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Installation from Source Control


SilverStripe core (and most of its modules) use git to version control their source code. We require you to use this method for any patch contributions, to ensure you're working on the latest codebase, and the problem you're looking at is not already fixed.

For getting a project up and running quickly with a release, you are typically best off with the official If you want to get the "latest and greatest" pre-release code (either on a release branch, or on "trunk"), you need to use our version control.

**Warning**: These instructions are for intermediate to advanced users only, and require some knowledge of version control and using command line tools.

See frequently asked questions below.

The core and its parts

SilverStripe core is currently hosted on The core consists of four parts:

First, you'll have to decide what you want to do with your project:

These options aren't very clear cut, you can mix-and-match approaches to suit your needs (e.g. core modules are downloaded as files, but your own modules are still managed through svn:externals).


  • A git client to check out the core repositories, see "Getting started with Git and Github".
  • A webserver+database environment to run SilverStripe (see server requirements).
  • The php commandline utility (to run scripts in the tools/ folder)
  • (optional) Piston (website): A thirdparty tool to manage files from an external repository. It is our recommended way to start your own project, and still provide an easy way to update from our repository. You will need Ruby and the "Rubygems" package manager to install it: gem install piston Note for Windows users: The installation process assumes a Linux/Unix/OSX system. Most commands are the same for Windows, but you will have to use the *.bat scripts instead for anything in the tools/ folder (e.g. tools/new-project.bat instead of tools/new-project).
Scripts in the `tools/` folder are still under development and might change over time.

Option 1: Installation for new projects

Your own projects are typically hosted in a version control system of your choice, with SilverStripe files copied or linked into that repository. We assume you already have an empty repository set up, either in git or subversion.

If you don't use version control, we recommend that you stick to the official instead.

Step 1: Getting the installer

  • Create a new project repository in your own version control (we assume the working copy folder is called my-silverstripe-project/)
  • Download and extract silverstripe-installer master or the latest release.
  • Add and commit the files to your repository

Step 2: Installing phing with git version control support

Run the following commands to install the Phing build system:

sudo pear channel-discover
sudo pear install phing/phing
sudo pear install VersionControl_Git-0.4.4

Step 3: Getting the required modules

Run the following command to download all core dependencies using Phing:

phing update_modules

This will add framework, cms and the simple theme to your project.

Step 4: Committing the modules

Some files in your project will be unversioned after running the Phing script and need to be added to your own repository. The commands depend on your repository type:

# for subversion
cd my-silverstripe-project/
svn add *
svn commit -m "adding configuration files generated by phing"

# for git
cd my-silverstripe-project/
git add .
git commit -m "adding configuration files generated by phing"

Step 5: Switch branches

The Phing script makes it easy to switch branches and/or modules. Just edit the dependent-modules file in your project's root folder. This file contains documentation about how to specify which modules (and which branches) you want to include in the project. After updating the file run the phing update_modules command again.

Note: Phing can do some more useful things. Run phing help to see everything you can do with it.

Step 6: Running the web-based installer

You can now run through the web-based installer for your operating system of choice (instructions).

Option 2: Installation for contributions

This way of installing SilverStripe will allow you to commit back directly to version control for a module. We recommend it for module and core development (as opposed to development on a client project).

Step 1: Forking the installer and projects

First of all, you need to fork the installer and modules into your own github account, so you can push changes ( is only writeable by the core team).

A fork gives you write access to your own repository copy, and makes it efficient to contribute back changes. This approach won't add the modules to version control in the containing installer folder, which means it only works for local development.

Note: You only need to fork the modules you actually plan to work on, feel free to keep the original repository URLs for all other modules.

Step 2: Getting the installer and required modules

To get started you just need to check out your fork of the installer project (this will take a minute or two). This folder will be your webroot, and eventually contain all other modules. Please replace <username> below with your github username.

git clone<username>/silverstripe-installer.git my-silverstripe-project
cd my-silverstripe-project
git clone<username>/sapphire.git framework
git clone<username>/silverstripe-cms.git cms
git clone<username>/silverstripe-simple.git themes/simple

Now you need to add the original repository as upstream, so you can keep your fork updated later on.

cd my-silverstripe-project
(git remote add upstream git:// && git fetch upstream)
(cd framework && git remote add upstream git:// && git fetch upstream)
(cd cms && git remote add upstream git:// && git fetch upstream)
(cd themes/simple && git remote add upstream git://

Now that you're set up, please read our "Contributing Code" guide, as well as our general "Contributor guidelines". Please read "Module installation" to find out how to install additional modules like blog or forum from source.

