FAST local development with Kalabox + Pantheon


Imagine you are an artist who wants to build a site for your studio. You don’t know anything about building a site and you are intimidated by all of these “hosting” plans. DNS WTF? Instead you download kalabox. It spins up a local development environment and provisions a basic panopoly site, perhaps with a good theming start point like kalatheme. Get some coffee while it spins up. When you get back open the site in your browser and start using all the magical panopoly tools to build your site. When you’re done click deploy and push the site up to Pantheon. You’ve now got a website on the internet!

Imagine you are running a team of 15 developers and building an enterprise application. You need everyone to be on the same local environment, you need solr, you need tika, you need … a great starting point. Imagine being able to use kalabox as a great starting point for your puppet manifests or chef recipes. Imagine being able to use your own custom provisioner. Imagine being able to test your site locally on Ubuntu LEMP one minute and Fedora LAMP the next. Imagine being able to deploy to your own OpenStack or OpenShift cloud. 

All of this is in the roadmap. 

This session will showcase how easy it is to get up and running with kalabox, some of its basic and power tools, where it is now and the roadmap for the future. 

Specifically it will focus on where we are now:


Kalabox ships as a one-click MacOSX installer (Windows/Linux in the works) built on Puppet source and powered by Vagrant. It isn’t MacOSX ports. It runs Linux in a  virtual box. The default server itself includes...

  • nginx
  • PHP5 (with common extensions including apc)
  • MySQL
  • Apache Solr
  • Apache Tomcat

This is similar to the Pantheon stack minus the key performance tools (Varnish, Redis, etc) which makes it a great tool for developing Pantheon sites locally. It is also one of the only stacks that ships with nginx and apache solr by default. The stack is already built and performance tuned for Drupal, which means that on a local rig it is very fast. 

The Tools

  • SSH
  • git
  • drush (pantheon integration, sql-sync-pipe)
  • PHPMyAdmin
  • webgrind
  • xdebug
  • nfs file sharing

Kalabox ships with some standard web tools like git and PHPMyAdmin but we also wrap in webgrind for easy profiling of code and nfs to expose your webroot to an IDE that you can run natively on your OS instead of inside a virtual box. If you use Eclipse, Netbeans or another Xdebug-compatible IDE, you can easily debug your code.


Kalabox also provides a node.js MacOSX application frontend so the user can easily spin up new drupal sites/distros, access utilities, tweak their environment and eventually deploy news sites into the cloud. 


Kalabox was built with Pantheon in mind and as a consequence Kalabox comes with extensive pantheon integration. Using your pantheon aliases file you can easily download and build any of your pantheon sites locally. Eventually you will be able to deploy new sites straight to pantheon.


  1. Start with and bounce between many puppet/chef rigs.
  2. Deploy your site to the cloud.
  3. Rejoice!
Schedule info
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