Simplifying Drupal Migrations with xautoload

How to use the xautoload module to autoload migration classes within your Drupal 7 migration modules.

What is xautoload?

xautoload is a Drupal module that enables the autoloading of PHP classes, in the same way that you would do so in a Composer based project such as Drupal 8 or Symfony.

It supports both the PSR-0 and PSR-4 standards, as well as providing a wildcard syntax for Drupal’s file[] syntax in .info files.

To use it, download and enable it from as you would for any other module, and then add it as a dependency within your module. The xautoload project page suggests including a minimum version in this format:

dependencies[] = xautoload (>= 7.x-5.0)

This will ensure that the version of xautoload is 7.x-5.0 or newer.

How to use it

Wildcard syntax for .info files

Here is an example .info file for a migrate module.


name = Foo Migration
core = 7.x
package = Foo

files[] = includes/
files[] = includes/nodes/
files[] = includes/nodes/

In this example, each custom migration class is stored in it’s own file within the includes directory, and each class needs to be loaded separately using the files[] = filename syntax.

One thing that the xautoload module does to enable for the use of wildcards within this syntax. By using wildcards, the module file can be simplified as follows:

files[] = includes/**/*.inc

This will load any .inc files within the includes directory as well as any sub-directories, like ‘node’ in the original example.

This means that any new migration classes that are added will be automatically loaded, so you don’t need to declare each include separately within again. The great thing about this approach is that it works with the existing directory and file structure.

Use the PSR-4 structure

If you want to use the PSR-4 approach, you can do that too.

In order to do so, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Rename the includes directory to src.
  2. Ensure that there is one PHP class per file, and that the file extension is .php rather than .inc.
  3. Ensure that the name of the file matches the name of the class - FooArticleNodeMigration would be in a file called FooArticleNodeMigration.php.
  4. Add a namespace to each PHP file. This uses the same format as Drupal 8, including the machine name of the module. For example, Drupal\foo_migrate.
    • If the class is within a sub-directory, then this will also need to be included within the namespace - e.g. Drupal\foo_migrate\Node.
    • You’ll also need to import any class names that you are referencing, including class names that are you extending, by adding use statements at the top of the file. You may be able to prefix it with \ instead (e.g. \DrupalNode6Migration), but I prefer to use imports.

Now your class may look something like this:


namespace Drupal\foo_migrate\Node;

use DrupalNode6Migration;

class FooArticleNodeMigration extends DrupalNode6Migration {

With these steps completed, any imports within your .info file can be removed as they are no longer needed and any classes will be loaded automatically.

Within, I can now reference any class names using their full namespace:

$node_arguments['ArticleNode'] = array(
  'class_name' => 'Drupal\foo_migrate\Node\FooArticleNodeMigration',
  'source_type' => 'story',
  'destination_type' => 'article',