Skip to content
This repository

Advanced Emacs minor mode for Drupal development

Drupal mode

Drupal mode is an advanced minor mode for developing in Drupal.

The approach taken is somewhat different from other attempts at creating a Drupal mode.

This mode is a minor mode and can be applied to all files in a Drupal project no matter what major mode they use - whether it be php-mode or something else.

Besides giving access to general functionality in all modes (i.e. clearing cache through Drush) it will also adapt it self to the major mode to enable functionality only for that particular major mode (i.e. adhering to Drupals PHP coding standards only in php-mode).

Drupal mode will not try to enforce specific ways of working with Emacs on to you. Emacs can be extended in a million different ways and you should use the parts and extensions that fit you and your working habits.

If Drupal mode recognizes you are using an extension that it knows about it will adapt the extension to be useful in Drupal mode and with Drupal. I.e. it will recognize if you have loaded etags support and setup your buffers to use the TAGS file in your DRUPAL_ROOT folder.

Drupal mode won't embed other libraries but will suggest some (see below) and depend on a few through the packaging system (i.e. php-mode).


The easiest way to install Drupal mode is probably to install it via the ELPA archive at Marmalade.

ELPA (package.el) is part of Emacs 24. For Emacs 23 see Marmalade for installation instructions.

Features of Drupal mode

Drupal Coding Standards

Drupal mode will make you write code that adheres to Drupals coding standards.

It does this by:


In php-mode code will be indented according to Drupals coding standards. If not it is considered a bug!

Fixing line endings

If your files are not written with Unix style line endings Drupal mode will ask your to convert them to Unix style line endings on saving buffers.

This behavior can be customized be the variable drupal-convert-line-ending.

The default is to ask if you want the file to be converted. By asking you we hopefully won't trick you into making a commit in your version control system consisting of a bunch of functionality changes with every line also changed by a new line ending. If you have ever read 1000 of commits/diffs you will appreciate this.

Delete trailing white space

In Drupal mode buffers we will enable Emacs' delete-trailing-whitespace.

This behavior can be customized be the variable drupal-delete-trailing-whitespace.

Search documentation

You can search Drupal documentation for the symbol at point by issuing C-c C-v C-d or M-x drupal-search-documentation or from the Drupal menu entry.

Files that are part of a Drupal project will try to identify the used version of Drupal core and look up the documentation for the corresponding version at

If the symbol at point is believed to be a Drush command the documentation will be looked up at instead. If Drush is installed it will identify the version of Drush and look up the documentation for the installed version of Drush.

You can change where to search for documentation by customizing drupal-search-url (besides it also has a predefined setting for and drupal-drush-search-url.

Clearing all caches

If Drush is installed you can issue a drush cc all from within Emacs by issuing C-c C-v C-c or M-x drupal-drush-cache-clear or from the Drupal menu entry.

Drush editing minor mode

If the buffer you visit is believed to be a Drush command (we think it is if its file name or path contains "drush") we will also enter a Drush minor mode.

There is currently no functionality connected to drupal-drush-mode.

Emacs modes and extensions that Drupal mode will enhance


If you have generated a TAGS file in your DRUPAL_ROOT folder Drupal mode will setup all buffers running drupal-mode to set tags-file-name to point to that TAGS file.

Etags is a built-in part of Emacs.

GNU Globals / gtags

If you load GNU Globals / gtags support in Emacs then Drupal mode will set gtags-rootdir to your DRUPAL_ROOT.

Drush utilities for Emacs users

If Drush utilities for Emacs users is installed Drupal mode will update existing tag files in your DRUPAL_ROOT after saving a buffer.


If ispell.el is loaded in Emacs then Drupal mode will set the language of your Drupal mode buffers to american as stated in Drupals coding standards.

ispell.el is a built-in part of Emacs. An external program must be installed to run the actual spell checking, i.e. ispell, aspell, or hunspell.


If support for flymake-phpcs.el is loaded in Emacs and you have installed Drupal Code Sniffer rules then Drupal mode will enable flymake-phpcs under php-mode.

For this to work you need:

Other takes on a Drupal mode

There are quite a few attempts at writing a Drupal mode out in the wild:

All of them more or less based on Configuring Emacs.

Development of Drupal mode

Drupal mode is actively developed at GitHub. Feature requests, ideas, bug reports, and pull request are more than welcome!

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.