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Building, Testing, and Contributing

Testing Latest Commits on HEAD

There are several ways to use DDEV’s latest-committed HEAD version:

  • Download the latest master branch artifacts from Each of these is built by the CI system, signed, and notarized. Get the one you need and place it in your $PATH.
  • Homebrew install HEAD: On macOS and Linux, run brew unlink ddev && brew install ddev/ddev/ddev --HEAD --fetch-HEAD to get the latest DDEV commit, even if it’s unreleased. Since you’re building this on your own computer, it’s not signed or notarized, and you’ll get a notification that instrumentation doesn’t work, which is fine. If you’re using Linux/WSL2, you’ll likely need to install build-essential by running the following command: sudo apt install -y build-essential.
  • Build manually: If you have normal build tools like make and go installed, you can check out the code and run make.
  • Gitpod You can use the latest build by visiting DDEV on Gitpod.

Testing a PR

Each PR build creates GitHub artifacts you can use for testing, so you can download the one you need from the PR page, install it locally, and test using that build.

Download and unzip the appropriate binary and place it in your $PATH.

Homebrew with macOS or Linux

If you’re using Homebrew, start by unlinking your current binary:

brew unlink ddev

Next, unzip the binary you downloaded, make it executable, and move it to your bin folder:

chmod +x ddev && sudo mv ddev /usr/local/bin/ddev

Verify the replacement worked by running ddev -v. The output should be something like ddev version v1.22.5-alpha1-70-g0852fc2df, instead of the regular ddev version v1.22.5.

macOS and Unsigned Binaries

macOS doesn’t like these downloaded binaries, so you’ll need to bypass the automatic quarantine to use them:

xattr -r -d /usr/local/bin/ddev

(The binaries on the master branch and the final release binaries are signed.)

You do not typically have to install anything else other than the downloaded binary; when you run it it will access any Docker images that it needs.

After you’re done, you can delete your downloaded binary and re-link the original Homebrew one:

sudo rm /usr/local/bin/ddev
brew link --force ddev

Installing a Downloaded Binary in the $PATH

Normally, you can put any executable in your path, and it takes precedence, so you don’t need to remove or disable an already installed DDEV instance, which we will use here. This example uses ~/bin. echo $PATH and which ddev are valuable commands for debugging. Since not every distro has ~/bin in $PATH, you can create the folder and add it to your path in ~/.bashrc with these commands:

mkdir -p ~/bin
export PATH="~/bin:$PATH"

Next, unzip the ZIP file you downloaded, make it executable, and move it to a folder in your path. Check with echo $PATH:

chmod +x ddev && mv ddev ~/bin

Now, close and reopen your terminal, and verify the replacement worked by running ddev version. The output should be something like DDEV version v1.22.3-39-gfbb878843, instead of the regular DDEV version v1.22.3.

You need to run ddev poweroff and ddev start to download the Docker images that it needs.

After you’re done testing, you can delete your downloaded executable, restart your terminal, and again use the standard DDEV:

rm ~/bin/ddev

Open in Gitpod

Gitpod provides a quick, preconfigured DDEV experience in the browser for testing a PR easily without the need to set up an environment. In any PR you can use the URL<YOUR-PR> to open that PR and build it in Gitpod.

To open and work on DDEV you can use the button below. Open in Gitpod

If you want to run a web project, you can check it out into /workspace/<yourproject> and use it as usual. The things you’re familiar with work normally, except that ddev-router does not run.

A Gitpod dummy project for is provided by default in /workspace/d9simple. If you’re testing your own project, you will need to delete it to free up reserved host ports by running ddev delete -Oy d9simple. Then you can run ddev start to work with your own.

Making Changes to DDEV Images

If you need to make a change to one of the DDEV images, it will need to be built with a specific tag that’s updated in pkg/versionconstants/versionconstants.go.

For example, make a change to containers/ddev-webserver/Dockerfile, then build it:

cd containers/ddev-webserver
make VERSION=20210424_fix_dockerfile

Then edit pkg/versionconstants/versionconstants.go to set var WebTag = "20210424_fix_dockerfile" and

cd /workspace/ddev

ddev version should show you that you are using the correct webtag, and ddev start will show it.

