October 9th, 2009
Since the 5.0 release, Drupal core has included an installer that supports installation profiles to setup and configure a site for a certain use-case. In theory this allows for people to create a better "out of the box" solution by configuring Drupal like a wiki, a conference, or a publishing site. If done right, installation profiles have the potential to help end-users get sites done faster and accelerate the adoption of Drupal. However, this promise has yet to be realized, and this core Drupal feature is currently being vastly underutilized.
As part of their grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Deproduction and Quiddities want to help realize the benefit that install profiles have to offer. The Drupal Association, with the support of individual and corporate sponsors, has put forth a matching grant to help see that it meets its mission of supporting the Drupal project. The potential to help address the usability problems of people trying to get started with Drupal is truly enormous.
Read on for details on how installation profiles work, why they are important, how packaging them will help, and the technical decisions behind the way the packaging scripts will work. Now is the chance to provide feedback which might make it into the code before it goes live by the end of November.