OSTips – Alternatives to Acquia’s DevDesktop For Local Drupal Development

Video Transcript:

“If you’ve installed or updated Acquia’s DevDesktop lately, you’ve seen this message:

And so you know that DevDesktop is approaching end of life.  

In this video, I’m going to give you two alternatives to Acquia’s DevDesktop For Local Drupal Development. You know I’ve used this software for years now and introduced literally thousands and thousands of people to Drupal using Acquia’s DevDesktop. It’s a shame that it’s going away, but we’ve got alternatives.

Let’s dive in.

There are two excellent alternatives to DevDesktop:

  1. MAMP PRO: MAMP and MAMP PRO are available for both Mac and Windows.
  2. DDEV-Local

The first option, MAMP PRO, offers a lot more flexibility, but it’s $89 USD, and an upgrade from any previous version is $39.50.  The Windows version is $79 USD. Here’s what MAMP PRO looks like when it’s up and running.

If you prefer to have a graphical user interface,also known as a GUI, then MAMP is the one you want to go with.  Adding a new site is as simple as clicking the plus icon just like in DevDesktop. The difference here is that you won’t get some of the tools that DevDesktop gives you built in. Composer and Drush both need to be added manually, but there is excellent documentation on doing just that.

MAMP PRO allows you to select:

  1. PHP versions
  2. Apache version 
  3. Nginx

You can have SSL certificates, you can create as many databases as you need, and you can even provide a public url or transfer the site to the cloud. Another nice thing with MAMP is it very easily allows you to update your php.ini files, set up op cache which is always an error when installing drupal when it’s not present, and the interface just gives you a lot of tools to work with right out of the box. Here it is drupal on MAMP:

This was installed using Composer, but as I mentioned you’ll need to install Composer manually if you’re going to use MAMP. There’s an excellent tutorial here by www.div.digital on how to install Homebrew Composer and Drush on your Mac or for Windows.

The second, and probably better option, is DDEV-Local.  DDEV-Local is absolutely amazing, but it doesn’t give you any graphical user interface. It’s all command line base. One of the best tutorials I’ve seen for getting DDEV-Local up and running on your site is the local web development book by Mike Anello that is included with an OSTraining subscription, or you can order it straight from amazon.com.   

It is a really terrific book that covers:

  1. The basics of DDEV-Local.
  2. Getting a new site up and running with DDEV-Local; either drupal or wordpress.
  3. How you can use Drush, Composer, and other command line tools including git right, within DDEV-Local.

It’s a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it. There is also terrific documentation at DDEV.com.

I was able to get a site up and running with DDEV as well, also installed via composer.

Both MAMP Pro and DDEV-Local took me about 40 minutes to get set up and ready using the instructions I found either online or in the book.

While not quite as convenient as DevDesktop, these two alternatives will give you long-term stability in your local host drupal environment. I hope this has been helpful. 

If you’d like additional training using Mike Anello’s book, OSTraining launched a new video course titled “DDEV Explained.”  Be sure to check that out.

Thanks for tuning in today.  This is OSTips from OSTraining, and I’m Rod Martin.”


  • Rod Martin

    Rod holds two masters degrees and has been training people how to do "things" for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, he grew up in Canada and now resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, in small companies and large corporations. His extensive open source experience includes WordPress, Joomla and Drupal and he really knows how to help you get the most out of the system you chose. Rod plays ice hockey a couple of times a week and rides his Goldwing motorcycle pretty much everywhere he can.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Anyone finding this article should also consider:
Lando – https://lando.dev/
Docksal – https://docksal.io/

Both are based in Docker, and have pre-built templates for Drupal 7/8/9 and popular hosting environments like Acquia and Pantheon.

2 years ago
Reply to  Eric

yes, it should

2 years ago
Reply to  Eric

Yes!! At work we use lando with docker

2 years ago

There’s also good old WAMP. Slightly more manual installation and configuration up front but it’s free and flexible. 

2 years ago

Does it play well with the new M1 chip?

2 years ago

Great information. Thanks for sharing. 

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x