Using Composer on Pantheon

I worked through and chased a few rabbits, and ultimately landed on what I think a pretty simple workflow.
The main thing I was interested in was how to use composer to effectively manage a drupal project on pantheon.

Composer is practically required for building the codebase of Drupal 8 because there are so many external dependencies now. Composer handles downloading the right versions of all packages.

The main steps

  • Create a new site at pantheon, selecting "Drops 8 Composer"
  • Install site using the UI.
  • Switch to git mode.
  • Clone pantheon repo locally.
  • Use composer locally to add additional modules and packages.
  • Commit updates to composer.json, composer.lock, AND the build/downloaded packages.
    • Delete any .git directories that composer added because of checkouts, before committing downloaded packages. If you don't, git will see them as subprojects, which are unsupported on Pantheon.
  • Commit custom code in modules/custom and themes/custom.

This ignores pantheon "upstreams" of any sort.
When a new drupal core release comes out, running composer update drupal/core will get it.
Same type of thing with drupal modules.

More options

  • Use a separate repo for custom code and set up composer.json to use it.
  • Keep a separate, slim repo with only the composer files, not the installed codebase.
    • Cleaner separation of source files and built out codebase.
    • More complexity in code management, because an additional repo or branches would be needed for tracking the built out codebase.
  • Create a custom upstream to deploy updates.
    • Adds a step to deploys.
    • Does not change how you assemble the codebase.
    • Probably not worth the extra effort for a single site.

More notes

  • Running composer directly on a Pantheon site looks interesting.
    • The composer binary is available on pantheon; you just need a plugin of some sort to use it.
    • Can use terminus plugin rvtraveller/terminus-composer.
    • Another example that works: web/private/scripts/deploy_product/composer-install.php