How to package a distribution on

Last updated on
9 January 2017

So you want to provide a Distribution on Great! The packaging system will take the code for a project, assemble it into an easily downloadable format, and post it to the project's pages on

Here are the steps:

  1. Assemble the pre-requisites
  2. Create a Drush Make file
  3. Convert to a Drush Make file
  4. Build and verify it works
  5. Commit your code to Git
  6. Release your code on
  7. Maintain your distribution

Step 1: Pre-requisites

Step 2: Drush Make file

A Drush Make file is essentially a "recipe" that explains how to gather up all of the dependencies for a Drupal installation.

See Full example drupal-org.make file for a working example of all valid properties supported by's packaging system. You can either create/edit these by hand, or you can auto-generate one in seconds by changing into any working Drupal site's root directory and running the command:

drush generate-makefile drupal-org.make

Drush make will inspect your current install and write a drupal-org.make file with the latest stable releases for all of the modules/themes it finds.

TODO: Except for #1432380: Drush generate-makefile does wonky things with "-dev" versions.

Edit this file and remove the projects[drupal][version] = "X" line.

If present, also remove the lines referencing your profile itself:

; Profiles
projects[your_profile_name][type] = "profile"

Step 3: Converting to a Drush Make file.

Once you have a valid Drush Make file, the next step is to convert it to one suitable for packaging. The version is essentially the same as a normal Drush Make file, but with a few important differences explained at distribution packaging requirements.

Verify make file

Update: You need drupalorg_drush, install instructions at #1432296-5: Create a release node for Drush or provide documentation on usage

To check whether your make file is, run the following command:

drush verify-makefile

If you run drush verify-makefile with no arguments, it will search for a drupal-org.make file (and optionally a drupal-org-core.make file) in the current directory and validate those for you. If you want to verify another .make file to see if it would work as a drupal-org.make file, you can provide the filename like so:

drush verify-makefile foo.make

Note that you must resolve all errors before proceeding. See Common Drush Make errors and their solutions for some common errors and how to fix them.

If all goes well, you should see the following output from Drush:

Makefile drupal-org.make passed.  [ok]


If your distribution requires patches to Drupal core, a -dev release, a checkout of a specific Git revision, or anything more complicated than an official release of core, you need to define how core should be built in a separate file called drupal-org-core.make. For example, it might look something like this:

api = 2
core = 7.x
projects[drupal][version] = 7.12
projects[drupal][patch][] =
projects[drupal][patch][] =

Step 4: Build it yourself

Although most potential errors will be caught by drush verify-makefile, certain errors will only appear when you actually try to build the .make file itself. The most obvious example of this is when the make file refers to patches that no longer apply. Even if they live on (the requirement for including them in drupal-org.make at all) you don't know if they apply until you have the code they're trying to patch. That requires actually building the make file, not just verifying the contents (which is all verify-makefile can do).

So, you're going to want to run Drush Make like the packaging system does to make sure there aren't any final errors:

drush make --drupal-org drupal-org.make temp-directory

If you've got a drupal-org-core.make file, you should try building that, too:

drush make --drupal-org=core drupal-org-core.make temp-core-directory

Step 5: Commit

Follow the instructions on your project page's "Version Control" tab to clone your Git repository. You'll need to add the drupal-org.make file (and optionally the drupal-org-core.make file if you need it) to the root directory:

git clone --branch 7.x-1.x [yourname][project].git
cd [project]
mv /path/to/drupal-org.make .
git add drupal-org.make
git commit -m " make file"

No copies of existing contributed projects should be checked into the Git repository. As a profile maintainer, all you have to check into Git is the drupal-org.make file, and the packaging script will automatically assemble core and all of the contrib modules and themes, external libraries, and patches it references when creating the downloadable file archives for a given release.

However, custom modules, features, and themes that are specific to the installation profile and not useful as stand-alone projects are managed differently. You can commit all profile-specific custom code to modules/ and themes/ directly inside the profile project's Git repository, and this will all show up at /profiles/profile_name/modules/ and /profiles/profile_name/themes/ when packaged with Drush make.

You can organize contrib and custom in subdirectories of modules/ and themes/ with any name you choose, such as contrib, custom, features, etc. For example, you can use drupal-org.make attributes like projects[views][subdir] = contrib which tell the packaging script to place contrib modules in modules/contrib/. You can then directly commit custom modules to modules/custom/ and custom features to modules/features/.

Step 6: Release

Once the drupal-org.make file (and optionally any custom code and/or a drupal-org-core.make file) is committed to the Git repository and pushed to, create a release for your project in the typical way. The packaging system looks in a profile's main directory (the same directory your .profile file is located) for the drupal-org.make file -- if it finds the file, then it will package the contents of the file with the profile.

Step 7: Maintaining your distribution

Fixme: Add information about: Documentation. Support. Security/maintenance fixes.

Example of fully packaged distribution DAF

1. Sharing screenshot of DAF distribution directory that contains all important files needed at time of packaging.

DAF Root Directory

2. build-daf.make (optional file): This file is used when you have more complex distribution code.

DAF build-daf.make file

3. drupal-org-core.make file: Defined core version of Drupal.

DAF drupal_org_core.make file

4. drupal-org.make file: Contains Contributed modules information.

DAF build-daf.make file

5. Add custom modules into /modules directory if exists.

DAF Custom Modules List

6. Similarly, add custom themes into /themes directory if exists.
7. Build the distribution using the same process used on, for that created file under scripts folder.

DAF Scripts Folder

DAF file

8. If required, we can test it before move on for final packaging:
Validated these files by DRUSH drush verify-makefile command, It shows me the following result.

Makefile drupal-org.make passed.                                            [ok]
Starting core makefile validation, please wait                   [ok]
Makefile drupal-org-core.make passed.                                       [ok]

drush make --drupal-org=core drupal-org-core.make test_core_dirdrush make --drupal-org=core drupal-org-core.make daf_core

Success: This command created "daf_core" directory contains whole core code. It means this command is also working fine for us.

drush make --drupal-org drupal-org.make daf_contributed

Success: This command created "daf_contributed" folder that contains whole contributed modules define in drupal-org.make file.

Now we are ready to go and can go with above Step 5: Commit that pushes the code on git. Finally, add release and packaging would be built without any issue. If there is any issue with your code directory or you don't validate your .make can face the following issue during packaging.

DAF Packaging Issue

Unsuccessful packaging.

DAF Packaging Completed

Successful packaging.

That's it.

Another example with Profile Builder

Profiler Builder is a module for automating the creation of installation profiles and distributions.
Distribution Name: foo

Profiler Builder module generates the following files for you:


Now, do some manual changes here:

Step 1: Look into foo.make.example file and look for ; +++++ TODO modules without versions +++++.
Step 2: Locate these "without versions" modules from the master distribution site, that are either not published on or custom modules, and place them in the same directory inside a custom folder(modules/foo). This is the same we followed in the first example above as for custom modules and themes.
Step 3: If needed, Create file and do the required changes in this. We can copy this file from any existing distribution available on
Step 4: Now you are done with this and you can contribute your distribution on including your custom modules.