Using Features for install profiles: The problem of default configuration

Recently I’ve made several remarks on Twitter about the pain of using the Features module for install profiles. Since they weren’t universally understood, I’ve decided to blog a bit about what is one of my pet topics: the problem of default configuration.

The problem


  1. An install profile / distribution needs to be able to export and provide default configuration (content types, fields, variables, etc).
  2. The user needs to be able to revert to default configuration when desired.
  3. The user needs to be able to “untrack” any piece of configuration, allowing it to be deleted.
  4. The user needs to be able to export and version his own export of the configuration, maintaining his changes across distribution upgrades.

The last two requirements are not satisfiable with Features, because Features has no concept of “default configuration” over regular configuration.

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Using a distribution as site core via Drush Make

By now most of us have used a Drupal distribution. takes a distribution’s drush make file, fetches Drupal core, contributed modules, themes, libraries, adds custom modules, and provides an archive that’s ready to use and install.

While distributions provide a great base for a site, we always need additional pieces (modules, libraries) in order to satisfy our use case.
So, how do we use a distribution as a starting point, and add our modules on top?

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It’s been two and a half years since I last blogged.

Back then, I used an alpha version of D7 that didn’t even have imagefield working properly. In time, the installation became too annoying to remigrate (there was no upgrade path for pre-releases), and I decided that Twitter was a better medium for what I wanted to say, so I closed the blog.

Fast forward to May 2013, I’ve slowly filled up a queue of technical topics I want to discuss, so I’ve decided to reopen a blog. Also decided I want a hosted solution, but not Drupal Gardens, since I’m already very familiar with Drupal 7. Instead, I am giving WordPress a shot for the first time. It fits nicely with my efforts to get off the island this year, branch into other projects and work on new things. So far I’ve had a lot of fun playing and developing with Silex and AngularJS, as well as contributing to an oauth2 server library. The pull of Python is always strong, too. Fun times ahead, especially considering the approaching Drupal 8 and the many advances it brings.

So, here we go…