Considerations when Integrating External Repositories with Acquia Code Studio

Acquia's Code Studio significantly improves the development process for Drupal users on Acquia by using Gitlab’s CI/CD tools, which are specially adapted for Drupal projects. However, integrating Code Studio with external version control platforms like GitHub or Bitbucket can be tricky. This is because many companies have what I like to call "institutional requirements", which can make combining Code Studio with these external services complicated due to their different policies and workflows.

Fear not—this guide is here to light the way. We'll focus on GitHub to discuss considerations when syncing external repositories, and align CI/CD processes. Our goal is to enhance your team's productivity and deepen your understanding of Acquia's offerings, as well as exploring various CI/CD DevOps strategies for Drupal.

Understanding the Integration Challenge

Merging Acquia Code Studio with GitHub brings unique hurdles that impact both development workflows and the integrity of your code. This task goes beyond merely linking two platforms—it's about synchronizing distinct workflows to ensure smooth project management and maintain the highest standards of code quality.

Importance of Integration

  • Efficiency: A seamless workflow integration allows teams to concentrate on development rather than juggling between platforms, taking advantage of each of the platforms features.
  • Collaboration: Harmonizing tools improves collaboration by accommodating team members' preferences without compromising productivity.
  • Quality Assurance: Synchronizing code integrity across platforms ensures stability and reduces bugs, enhancing overall project quality.
  • Compliance: Proper integration ensures that code management meets both regulatory and internal compliance standards.

Key Challenges

  • Feature Redundancy and Gaps: Both platforms offer overlapping functionalities like branch management, yet differences in features can lead to redundancy or functionality gaps, complicating the integration.
  • Code Synchronization: Ensuring that code changes are consistently mirrored across Acquia Code Studio and GitHub is crucial but challenging, requiring robust synchronization mechanisms to prevent errors.
  • Access Control: Managing user permissions across both platforms adds a layer of complexity, necessitating careful alignment to maintain project security.

Effectively tackling the integration challenges between Code Studio and GitHub is key to optimizing development workflows, securing and standardizing code management, and boosting team collaboration. This equilibrium elevates the Drupal development journey by combining the strengths of both platforms.

Workflow Recommendations

As mentioned above, establishing a cohesive workflow between Acquia Code Studio and GitHub is crucial for the efficient management of code alterations, pull requests, and deployment processes. Below is a concise workflow designed to facilitate seamless operations across both platforms, complemented by guidance for conducting code reviews and engaging with team members new to Acquia Code Studio.

Managing Code Changes

  • Synchronize Code: Regularly sync your code between Acquia Code Studio and GitHub to ensure that both repositories reflect the latest changes. Automate this process using webhooks or scripts for efficiency.
  • Feature Branch Workflow: Utilize a feature branch workflow for new developments. Create feature branches in GitHub for specific features or bug fixes, then mirror these branches in Acquia Code Studio for development and testing.
  • Code Review and Merge: Once development is complete, submit a pull request (PR) in GitHub for review. Ensure that the PR is reviewed by another team member before merging it into the main branch. This practice encourages peer review and maintains code quality.

Pull Requests and Deployments

  • Pull Request Process: Use GitHub’s pull request mechanism to manage code reviews. This allows for discussion, feedback, and approval before changes are merged.
  • Utilizing CD Environments: Acquia's Continuous Delivery (CD) Environments are a valuable tool for developers, automatically creating temporary environments for new branches and merge requests. This automation, provided by Code Studio, allows teams to seamlessly incorporate it into their workflow. Additionally, by utilizing GitHub Actions and the GLAB library, teams can further enhance their automation capabilities within this process.  
  • Deployment Preparations: After merging PRs into the main branch in GitHub and syncing with Acquia Code Studio, use Acquia’s CI/CD pipelines to automatically deploy code to a staging environment for final testing.
  • Final Deployment: Once the code passes all checks in the staging environment, proceed with the deployment to the production environment through Acquia Code Studio, ensuring a seamless and controlled release process.

