Announcing our Feature server: downloads.pingv.com

[Update 24 August 2011: After much consideration, concern about "Balkanization" of Drupal repositories, and some current trends towards moving open source projects to private servers, we have opted from here on to host our Features contributions on Drupal.org, where the Drupal community lives and collaborates. We have shut down our private Features server. No further updates will be available via downloads.pingv.com. If you are concerned about any project downloaded from our site, please contact us.

This post remains up for archive purposes only.]

Over the weekend we launched a Feature server at http://downloads.pingv.com.

Currently it has but one simple Feature: an initial release of "Photo Essay," for posting images inline in the text of an essay. We hope some people may find it useful. Or informative. Or inspiring to go make their own Features.

We see a bright future for Features. As strategists and designers, we embrace systems and practices that increase the speed and efficiency of development. Features are a great way for people to be able to mix and match components to build sites to suit their needs, without having to install and configure everything by hand, and without needing to embrace a whole website strategy inherent in a full-blown Distribution.

This is a new area of growth and rapid change in the Drupal community. It's very exciting.

So far it seems like most of the Features that people have released are designed to serve use cases more on the advanced, complicated side — with a goodly proportion of those targeted specifically for installation in Open Atrium, which in many ways has been the proof of concept for Features in the first place.

We feel there's room for Features solving more basic and common use cases, to encourage more site builders to try them out and (hopefully) get hooked on the concept. Features may seem to some like stuff for experts to dabble with, but Features are for everyone. Features can make things easier.

Druplicon FeaturesFeatures are fully formed, preconfigured functionality that can be "plugged in" to Drupal.

We had wanted to do this server months ago — soon after starting up the new company — but the best laid plans of mice and cats and all that…. Anyway, when we finally got around to it, the handy Feature Server profile shared by Development Seed made the setup easy. We also ended up building the site on Pantheon using a sweet Linode StackScript written by Justin Ellison, which worked really well. Yes, Pantheon is total overkill for a small Features server, but it was there, so what the heck! When we have more than one Feature, maybe it will make sense to let loose the SOLR search.

Other Feature Servers

There are a few Feature servers out there, but so far there doesn't appear to be any comprehensive list anywhere, and as far as I know no p2p way for them to discover each other.

Here are some directories I've found:

Directory of Public Features Servers
A wiki page with links to servers and projects, posted on Groups.Drupal.org in the Packaging & Distributions group.
Community features
A wiki in the Open Atrium Community site, with links to many features for Open Atrium.
community.featureservers.org
A community Features server and directory hosted by Miguel "mig5" Jacq.

Are there other resources? Please share them in comments and I'll update this post.

We want to work with you!