How to make out-of-the-box Drupal products?

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 10:48 -- tuthanh

When I looked at the Drupal statistics in Wikipedia, the first Drupal conference at Antwerp on Feb 2005 had fewer than 50 people attending. The last conference at Chicago this March, over 3000 attendees. What a huge growth. The upcoming Drupal Con in London happens this August. The tickets just started to be sold but I already feel the heat: 350 proposed sessions are submitted. 

I have never been at a Drupal conference. I hope this is a chance to attend a Drupal conference, and it would be wonderful to be there as a speaker. My proposed session is "How to make out of the box Drupal products". I also quote the proposal here:


What is out-of-the-box

A Drupal out-of-the-box package, also called "install profile", consists of collections of Drupal core, modules, themes and associated configuration settings for a specific usage. The best part of it is that you can use right after installation. Some popular Drupal install profles are OpenPublish, Drupal Commons, Open Atrium, Managing News and etc.

Why out-of-the-box

You and I, we all love to buy new products. Imagine when purchasing a new camera, we love the feeling when we tear the plastic wrap, open the box, smell the freshness and grasp it by hand. You can take some photos and try other cool features such as zoom lenses, auto focus, face detection, shooting modes etc. If you do not know some advanced functions, there is a manual for you to refer. It is out-of-the-box, it is ready made to be used without any further installation.

That is the spirit I want to bring to Drupal. For users, they want an out-of-the-box Drupal package with Drupal core, theme, sample content and useful modules so they can use it right away after installation. For providers, the more user friendly their product is, the higher chance it is widely adopted.

How to make out-of-the-box Drupal packages

Based on best practice experiences when working with many customers at ITFS and developing Drupal theme packages in Symphony Themes, I want to present the internal process we use to build any Drupal product:

  1. Spec: build spec by define user stories
  2. Sitemap and content sample
  3. Wireframes
  4. Development and Design in parallel
  5. Testing
  6. Build install profile

Intended audience

Product managers, business owners, project managers, who want to build a user-friendly Drupal product.

Questions answered by this session

  • Why Drupal may scare non technical people?
  • How to build a Drupal product that sales?
  • How to reduce support efforts after sale?
  • What is the best practice method to develop a Drupal product?
  • What do an typical customer expect from a product (Drupal or non Drupal based)?