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How to Create and Apply Patches

Warning: This post is over a year old. I don't always update old posts with new information, so some of this information may be out of date.

How to create and apply patches, ready for the issue queues.

Earlier this year, I posted a solution to an issue on the issue queue. Originally, I just posted the code back onto the issue, but have now created a patch that can easily be applied to any Drupal 6 installation. Here is a run-through of the process of creating and applying a patch. In this case, I made changes to the user_pass_validate() function that's found within modules/user/

To begin with, a download a fresh copy of Drupal 6.19 and created a copy of the original file. Within the duplicate file, I made the same changes to the function that I did in earlier code, and saved the changes. Now, within my Terminal, I can navigate to Drupal's root directory and create the patch.

diff -rup modules/user/ modules/user/ > /Users/oliver/Desktop/different_messages_for_blocked_users.patch

This command compares the differences between the two files, and creates the specified patch file.

To apply the patch to my Drupal installation, I go back to Terminal and run the following code:

patch -p0 < /Users/oliver/Desktop/different_messages_for_blocked_users.patch

If, for some reason, I need to reverse the patch, I can run this code:

patch -p0 -R < /Users/oliver/Desktop/different_messages_for_blocked_users.patch

And that's it!

There is also a Git patch creation workflow, which is described at Thanks to Randy Fay for making me aware of this, and suggesting a slight change to my original patch creation command.

Comments or questions? I'm @opdavies on Twitter.