Drupal VM is configured to use composer create-project to build a Drupal 8 codebase by default but supports building Drupal from a custom composer.json file as well.

  1. Copy example.drupal.composer.json to drupal.composer.json and modify it to your liking.
  2. Use the Composer build system by setting drupal_build_composer: true in your config.yml (make sure drupal_build_makefile and build_composer_project are set to false).
  3. Configure drupal_core_path to point to the webroot directory: drupal_core_path: {{ drupal_composer_install_dir }}/docroot
drupal_build_composer_project: false
drupal_build_composer: true
drupal_core_path: "{{ drupal_composer_install_dir }}/docroot"

The file set in drupal_composer_path (which defaults to drupal.composer.json) will be copied from your host computer into the VM's drupal_composer_install_dir and renamed composer.json.

Using Composer when Drupal VM is a composer dependency itself

In the scenario where you have an existing composer.json in the root of your project, follow the usual steps for installing with a composer.json but instead of creating a drupal.composer.json file, disable the transfering of the file by setting drupal_composer_path: false, and change drupal_composer_install_dir to point to the the directory where it will be located. If drupal_composer_path is not truthy, Drupal VM assumes it already exists.

drupal_build_composer_project: false
drupal_build_composer: true
drupal_composer_path: false
drupal_composer_install_dir: "/var/www/drupalvm"
drupal_core_path: "{{ drupal_composer_install_dir }}/docroot"

Opting for composer based installs will most likely increase your VM's time to provision considerably. Find out how you can improve composer build performance.