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 ●  07 September 2015

Easiest ways to start playing with Drupal 8 and (optionally) PHP 7

Drupal 8 has been in development for a really, really long time. It's getting to the point where things are stabilising enough that we are seeing Drupal 8 sites in the wild (this being one of them). As of Sept 4th 8.x-beta15 was released, which provides a beta-to-beta upgrade path, so you will be able to easily upgrade to future betas and release candidates. There has never been a better time to start building on Drupal 8.

If you are feeling particularly brave you can run Drupal 8 alongside PHP 7, which is also in fairly stable beta state. PHP 7 is blazing fast. (This site runs on nightly builds of PHP 7, but I am a crazy person).

There are a couple of very easy ways to get Drupal 8 and (optionally) PHP 7 up and running, detailed below.

Disclaimer: while the core data model and critical APIs are locked it is generally advised to wait until a release candidate before moving critical production websites to Drupal 8.


Using Acquia Cloud (Free, no PHP 7 support)

Acquia Cloud now lets you install Drupal 8 in a free environment with a single click. Doesn't get much easier than that.

With the free account you get both a Dev and Staging environment, ssh access, and a git repo. You can even sync your new Drupal 8 site to a local development environment by installing Acquia Dev Desktop.

You can't try out PHP 7 with Drupal 8 on Acquia Cloud (yet).


Using Drupal VM to to install in local VM (VirtualBox)

Another simple installation method is Drupal VM. This tool will allow you to very quickly create a Virtualbox VM to play with or use for local development, along with some useful tools to get started.

Requirements:

  1. Clone the Drupal VM git repository 
    git clone https://github.com/geerlingguy/drupal-vm.git
  2. Copy the two example config yaml files into place
    cp example.drupal.make.yml drupal.make.yml
    cp example.config.yml config.yml
  3. Modify config.yml and change make the following changes (if you want PHP7):
    php_version: "7.0"
    php_packages:
      - libapache2-mod-php7.0
      - php7.0-common
      - php7.0-cli
      - php7.0-dev
      - php7.0-fpm
      - libpcre3-dev
      - php-gd
      - php-curl
      - php-imap
      - php-json
      - php-opcache
    php_mysql_package: php-mysql
  4. The auto-installation of `xdebug` and `xhprof` are currently not supported if you wish to run PHP 7. Remove or uncomment the lines from the `installed_extras` setting if you wish to run on PHP 7.
  5. Run vagrant plugin install vagrant-hostsupdater, this will manage your /etc/hosts records for you
  6. Run sudo ansible-galaxy install -r provisioning/requirements.txt --force [Linux/Mac only]
  7. Run vagrant up

Visit http://drupalvm.dev in a browser and you should be greeted with your shiny new Drupal 8 site.