It’s easiest to do this using Gitpod (see above) because Gitpod already has docker buildx all set up for you and the built DDEV binary is in the $PATH.

Pull Requests and PR Preparation

When preparing your pull request, please use a branch name like YYYYMMDD_<your_username>_short_description (like 20230901_rfay_short_description) so it’s easy to identify you as the author.

Docker Image Changes

If you make changes to a Docker image (like ddev-webserver), it won’t have any effect unless you:

  • Push an image with a specific tag by navigating to the image directory (like containers/ddev-webserver), and running make push DOCKER_REPO=youruser/yourimage VERSION=<branchname>.
  • Multi-arch images require you to have a Buildx builder, so docker buildx create --name ddev-builder-multi --use.
  • You can’t push until you docker login.
  • Push a container to Push with the tag that matches your branch. Push to <yourorg>/ddev-webserver repository with make push DOCKER_ORG=<yourorg> VERSION=<branchname> in the container directory. You might have to use other techniques to push to another repository.
  • Update pkg/versionconstants/versionconstants.go with the WebImg and WebTag that relate to the Docker image you pushed.

Local Builds and Pushes

To use buildx successfully you have to have the buildx Docker plugin, which is in many environments by default.

To build multi-platform images you must docker buildx create --use as a one-time initialization.

  • If you want to work locally with a quick build for your architecture, you can:

    • make VERSION=<version>
    • for ddev-dbserver: make mariadb_10.3 VERSION=<version> etc.
  • To push manually:

cd containers/ddev-webserver
make push VERSION=<tag>

If you’re pushing to a repository other than the one wired into the Makefile (like ddev/ddev-webserver):

cd containers/ddev-webserver
make push VERSION=<tag> DOCKER_REPO=your/dockerrepo

Pushes Using GitHub Actions

To manually push using GitHub Actions,

For Most Images

  • Visit Actions → Push tagged image
  • Click “Run workflow” in the blue band near the top.
  • Choose the branch, usually master and then the image to be pushed, ddev-webserver, ddev-dbserver, etc. Also you can use all to build and push all of them. Include a tag for the pushed image and GitHub will do all the work.

For ddev-dbserver

  • Visit Actions → Push tagged db image
  • Click “Run workflow” in the blue band near the top.
  • Choose the branch, usually master. Include a tag for the pushed image and GitHub will do all the work.


The instrumentation implementation is generated using the Ampli Codegen.

To synchronize the implementation with the latest changes at Amplitude, the CLI tool has to be installed locally:

npm install -g @amplitude/ampli

Make changes to the event definition using the GUI at

  • create a new branch
  • create or change events and properties
  • save changes to the new branch
  • update the implementation with ampli checkout <branch name>
  • make changes to the code

Once finished, save the changes to publish a new version of the definitions.

Afterwards the changes can be imported running the following command in the project root:

ampli pull

Once the changes are ready to be merged, merge the changes made in the new branch to the main branch in the Amplitude backend and switch back to the main branch:

ampli checkout main

Make sure the API keys are not included to the sources; they are linked during compilation using a GitHub secret.


There are two environments defined, DDEV - Production and DDEV - Development. Master builds will deliver the data to production, PR builds to development.

When working on Amplitude, please always make sure the correct environment is selected or you won’t see any data. Selection is possible on most pages.

User and event data

The first step is always to identify the device, this includes data like OS, architecture, DDEV version, Docker, etc., details are visible in the User Properties. The devices are called Users in the Amplitude backend. So every user represents an unique device on which DDEV is installed.

The second step is to collect data about the command which was called by the user and is delivered by a dedicated Command event.

The Project event finally collects data about the loaded project(s) which includes important configuration details like PHP version, database, etc.


Information about data debugging can be found at Ingestion debugger or via User lookup are the most useful options for DDEV.

Don’t forget to select the matching environment while debugging.

Examining data on

First, local ddev binaries have to be built with AmplitudeAPIKey set. Visit and select either “Production” or “Development”, then click the “Go SDK” line to get the API key. Then set export AmplitudeAPIKey=<key> and build the binaries with make.

Then run ddev commands as usual, and the data will be sent to Amplitude.

