Installing a Module with Composer

Note: There is always more than one way to do things, like installing a module, with Docker. This is just one of many approaches for installing a module using Composer.

Composer is a PHP package/dependency manager employed in Drupal 8 and many other PHP-based applications. Some Drupal 7, and subsequently Islandora 7.x, modules may also employ Composer to assist with installation and module management.

Composer is included, or 'baked in', to ISLE's Apache container image. You can open a shell inside a running ISLE Apache container (see these instructions for opening a terminal in a container to use it. When you open a shell inside the Apache container you'll initially be logged in as 'root'; however, Composer should not be run as 'root' so once the shell is open you should switch to the islandora user. Do this by entering sudo su islandora, and your prompt should change to something like this: islandora@dd9ee02aa718:/$. You can confirm that Composer is installed and accessible by entering composer --version, and you should see something like this in response: Composer version 1.6.3 2018-01-31 16:28:17.

Example: Islandora Multi-Importer (IMI)

The Islandora Multi-Importer ( module uses Composer for installation. The remainder of this guide will demonstrate how to install and enable the Islandora Multi-Importer or IMI.

The installation instructions for the IMI module tell us to do the following in the container shell:

cd /var/www/html/sites/all/modules
git clone
cd islandora_multi_importer/
composer install

If all goes as planned your container now has the Islandora_Multi-Importer installed, but not enabled. To enable the module use Drush like so:

drush en islandora_multi_importer -y

It's also a good idea to flush Drupal's cache after installing and enabling new modules. You can also do this using Drush like so:

drush cc all

Other modules which use Composer for installation can be obtained in a similar manner.

Persistent Changes

Modules installed in this manner essentially become part of the container they're installed in. If the container is deleted the installation may not persist. However, in most ISLE configurations, like isle.localdomain, the Apache portion of the governing docker-compose.yml file reads something like this:

    image: islandoracollabgroup/isle-apache:latest
    container_name: isle-apache-ld
          - isle.localdomain
    tty: true
      - mysql
      - fedora
      - solr
      - apache-data-ld:/var/www/html
      - ./data/apache/log/apache:/var/log/apache2

The first volumes definition in this portion of the file instructs Docker to map the host's apache-data-ld directory to be reflected inside the container as /var/www/html. This means that any changes made inside the container's /var/www/html directory will also persist in the host's apache-data-ld subdirectory.

IMI's compose specification builds all of the module's components in subdirectories below /var/www/html, and the effect is that IMI will persist in ISLE as long as the host's apache-data-ld folder is maintained.