Building Reusable Components with Features
One of the most useful things to come into the forefront of Drupal development recently is the features module. This module is so useful that, in spite of being a difficult-to-use-beast-that-can-easily-completely-screw-up your site, it is a key part of every Drupal project we work on.
Features can be a great thing for deployment, when they are architected correctly. However, Features can also be used to speed up development across the board. How many sites need a Custom News Center, or a custom Events System? How much of that news center is truly custom?
I will go over some strategies around building and deploying features. However, that will not be the focus of the presentation. The focus here is to drive down development time by developing reusable components with your features.
If Drupal is a set of legos then, it is important to remember that Features (when used for reusable configuration) is not meant to be a molded plastic horse. It is better to setup features to be that piece of molded plastic that is meant to be a ships hull, event if the ship is not competely defined.