Configuration Management in Drupal 7
Configuration management is a big initiative for Drupal 8 but what can you do now in Drupal 7?
We will talk about the current state of contrib solutions including CTools, Features, and Configuration modules.
Until Drupal 8, the main format for exportable configuration is through the ctools module's exportables API. What is exportable and how it is exported is crucial to understand the limitations of what is currently possible in Drupal 7.
More at the CTools project page.
Features provides a UI and API for taking different site building components from modules with exportables and bundling them together in a single feature module. A feature module is like any other Drupal module except that it declares its components (e.g. views, contexts, CCK fields, etc.) in its .info file so that it can be checked, updated, or reverted programmatically.
More at the Features project page.
The configuration management module enables the ability to keep track of specific configurations on a Drupal site, provides the ability to move these configurations between different environments (local, dev, qa, prod), and also move configurations between completely different sites on a granular level (migrate configurations).
This module takes some concepts from the Drupal 8 core Configuration Management Initiative(CMI), including the concept of the "activestore" and "configstore" architecture, and applies them to D7. This allows us to use some of the benefits from CMI in D7 now. As well as testing integrations, like answering, how does the Features module work in D8.
More at the Configuration project page.