  • You can examine data on the local side with export DDEV_VERBOSE=true but it’s awkward. However, the actual data is always marked with AMPLITUDE: and the EventType will be Command, Project, or $identify (User data). For example, DDEV_VERBOSE=true ddev start 2>&1 | grep AMPLITUDE`
  • To see the data show up on Amplitude, you’ll need to ddev debug instrumentation flush.
  • To make it easier to find your data, use the “Development” key and set your instrumentation_user to a familiar value in ~/.ddev/global_config.yaml. For example, instrumentation_user: rfay would make it so you can find the user rfay.
  • To inspect data, visit “User Lookup”, ( and choose the correct source in the upper left (“DDEV Production” or “DDEV Development”). Then use “Search users” in the upper right to find the user you are studying. If you’ve used an instrumentation_user it will be searchable as “User”. (Advanced->where: “User” = “rfay”. for example). You’ll then have a page devoted to the events of that user.


  • You’ll want both your fork/branch and the upstream as remotes in Git, so that tags can be determined. For example, the upstream Git remote can be and your fork’s remote can be<yourgithubuser>/ddev. Without the upstream, Git may not know about tags that it needs for tests to work.
  • To run tests, you’ll want ~/tmp to be allowed in Docker. This is not normally an issue as the home directory is available by default in most Docker providers.

Build the project with make and your resulting executable will end up in .gotmp/bin/linux_amd64/ddev or .gotmp/bin/linux_arm64/ddev (for Linux) or .gotmp/bin/windows_amd64/ddev.exe (for Windows) or .gotmp/bin/darwin_amd64/ddev or .gotmp/bin/darwin_arm64/ddev (for macOS).

Build/test/check static analysis with:

make # Builds on current os/architecture
make linux_amd64
make linux_arm64
make darwin_amd64
make darwin_arm64
make windows_amd64
make test
make clean
make staticrequired


Normal test invocation is make test. Run a single test with an invocation like go test -v -run TestDevAddSites ./pkg/... or make test TESTARGS="-run TestDevAddSites". The easiest way to run tests is from inside the excellent golang IDE GoLand. Click the arrowhead to the left of the test name.

To see which DDEV commands the tests are executing, set the environment variable DDEV_DEBUG=true.

Use GOTEST_SHORT=true to run one CMS in each test, or GOTEST_SHORT=<integer> to run exactly one project type from the list of project types in the TestSites array. For example, GOTEST_SHORT=5 make test TESTARGS="-run TestDdevFullSiteSetup" will run only TestDdevFullSiteSetup against TYPO3.

To run a test (in the cmd package) against a individually-compiled DDEV binary, set the DDEV_BINARY_FULLPATH environment variable, for example DDEV_BINARY_FULLPATH=$PWD/.gotmp/bin/linux_amd64/ddev make testcmd.

The easiest way to run tests is using GoLand (or VS Code) with their built-in test runners and debuggers. You can step through a specific test; you can stop at the point before the failure and experiment with the site that the test has set up.

Automated Testing

Anybody can view the CircleCI automated tests, and they usually show up any problems that are not OS-specific. Click through on the testing section of the PR to see them.

The Buildkite automated tests require special access, which we typically grant to any PR contributor that asks for it.

Docker Image Development

The Docker images that DDEV uses are included in the containers/ directory:

  • containers/ddev-php-base the base build for ddev-webserver.
  • containers/ddev-webserver provides the web servers for per-project web containers.
  • containers/ddev-dbserver provides the db container for per-project databases.
  • containers/ddev-nginx-proxy-router is the (deprecated) the nginx-proxy router image.
  • containers/ddev-ssh-agent provides a single in-Docker-network SSH agent so projects can use your SSH keys.
  • containers/ddev-traefik-router is the current Traefik-based router image.

When changes are made to an image, they have to be temporarily pushed to a tag—ideally with the same as the branch name of the PR—and the tag updated in pkg/versionconstants/versionconstants.go. Please ask if you need a container pushed to support a pull request.

Pull Request Pro Tips

  • Fork the repository and clone it locally. Connect your local to the original ‘upstream’ repository by adding it as a remote, and pull upstream changes often so you stay up to date and reduce the likelihood of conflicts when you submit your pull request. See more detailed instructions here.
  • Create a branch for your edits.
  • Be clear about the problem and how someone can recreate it, or why your feature will help. Be equally clear about the steps you took to make your changes.
  • It’s best to test. Run your changes against any existing tests and create new tests when needed. Whether tests exist or not, make sure your changes don’t break the existing project.