Step 3: Committing the modules

You don't need to commit the module code into the repository, as our project is only for local development. Changes within the module code are committed back directly to their own repository, not into the installer project. To the installer project, these modules are unversioned files (although you can explicitly add them to .gitignore as well).

Step 4: Switch branches

By default, the "master" is checked out, which contains the latest code. You can optionally select a "release branch" to work on. Any work happens on a local branch, that you have to create first:

cd my-silverstripe-project
git checkout -b 2.4 origin/2.4
(cd framework && git checkout -b 2.4 origin/2.4)
(cd cms && git checkout -b 2.4 origin/2.4)
(cd themes/simple && git checkout -b 2.4 origin/2.4)
# repeat for all modules in your project...

After creating the local branch, you can simply switch between branches:

cd my-silverstripe-project
git checkout 2.4
(cd framework && git checkout 2.4)
(cd cms && git checkout 2.4)
(cd themes/simple && git checkout 2.4)
# repeat for all modules in your project...

To switch back to master:

cd my-silverstripe-project
git checkout master
(cd framework && git checkout master)
(cd cms && git checkout master)
(cd themes/simple && git checkout master)
# repeat for all modules in your project...

You can't switch branches if your working copy has local changes (typically in mysite/_config.php). Either revert these changes before switching, or temporarily store them with git stash. Once you switch back you can retrieve these changes via git stash pop (see further instructions on git stash).

Step 5: Running the web-based installer

You can now run through the web-based installer for your operating system of choice (instructions).

Updating from source

The tools/ scripts provide an easy start, but don't allow you to add, remove or update modules. Please read the following instruction on how to udpate modules and the installer depending on your setup.

Updating the installer

If you've done a straight git clone as described above, the update process is very simple:

cd my-silverstripe-project/
git pull origin

If you have copied the installer files into a new project, we recommend to repeat the copying process manually.

Updating modules via git

In case you chose the "Installation for contributions" option, all modules in your project will be standard git repositories, and you can update them as usual.

cd my-silverstripe-project/framework
git pull

Updating modules via piston or download

For the "Installation for a new project" option, modules like framework or cms are added as plain files without a direct link to their originating repository. If these plain files are managed by piston, the update process is simple:

cd my-silverstripe-project
piston update framework
# Use "svn" instead of "git" for subversion repositories
git add framework/*
git commit -m "udpated dependencies"

For file downloads without piston, you can simply download the source code again and replace it.

Contributing changes from piston

If you have started your own project, and made improvements to code managed through piston within this - great! While it is a bit easier to contribute code from direct git repositories, there is another way to get these changes back to the original module repository: piston-export.

This script finds all changes to a certain module and exports them as patch files that you can send to the module author (either as "pull requests" from your own fork, or as flat files through tickets or emails).

Manual installation of other modules

Modules listed on can be hosted in any version control system (typically subversion or git). Please read the module page for source code locations and installation instructions. The general process of module installation is documented as well.

A good place to start looking for the source code of popular modules are the and project pages.

Using Piston


Frequently Asked Questions

  • I'm not a big fan of git, can I use Subversion for my own projects?: Of course, you can manage your own project files any way you want. To get SilverStripe modules from version control, you will have to use git to check out the code, and then add it to your own version control.
  • Can I use svn:externals?: If your project is hosted on subversion, you can add your own svn:externals as usual. To include most SilverStripe modules and themes from github, you have two options: Copying the files directly into your own version control, or use "piston" to manage this for you.
  • Some modules I use are still in subversion, can I mix and match with git?: Yes, through "piston".
  • I've cloned a module repository and now I want to make changes to it (that shouldn't go into the main version): You can either run piston import and then apply your changes to the imported source, or edit your "git remote" for those modules.
  • Why don't you use git submodules or subtree merging instead of piston?: In our experience, Git submodules only work well if used in a readonly way, not for committing to the submodule repository.


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