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What Is Drush?

Drush, aka The Drupal Shell, is a command line utility and UNIX scripting interface for Drupal. It allows access to common Drupal features and tasks via the command line. It can help speed up common tasks for Drupal site-builders, developers, and DevOps teams. Among other things, it makes it easier to integrate Drupal into CI/CD workflows.

In this tutorial we’ll:

  • Learn what Drush is and what can be done with Drush
  • Install Drush
  • Find a list of Drush commands
  • Learn how to execute commands

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll understand how to install and use Drush with your Drupal projects, navigate the list of its commands and run them. This is intended as an overview. Other tutorials will provide more detail about common commands and use-cases.

Goal

Introduce the Drush command line utility tool to Drupal developers.

Prerequisites

Introduction to Drush

Drush is a PHP application that runs in your terminal and allows you to interact with one or more Drupal projects. Drush core ships with commands for performing various common tasks like clearing the cache, running database updates, and managing configuration. It also provides utilities for executing SQL queries and migrations, and for generating scaffolding code for frequently used Drupal core APIs.

The official Drush documentation is at https://www.drush.org/latest/.

The code is built and maintained by the Drupal community on GitHub https://github.com/drush-ops/drush/.

Why use Drush?

Drush allows you to speed up, and even automate, many time-consuming tasks that would normally require a user to perform a variety of steps in Drupal’s UI. As simplified example, imagine you want to enable a module. In the Drupal UI this requires that you first log in, then navigate to the modules page, find the module in the list and check the box for it, then submit the form, then often times submit a secondary confirmation form, and finally the module is enabled. This same task can be performed with Drush using the following command:

drush en {MODULE_NAME} -y

If you’re already spending a lot of time in the command line using tools like Git, this can be a lot quicker.

As another example, imagine deploying a security update to your site. After updating the code on the production site you need to make a backup, login, run update.php, import any configuration changes, clear the cache, etc. By using Drush you can script much of this workflow and make it part of your CI/CD process instead of having to perform the tasks manually. Learn more in Use Drush To Speed up Common Drupal Development TasksEnable, Update, and Manage Modules and Themes with Drush, and Use Drush to Deploy Drupal Updates.

Because Drush runs in the command line, it can be used in Bash (or other shell) scripts just like any other command line application. Most Drush commands are capable of returning their results in various formats (like JSON, CSV, and YAML) for consumption by other utilities. Learn more in Overview of Drush’s Output Formatting System.

For example, want to gZip the user-generated files directory but aren’t exactly sure where it’s located as that can change per environment? Use this:

tar czf files.tar.gz $(drush dd files

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