Code Reviews and Collaboration

  • Code Review Practices: Implement a comprehensive code review process on GitHub, emphasizing code quality, security, and performance to ensure all tests are passed before deploying the source code to Acquia. This allows Code Studio to conduct its tests, create an artifact, and facilitate deployment to the cloud.
  • Educate on Acquia Code Studio: For team members not familiar with Acquia Code Studio, provide training sessions or resources to help them understand its features, especially how it integrates with GitHub. This can include building your internal documentation, tutorials, or hands-on workshops.
  • Leverage Acquia’s Features: Encourage team members to utilize Acquia Code Studio’s Drupal-specific tools and features for development and testing, highlighting how these can complement the GitHub workflow.
  • Documentation: As mentioned above, keep thorough documentation of your workflow, including how code moves between GitHub and Acquia Code Studio, and any specific commands or scripts used for syncing or deployments. This helps new team members get up to speed quickly.
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically review your workflow and integration processes to identify areas for improvement or adjustment, ensuring your practices evolve with your team’s needs and the capabilities of both platforms.

Adhering to these workflow best practices enables teams to optimize their development processes, guaranteeing thorough review, integration, and deployment of code changes across Acquia Code Studio and GitHub. This approach promotes a teamwork-driven setting conducive to top-tier software creation and streamlined project execution.

Handling Common Issues

While integrating Acquia Code Studio with GitHub enhances workflow efficiency, it may also lead to challenges like synchronization difficulties, merge conflicts, and deployment discrepancies. Below are strategies for effectively navigating these obstacles with practical troubleshooting advice.

Syncing Issues

  • Automated Synchronization: Ensure webhooks and automation scripts are correctly configured. Regularly check the webhook logs in GitHub and Acquia Code Studio for errors and adjust configurations as needed.
  • Manual Checks: Periodically manually check both repositories to ensure they are in sync. Discrepancies can occur due to network issues or configuration errors, so a manual review can catch issues that automated systems miss.

Merge Conflicts

  • Preventive Measures: Adopt a clear branch strategy and ensure all team members are familiar with it. Regularly pulling changes from the main branch into feature branches can reduce the likelihood of conflicts.
  • Conflict Resolution: When conflicts occur, address them promptly. Use graphical tools or the command line to resolve conflicts, ensuring that the chosen solution maintains the integrity of both codebases. Educate your team on conflict resolution techniques and best practices.

Tips for Smooth Issue Handling

  • Documentation: Maintain thorough documentation of known issues, resolutions, and troubleshooting steps. Use the Codebase README file to give an overview of the process with resource links for troubleshooting. This can be a quick reference for the team to resolve issues without escalating.
  • Training and Workshops: Conduct regular training sessions or workshops on troubleshooting and problem-solving strategies specific to your workflow. This empowers your team to handle issues more effectively.
  • Collaboration Tools: Use collaboration tools effectively for issue tracking and resolution. Tools like Jira, Trello, or GitHub Issues can help manage and track the progress of resolving any problems that arise.

By preparing for potential challenges and implementing effective solutions, teams can sustain an efficient development landscape. Cultivating a mindset geared towards proactive problem-solving and ongoing enhancement guarantees that integrating Acquia Code Studio with GitHub will propel rather than impede your development ambitions.


The integration of Acquia Code Studio with GitHub significantly elevates Drupal development, blending specialized functionalities with cooperative version control. Achieving this relies on navigating integration hurdles with thoughtful strategies:

  • Synchronize: Ensure code consistency with robust syncing mechanisms between platforms.
  • Best Practices: Adopt clear branch management, use pull requests for reviews, and test deployments in staging environments.
  • CI/CD Pipelines: Automate testing and deployment with integrated CI/CD pipelines to boost efficiency.
  • Training: Equip your team to handle integration challenges, from merge conflicts to deployments.

Interested in exploring more

Embrace the process of integrating these tools, share what you learn, and together, let's improve Drupal development. Your insights contribute to our collective progress. If you find the provided resources aren't enough, remember, our Professional Services (PS) team is here to help. Reach out through your Customer Success Manager (CSM) or account team for further assistance.