Drupal 7: Implementing a Subversion pre-commit hook to integrate with Drupal

In this article I’ll show an example of how to implement a Subversion pre-commit hook to integrate with Drupal. Pre-commit hooks can be used to execute any arbitrary code, such as deployment procedures, archiving databases, etc. For this example, I will show how to check for the creation of a subversion tag and archive the database.

To get started I created a local subversion repository.

# create folder for subversion repositories
$ mkdir /var/subversion

# create the subversion repository
$ svnadmin create /var/subversion/project

Upon creating a new local svn repository, a hooks directory will be created. Example: /var/subversion/project/hooks

Inside this directory will be a bunch of sample scripts ending in “.tmpl” which contain example hook scripts. Here are the contents of the example pre-commit hook without comments:

$ cat pre-commit.tmpl | egrep -iv "(^#|^$)"
$SVNLOOK log -t "$TXN" "$REPOS" | \
   grep "[a-zA-Z0-9]" > /dev/null || exit 1
commit-access-control.pl "$REPOS" "$TXN" commit-access-control.cfg || exit 1
exit 0

As noted in the pre-commit.tmpl file, there are 2 arguments being passed to the pre-commit script:

[1] REPOS-PATH   (the path to this repository)
[2] TXN-NAME     (the name of the txn about to be committed)

I created a new file called “pre-commit” and added the following contents:


/var/www/vhosts/project.vm/scripts/svn-pre-commit.php "$1" "$2"

I then made the file executable.

$ chmod ug+w pre-commit

The above script simply passes the arguments to a PHP script contained with the Drupal project.

In my scripts folder (/var/www/vhosts/project.vm/scripts), I created the PHP script “svn-pre-commit.php” with the following contents:


// get args
$repo = $argv[1];

// define path to mysql backups
$mysql_backups_path = '/var/www/vhosts/project.vm/database';

// define path to drupal docroot
$drupal_docroot_path = '/var/www/vhosts/project.vm/htdocs';

// get changed path
// example output:
// A   tags/20110503/
$svn_look = `svnlook changed $repo`;

// define pattern to break apart svnlook changed
$pattern = '/^\s*([A-Za-z])\s*(.*)$/';

// execute preg match
preg_match($pattern, $svn_look, $matches);
$svn_action = $matches[1];
$svn_changed_path = $matches[2];

// check if a tag is being created
if ($svn_action == 'A' && substr($svn_changed_path, 0, 5)=='tags/') {

  // get tag name
  $exploded = explode('/', $svn_changed_path);
  $tag_name = $exploded[1];

  // change dir to drupal docroot

  // backup mysql database using drush
  `/var/www/drush/drush sql-dump > {$mysql_backups_path}/tag_{$tag_name}.sql`;


I also made this script executable:

$ chmod ug+w svn-pre-commit.php

Now assuming that my Drupal site is integrated with the subversion repository, and development is at a point to deploy/create a new tag, I executed the following command to create the subversion tag:

$ svn cp file:///var/subversion/project/trunk file:///var/subversion/project/tags/beta-0.1 -m "creating beta 0.1 tag"

To verify, I entered the directory containing my database dumps to checkout the result:

$ cd /var/www/vhosts/project.vm/database

$ ls -1