Open Pull Requests

Once you’ve opened a pull request, a discussion will start around your proposed changes. Other contributors and users may chime in, but ultimately the decision is made by the maintainer(s). You may be asked to make some changes to your pull request. If so, add more commits to your branch and push them. They’ll automatically go into the existing pull request.

If your pull request is merged, great! If not, no sweat; it may not be what the project maintainer had in mind, or they were already working on it. This happens, so our recommendation is to take any feedback you’ve received and go forth and pull request again. Or create your own open source project.

Pull Request Title Guidelines

We have very precise rules over how our PR titles (and thus master-branch commits) are to be formatted. This leads to more readable messages that are easy to follow when looking through the project history. But also, we use the master-branch Git commit messages to generate the changelog for the releases.

The pull request title must follow this convention which is based on the Conventional Commits specification:

<type>[optional !]: <description>[, fixes #<issue>]


  • build: bump mutagen to 0.17.2
  • ci: enforce commit message convention, fixes #5037
  • docs: change code refs of Mac M1 to Apple Silicon
  • feat: allow multiple upload dirs, fixes #4190, fixes #4796
  • fix: create upload_dir if it doesn't exist in ddev composer create, fixes #5031
  • refactor: add new Amplitude Property DDEV-Environment
  • test: optimize caching of downloaded assets


Must be one of the following:

  • build: Changes that affect the build or external dependencies
  • ci: Changes to our CI configuration files and scripts
  • docs: Documentation only changes
  • feat: A new feature
  • fix: A bugfix
  • refactor: A code change that neither fixes a bug nor adds a feature
  • test: Adding missing tests or correcting existing tests

Regarding SemVer, all types above except feat increase the patch version, feat increases the minor version.


No scope must be used.

Breaking Changes

Breaking changes must have a ! appended after type/scope.

Regarding SemVer, breaking changes increase the major version.

Subject / Description

The subject contains a succinct description of the change:

  • use the imperative, present tense: “change” not “changed” nor “changes”
  • don’t capitalize the first letter
  • no dot (.) at the end

If an issue exists for the change, , fixes #<issue number> must be appended to the subject.


If the commit reverts a previous commit, it should begin with revert:, followed by the header of the reverted commit. In the body it should say: This reverts commit <hash>., where the hash is the SHA of the commit being reverted.

Coding Style

Unless explicitly stated, we follow all coding guidelines from the Go community. While some of these standards may seem arbitrary, they somehow seem to result in a solid, consistent codebase.

It is possible that the codebase does not currently comply with these guidelines. We are not looking for a massive PR that fixes this since that goes against the spirit of the guidelines. All new contributions should make a best effort to clean up and make the codebase better than they left it. Obviously, apply your best judgment. Remember, the goal here is to make the codebase easier for humans to navigate and understand. Always keep that in mind when nudging others to comply.

Use make staticrequired to ensure that your code can pass the required static analysis tests.

The rules:

  1. All code should be formatted with gofmt -s.
  2. All code should pass the default levels of golint.
  3. All code should follow the guidelines covered in Effective Go and Go Code Review Comments.
  4. Comment the code. Tell us the why, the history and the context.
  5. Document all declarations and methods, even private ones. Declare expectations, caveats and anything else that may be important. If a type gets exported, having the comments already there will ensure it’s ready.
  6. Variable name length should be proportional to its context and no longer. noCommaALongVariableNameLikeThisIsNotMoreClearWhenASimpleCommentWouldDo. In practice, short methods will have short variable names and globals will have longer names.
  7. No underscores in package names. If you need a compound name, step back, and re-examine why you need a compound name. If you still think you need a compound name, lose the underscore.
  8. All tests should run with go test and outside tooling should not be required. No, we don’t need another unit testing framework. Assertion packages are acceptable if they provide real incremental value.
  9. Even though we call these “rules” above, they are guidelines. Since you’ve read all the rules, you now know that.

If you are having trouble getting into the mood of idiomatic Go, we recommend reading through Effective Go. The Go Blog is also a great resource. Drinking the kool-aid is a lot easier than going thirsty.

Last update: November 23, 2023