Development Tools

Each Pantheon app you create also comes with a number of development tools you can use. Remember that these development tools run inside of their own containers so the experience will be slightly different than running the same tools natively. Please see the documentation below for some the differences for each command.

If you are interested in read more about how this all works, check out the core Kalabox docs on tooling.

General considerations

Here are a couple of small things to take into consideration for all your commands.

  • Your entire app directory is mounted inside each container at /src
  • We create and manage SSH keys so that we can use them for all the commands we run against Pantheon. These are stored in ~/.kalabox/pantheon/keys by default.

Here are a few examples of how these can be used:

# Export your database with drush to a files called dump.sql in your app root
kbox drush sql-dump --result-file=/src/test.sql

# Use an alternate SSH key with rsync
kbox rsync -Pav -e 'ssh -i ~/.ssh/mykey.rsa' [email protected]:/from/dir/ /to/dir/


Runs bower commands.

# Install bower packages
kbox bower install

# Get the bower version
kbox bower --version


Runs composer commands.

kbox composer

  • You can edit the php-cli config locally at config/terminus/php.ini. Just make sure you kbox restart afterwards.
# Install dependencies with composer
kbox composer install

# Get the composer version
kbox composer --version


Runs drush commands.

  • The config/drush directory in your app will map to ~/.drush inside the container.
  • You can add custom command files and view your aliases in config/drush.
  • There is a drushrc.php you can configure in config/drush.
  • You can edit the php-cli config locally at config/terminus/php.ini.
  • We automatically grab your Pantheon aliases files.

kbox drush

# Get the status of your drupal site
kbox drush status

# See all my Pantheon and custom aliases
kbox drush sa

# Download views
kbox drush dl views -y

# Get the drush version
kbox drush --version

Drush can be different from app to app.

We will try to use a drush version on a php version that makes sense for your Pantheon settings. That said all Pantheon sites using drush 5 will use drush 7 on Kalabox.


Runs git commands.

  • We will create a pantheon.kalabox.id_rsa ssh key locally inside of ~/kalabox/pantheon/keys and use this for all the git commands you run on this app.
  • We will use the name and email associated with your Pantheon account for your git commits.

kbox git

# Check the status of my git repo
kbox git status

# Stage all changes
kbox git add --all

# Commit all changes
kbox git commit -m "My amazing commit"

# Push master branch changes to some remote called origin
kbox git push origin master

# Get the git version
kbox git --version

Can I use my normal git?

We only officially support using kbox git but you may find it faster and more convenient to run your own local git.


Runs grunt commands.

kbox grunt

# Run a grunt task called "grunt harder"
kbox grunt harder

# Get the grunt version
kbox grunt --version


Runs gulp commands.

kbox gulp

# Run a gulp task called "gulp quietly"
kbox gulp quietly

# Get the gulp version
kbox gulp --version


Drops you into a mysql shell.

  • This command actually runs against the appserver container.
  • By default we run commands as the root mysql user and against your application database.

kbox mysql

# Drop into a mysql shell
kbox mysql

# Get the mysql version
kbox mysql --version


Runs node commands.

  • We use node 4+

kbox node

# Run an arbitrary node script located locally at `~/myscript.js`
kbox node /src/myscript.js

# Get the node version
kbox node --version


Runs npm commands.

kbox npm

# Install dependencies
kbox npm install

# Get the npm version
kbox npm --version


Runs php commands.

  • You can edit the php-cli config locally at config/terminus/php.ini.

kbox php

# Print out a list of enabled php modules
kbox php -m

# Run an arbitrary php script located in your code root
# We assume you are actually in your code root for this
kbox php hamsterdance.php

# Get the php version
kbox php --version


Runs redis-cli commands on your app’s redis cache.

kbox redis

# Drop into a redis-cli shell
kbox redis

# Flush all redis caches
kbox redis flushall


Runs rysnc commands on your files directory.

  • This command always runs relative to your files directory.

kbox rsync

# Get the rsync version
kbox rsync --version

# Sync down pantheon files manually
kbox rsync -rlvz --size-only --ipv4 --progress -e 'ssh -p 2222' [email protected] /media


Runs terminus commands.

  • The config/terminus directory in your app will map to ~/.terminus inside the container.
  • We will automatically log you into terminus with the machine token you used to spin up the app.
  • You can edit the php-cli config locally at config/terminus/php.ini.
  • By default we will set TERMINUS_USER, TERMINUS_SITE and TERMINUS_ENV to match the details of your app.

kbox terminus

# Refresh my Pantheon aliases
kbox terminus sites aliases

# Get information about my app on Pantheon
kbox terminus site info

# Get information about a different site on Pantheon
kbox terminus site info --site=myothersite --env=dev

# Verify that I am still logged in
kbox terminus auth whoami

# Get the terminus version
kbox terminus cli version


Runs wp commands.

kbox wp

  • You can edit the php-cli config locally at config/terminus/php.ini.
# Get the wp version
kbox wp cli version


Enables users to debug their php code.

Sublime Text

Install the Sublime Text xdebug plugin and follow the instructions there. You will want to end up with settings in your *.project config that look something like this:

      "max_children": 64,
      "max_depth": 8,
        "/code/": "/Users/pirog/Desktop/apps/picard-fan-site/code/"
      "port": 9000,
      "pretty_output": true,
      "url": "http://picard-fan-site.kbox/"

If the xdebug session is not automatically triggered on reload try loading the page you want with the XDEBUG_SESSION_START=1 parameter added eg http://picard-fan-site.kbox/?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=1


There are two ways to set up PHPStorm to use XDEBUG

Listen for incoming XDEBUG Connections

  1. Use the default xdebug settings

Default XDEBUG settings for PHPSTORM

  1. Click the “Start Listening for PHP Debug Connections” button
  2. Create a breakpoint
  3. Initiate a connection by requesting your site with the XDEBUG_SESSION_START parameter eg http://kalabox-drupal7.kbox/?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=1

PHPStorm will immediately pop up with this window; You may want to make sure File path on server is set correctly to index.php.

Listen xdebug settings

For more details see:

Start Listening for PHP Debug Connections

Configure an XDEBUG Server

  1. Navigate to Preferences -> Languages & Frameworks -> PHP -> Servers
  2. Click the ‘+’ to add a new server to the list.
  3. Name it anything you like. Configure the host to be the local domain of your site without the protocol. Ex: awesome.kbox
  4. Check the option that says “Use path mappings…” and a file browser will appear.
  5. Map the code directory to /code and /config/php/prepend.php should map to /src/config/php/prepend.php. Kalabox XDEBUG server settings for PHPSTORM
  6. Click Apply
  7. Naviate to Run -> Edit Configurations
  8. Click the ‘+’ at the top left and select PHP Web Application
  9. Configure the server to the one you just configured in steps 1-6 and give this configuration a name Kalabox XDEBUG server settings for PHPSTORM
  10. Choose your default browser and click Apply
  11. Start debugging by clicking the bug icon in the top right of the window or go to Run -> Debug (Name you configured in step 9) Kalabox XDEBUG server settings for PHPSTORM

For more details see:


  1. First get xdebug working.
  2. Edit <app root>/config/php/php.ini and add the following to the Xdebug section:
xdebug.profiler_enable_trigger = 1
xdebug.profiler_output_dir = /media/cachegrind
  1. Restart the app kalabox restart.
  2. Create the directory <app root>/files/cachegrind, and give it open permissions.
  3. Visit the URL of your app appended with ?XDEBUG_PROFILE=1
  4. Note the cachegrind.out.NNNN file created in the directory above.
  5. Use your cachegrind analysis tool of choice to find performance problems. E.g. Webgrind