Readers may recall my kvetching about Drupal from a few posts ago. In particular, I was complaining that while Drupal (the software that powers this site) is powerful enough to do anything I could imagine doing with a site, it doesn't really come out-of-the-box ready to do anything in particular. I had to do a lot of twisting and customizing to get it configured to run a single-user blog-- I can't imagine how much work it takes to get it to run the White House's site. (Yes, that runs on Drupal.) I just learned, however, that Drupal took a big step toward making itself useable in this way.
In particular, it is now possible to download pre-configured versions of Drupal, ready to run various kinds of sites. You can download Drupal in a form ("installation profile") ready to run a wiki, a site for a conference, a newspaper, a church, and even a wedding. And yes, Virgina, you can now download Drupal ready to run a single user blog. (Not that it does me any good now...)
It turns out that this has actually been sort-of true for a while: If you had generic out-of-the-box Drupal already installed, you could download all the necessary add-ons for a particular kind of site all at once. (I wish I'd known that four months ago.) But now (apparently due to 3281d consulting) these two steps have been combined. The Drupal community has taken it upon itself to pre-profile Drupal installations so that you can download the entire thing (core program + extra modules and configuration) as a unit.
Which raises a question that may be of interest to at least one of my readers: how much work would it be to create an installation profile for a library? What does a library's website need to do, anyway?