If you had a chance to read my last post, you should now have a good basic understanding of the importance of Features programmatically. However, you ask, what’s the business case for spending the extra time to have your development company build a site using Features? Glad you asked!
One of the large benefits of using Drupal in the first place is that developers don’t have to start with a blank slate when building a new website. By default, Drupal provides content types, user authentication, blocks, file management, etc. Also, there’s a plethora of freely available contributed modules at your disposal. Between those two resources, a good portion of the code has already been written and it’s then up to the developer to configure the site and build any additional specific modules that fit the individual site’s use cases.
However, developers soon found that after building a handful of sites, there’s a lot of repetition taking place. A majority of sites have similar elements: blog, FAQ, bios, events, etc. Each time a new site is set up, the corresponding content types and views for each element will need to be recreated. When you have a feature that incorporates those items, those items will not need to be rebuilt. You’ve now reduced the development cost drastically.
Each time a site is built, there’s many opportunities for error. Getting a site just right takes time and expertise, and each framework presents its own set of struggles. To reduce those pain points, Mediacurrent uses Drupal consistently across all of the sites that we build. After a site is built, it is put through a set of test cases to ensure all of the functionality of the site is as expected. This is a very important step in the process, and often will comprise up to 20% of the development time.
When a site utilizes an already deployed, tested and proven feature from a previous site, the project benefits in reduced QA testing. These features will not have to be re-tested, therefore, saving time and money.
Using features will ultimately allow your development company to focus on the “bigger problems”. Instead of expending development resources on constantly re-inventing the wheel, companies now can instead lead new initiatives and focus on the clients’ truly custom needs. These pieces ultimately filter down to cost savings allowing you to spend the additional money elsewhere.
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