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Introduction: Professional Drupal 8 Development Tools

This Tutorial will show how to install the Acquia Dev Desktop(ADD) application for Drupal 8 development & use it to build a local Windows/Mac development sandbox environment. ADD can be used for professional module & theme programming.

Drupal 8 programmers who build new modules & themes for clients need a desktop platform that integrates with code editors, version control, WampServer, & Docker.

Install Acquia Dev Desktop to run Drupal 8 websites locally & transfer to remote sandbox or code repositories with CVS, Git, Subversion, etc. or using CircleCI tools.

Step One:
Download & Install Acquia Dev Desktop

Acquia Dev Desktop is designed to function as a full-featured local web server for hosting Drupal 6/7/8 files on a local desktop, laptop, or workstation environment.

The software is free to use under open source standards and may integrate with other programming tools like Eclipse, Laravel, Zend, NetBeans, or Adobe developer suite.

Required Files - Download:

Acquia Dev Desktop includes Apache web server, multiple versions of PHP, phpMyAdmin, XMail Server, & Percona MySQL database server.

Note:Acquia Cloud Desktop is the same as Acquia Dev Desktop, rebranded to include new support for Acquia Cloud integration for Agile programming teams.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

Download & install the latest Acquia Dev Desktop package from the link above for either Mac or Windows OS. Follow the prompt-screen process & open the new app.

Step Two:
Install Drupal 8 in the Acquia Dev Environment

When first launching Acquia Dev Desktop, the script will prompt for a new installation of Drupal. Admins can choose between version 7 or 8 in different installation profiles.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

Note: Unless there is a specific use-case scenario that requires it on a project, it is not recommended to install Drupal 7. Choose one of the three Drupal 8 options provided:

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

The Thunder & Lightning distributions for Drupal 8 are Acquia approved and designed to give a quicker start when building new sites by including more modules.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

Choose the Thunder distribution and follow the prompt-screens to install Drupal 8 on the local workstation. Open phpMyAdmin & create a new MySQL database:

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

Enter the database name & user in the Drupal 8 installation screen. Name your site & set the admin account with password. Save the site & proceed to the homepage to log any errors. The Drupal 8 website will now be installed & ready to use on Windows or Mac running on MySQL with your choice of PHP. Choose PHP 7.2 or the latest version.

Note: Remember to “grant all privileges” to the MySQL database user in phpMyAdmin.

Step Three:
Add Modules & Themes to the New Website

Login to the Drupal 8 website on the localhost using Acquia Dev Desktop. Module programers & theme developers can use any browser to test code locally in sandbox.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

In order to install new themes on your Drupal 8 website, navigate to:

  • Install new theme:admin/theme/install

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

In order to install new modules on your Drupal 8 website, navigate to:

  • Install new module: admin/modules/install

The Drupal 8 CMS will download the files from drupal.org to the local server & install automatically. If this fails, download the zip files, unpack, & install manually or use Git.

Step Four:
Use Version Control to Transfer Files to Server

Drupal 8 developers programming new modules & themes for clients will need to set up version control for Agile teams using GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, or similar platforms.

Port files in zip or gzip archives to move Drupal 8 installations between local environments, sandboxes, subdomains, & production web hosting easily with FTP or SCP.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

GitHub is the most popular remote code repository for projects but is not used on drupal.org officially. Open a GitHub account or learn more in the GitHub Guides section.

How to Install & Use Acquia Dev Desktop for Drupal 8

GitLab is the new CVS for drupal.org projects and the entire Drupal community will be transitioning to GitLab for version control on modules, themes, & core project files.

Conclusion: Compares to Docker, WampServer, & VirtualBox

Acquia Dev Desktop is one of the better choices for building a localhost Drupal 8 installation for Agile programming teams or professional PHP/JavaScript web development. The platform includes all of the components of the *AMP stack.

Alternatives are WampServer, Docker Desktop, Apache NetBeans, XAMPP, & VirtualBox primarily for running Drupal 8 on a local Windows/Mac desktop server.

Check out these top 3 Drupal hosting services:

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