Building your Drupal project in a known-state is the foundation of your Continuous Integration process. You want to write and execute tests---and you should!--but your tests won't mean anything if you cannot define and build inside a known-state. Get your system under control first, then we will talk about getting your Drupal application under control.

Ansible has obliterated any stale scraps of lame excuses you might still cling to when it comes to putting off making your environment configuration explicit and version controlled:

"I don't have time to learn a new language."
"We do not have any resources to manage it."
"The learning curve is too steep."

While these excuses may have (barely) held when the configuration options were Chef, Puppet, and Salt, Ansible is so breathtakingly easy (it is just yml), you are embarrassing yourself if you wait any longer.

So don't.

With Phansible, a point-and-click Ansible configuration maker for php environments, you can get going even faster with more time to shame others who are dragging their feet.

Local environment config in 3 Easy Steps

NOTE This particular example is tuned for a Pantheon environment. You should always tune your local environment as much as possible to your target production environment. Pantheon's architecture is opinionated toward performance. My preference is for highly opinionated software and infrastructure, so Pantheon is my Drupal hosting platform choice. I will walk through tuning a mod_php/Apache environment at some later point.

Step 1. Point and click config

Go over to Phansible. There are 6 configuration sections.

  • Machine Settings
    Under the vagrant section, change the hostname to something that reflects your project. I will call mine no-excuses. Bump your memory to 2048.

  • System packages
    We don't have a lot of options here. Add git and vim. We will manually add a few more that Drupal needs later.

  • Webserver
    Under Document Root, change it to /vagrant/www. Accept all of the other web server defaults. (The webserver defaults are nginx and php5-fpm, which happens to be Pantheon's architecture too. If you are partial to Apache2 and feel comfortable deviating from my instructions here, you have my blessing. There is not much difference where we are concerned here.)

  • Languages Choose and add the following configuration options:

    Php version: 5.6
    Composer: enabled
    Xdebug: enabled
    php packages: php5-gd, php5-cli, php5-curl, php5-mcrypt, php5-mysql, php5-xdebug

  • Database
    Install MariaDB. Set a root password that you will remember (this is just a local environment). Create a default database and username/password for your local Drupal project. (I, for example, always use default as the database name, username, and password.)

  • Timezone
    Set the timezone to wherever you are / wherever is closest to where you are. I am in Chicago, so I selected America/Chicago.

    Press the big Generate button.

    Go find someone to brag to about putting your system configuration into code.

2. Open up the zip package and add additional packages.

Open ansible/vars/all.yml.
To the php:packages array, add php5-dev.
To the server:packages array, add: [sendmail, drush ,unzip, zip, g++, libssl-dev, apache2-utils].

3. Test that this can stand up an actual Drupal

Make sure that the following are installed on your computer:

Go download the latest version of Drupal either with drush or from here. Unzip/Untar (if you downloaded without drush), move it inside your phansible directory and rename it www (remember when we set the name of the Document Root?). Your project directory should now contain two directories, ansible and www, and one file, Vagrantfile.

Run vagrant up.

When asked for a password, enter your machine's sudo password.

You may get the error ERROR: The file ansible/inventories/dev is marked as executable, but failed to execute correctly.. If so, just run chmod -x ansible/inventories/dev and start the provisioning process up again by running vagrant provision.

Watch as ansible builds your system. Go find another person to high five.

When it finishes, visit on your local. You should have a Drupal there ready to be installed.

Want to make sure you followed all of my instructions?

You can view/fork my no-excuses-example here. I feel confident that you figured it out.

Did something go wrong?

You may get an error like:

==> default: Exporting NFS shared folders...
NFS is reporting that your exports file is invalid. Vagrant does
this check before making any changes to the file. Please correct
the issues below and execute "vagrant reload":

If so, remove your exports file (on a Mac, that would be sudo rm /etc/exports) and run vagrant reload again.

You should take some time to read through Vagrant's documentation to bring yourself up to speed with the basics.

So... now what?

Sure you could point and click through the install (remember what database, user, and password you set up for MariaDB, or look at your code config inside ansible/vars/all.yml), but now that you have put your system requirements explicit (in code) and executable, don't you want to make your Drupal build executable too?

Of course you do. Read more: No Excuses Part II: Making your Drupal Build explicit and executable