Up and Running with Acquia Dev Desktop

October 6
blog author

Appno Blogger

Appnovation Coop

Getting a Drupal site up and running is easier than ever with Acquia Dev Desktop. Configuration and local environment setup can be a daunting task to anyone new to Drupal website development, however with the introduction of Acquia Dev Desktop you can be up and running with a new Drupal installation in less than fifteen minutes! Whether you’re looking to prototype a new site, or to import an existing Drupal site, Acquia Dev Desktop provides PHP, MySQL and Drush to get started immediately.

Getting Started

For this blog post, we'll go through setting up a clean Drupal 7 install with the Acquia Dev Desktop 2 Release Candidate. One of the great features integrated in Dev Desktop is the ability to choose which type of Drupal installation you wish to use (including Drupal 8). To begin, visit the Acquia Downloads page (acquia.com/downloads) and download the Acquia Dev Desktop 2 Release Candidate and choose either the Mac or Windows version. Acquia Dev Desktop


Once the download has finished, click on the installer and run through the steps. During the installation, you'll be asked to choose a location for storing your Acquia Dev Desktop sites. For this example, I’ll be using the default /Users/myname/Sites/devdesktop.



After the installation is complete, launch Acquia Dev Desktop. By default, a welcome popup will ask how you where you would like to begin. Close this popup for now so we can take a look at some of the configurations available to us.

Choose Acquia Dev Desktop > Preferences (on Mac). Here you can select the ports, PHP versions and the log settings you would like to use. For the sake of simplicity we’ll close the window and leave these alone but know you can quickly adjust these settings within the Preferences window.

In the bottom left corner of the Acquia Dev Desktop dashboard you’ll see a plus symbol - we’ll click this and select “New Drupal site…” - let's go through the two step setup process:

Step 1: A distribution popup will appear and we can select which Drupal install we would like. For this post, I'll be using Acquia Drupal v7.31.37-6174 (version number may vary).

Step 2: The second step in the site configuration allows us to customize several key components. Let’s look at each one individually:

  • Local codebase folder: Where the site will live on our local machines. By default, Acquia Dev Desktop will place this site inside the folder specified during the installation process.
  • Local site name: Set the name for your Drupal site. By default the name will be the version of the Drupal installation.
  • Local site URL: Lsts the path where you can view your site running. This will vary depending on what you set in the Local site name field.
  • Use PHP: Set the PHP version.
  • Database: Gives the option to create a new database, use a mysql dump file or import from a mysql server. Because we’re doing a fresh install, I’ll leave this field alone.
  • New database name: Set the name of your database. This field will initially default to whatever text is entered in the Local site name field but feel free to change this to whatever you want. Once the fields are configured, we’ll select Finish and Drupal will download the version we selected.

Install Drupal

The last step is to select the Drupal install we just configured from the Dashboard, and click on the URL next to Local site. Drupal will run the install.php script and load the Configure Site page. Set your site admin username/email/password and click Save and Continue.


Congratulations you’ve successfully configured a Drupal installation with Acquia Dev Desktop! This quick step by step process allows Drupal developers to bypass a significant amount of tedious configuration and we can start prototyping or building a Drupal site in no time. However, this simplicity comes at a price. For Drupal sites with heavy customization the options available to us might not be enough for a “quick and easy” installation.

Paolo wrote a blog post entitled My Local Development Evolution (http://www.appnovation.com/blog/my-local-development-evolution) describing the positives and negatives when working with a complex local environments. That being said, when you need a straightforward Drupal installation for prototyping, training or a fresh Drupal site Acquia Dev Desktop is a great solution.