Set up your local development environment

Last updated 11th May 2021


While Web PaaS is great as a tool for hosting an application during both development and production, it's naturally not the ideal place to edit code. You can't, in fact, as the file system is read-only (as it should be). The proper place to edit your code is on your computer.

You must have an SSH key already configured on your account, and have both Git and the Web PaaS CLI installed before continuing.

Download the code

If you don't already have a local copy of your project's code, run webpaas get to download one. You can also run webpaas projects to list all of the projects in your account.

~/htdocs $ webpaas projects
Your projects are:
| ID            | Name                       | URL                                            |
| [project-id]  | New WebPaas Project       |[project-id] |

Get a project by running webpaas get [id].
List a project's environments by running webpaas environments.

Now you can download the code using webpaas get [project-id] [folder-name]:

~/htdocs $ webpaas get [project-id] my-project
Cloning into 'my-project/repository'...
remote: counting objects: 11, done.
Receiving objects: 100% (11/11), 1.36 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Checking connectivity... done.

You should now have a repository folder, based on what you used for [folder-name] in the webpaas get command above.

You will also notice a new directory in your project, .platform/local, which is excluded from Git. This directory contains builds and any local metadata about your project needed by the CLI.

Building the site locally

Run the webpaas build command to run through the same build process as would be run on Web PaaS. That will produce a _www directory in your project root that is a symlink to the currently active build in the .platform/local/builds folder. It should be used as the document root for your local web server.

~/htdocs/my-project $ webpaas build
Building application myapp (runtime type: php)
  Beginning to build ~/htdocs/my-project/project.make.
  drupal-7.38 downloaded.
  drupal patched with install-redirect-on-empty-database-728702-36.patch.
  Generated PATCHES.txt file for drupal
  platform-7.x-1.3 downloaded.
Running post-build hooks
Symlinking files from the 'shared' directory to sites/default

Build complete for application myapp
Web root: ~/htdocs/my-project/_www
~/htdocs/my-project $

Because the webpaas build command will run locally, any runtime or tools used in your build process need to be available in your local environment, or the build will fail. It may also result in side effects, such as the installation on your local computer of packages referenced in your dependencies block.

If that is undesireable, a local virtual machine will let you create an enclosed local development environment that won't affect your main system.

Running the code

Web PaaS supports whatever local development environment you wish to use. There is no dependency on any particular tool so if you already have a local development workflow you're comfortable with you can keep using it without changes. That's the "untethered" option.

For quick changes, you can also run your code locally but use the services hosted on Web PaaS. That is, your site is "tethered" to Web PaaS. While this approach requires installing less on your system it can be quite slow as all communication with the database or cache server will need to travel from your computer to Web PaaS's servers.

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