Acquia Cloud API to do many of the tasks that are needed as part of your daily application development and continuous integration process, such as:

  • Workflow – Deploy code, databases and user-uploaded files across your development, staging, and production environments. The Acquia Cloud  PlatformAPI enables you to run any branch or tag from your Git repository in any environment as you can do from the Acquia Cloud Platform interface. This allows you to automate these functions, instead of having to log in to the Acquia Cloud interface and manually drag elements from one environment to another.

  • Backups – Create, restore and delete backups of your application’s databases. Acquia Cloud fully supports Drupal multisite installations, with as many databases per codebase as you need.

  • Retrieve Information – Access current information about your application and its environments, including deployed code, databases, backups and tasks.

  • Manage User Roles and Permissions – The Acquia Cloud Platform API allows you to work with roles and permissions as you would do from the Acquia Cloud interface. You can create and remove teams, add or remove members from teams, or modify which applications are associated to which teams. Automate any functions you perform on a regular basis.

Automate With Multiple Database Support

Acquia customers are able to connect their Drupal application to multiple databases to create multisite applications. A Drupal application’s database contains the application’s content, configuration and log information. When a user imports or creates an application in Acquia Cloud Platform, they have several environments to develop and manage your application, with each environment having its own database allowing your application to have several databases associated with it, depending on which environment they are working in.

When it comes to Acquia, navigate to the Environments page in the Acquia Cloud Platform interface to copy a database from one of your application’s environments to another by dragging the database between environments. You can use the Application > Environments page to add, back up, delete databases or restore and delete database backups.

Automate with Cloud Platform Hooks

Easily hook into Acquia Cloud Platform events, like code deploys or database copies. The Acquia Cloud Platform interface automates the most common tasks involved in developing a Drupal application: deploying code from a version control system, and migrating code, databases and files across your development, staging and production environments. Cloud Hooks are scripts in your code repository that Acquia Cloud executes on your behalf when a triggering action occurs. With Cloud Platform Hooks, you can automate other tasks such as:

  • Performing Drupal database updates each time you develop new code.
  • Scrubbing your production database each time you copy the database to development or staging by removing customer emails or disabling production-only modules.
  • Running your test suite or an application performance test each time you deploy new code.


Acquia has used our expertise to build the fastest and most secure Drupal platform and tools. Applications hosted on Acquia Cloud Platform benefit from having the right tools and the right configuration available out of the box. We want you to spend time innovating rather than tooling your applications. That’s why Acquia provides APIs, command line tools, integrations and GUIs to build, test and optimize powerful Drupal applications. There's no project too large for our infrastructure. Our tools make development simple without sacrificing freedom and flexibility. We only need one thing to put all the pieces together — you.

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