"Man, I wish we could track changes on Drupal configurations!" This was the thought that came to mind on a recent upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 where we learned some important lessons about all the different configuration changes our clients make to their site on a regular basis. We had a process in place to capture all the new and changed content on the site, but totally missed content that had been deleted or menu changes that happened, so we needed to adjust our process.
Thanks to the strength of the Drupal community, we obviously weren't the only ones who had faced this issue before. We were able to find a great add-on to Drupal called Journal to help us in this process. The Journal module adds a textarea to each form on the site so that when one of the content editors moves a menu item, they put in a quick sentence about what they changed. Right before launch of the Drupal 7, we can review the Journal log and redo any changes that have been made, and replicate them on the new Drupal 7 site. This means our clients won't have to halt all activity on their site while we complete the upgrade, and the changes they make won't be lost.
This module isn't just useful to us during a Drupal upgrade, it can also help our clients with multiple team members working on the site daily. By providing this tool for configuration change management, and setting a policy to use the tool when making changes, team members can easily answer the mysteries of maintaining a Drupal site, like "Who changed this menu?" "Why did they change it?" "When was it changed?" etc... just by looking at the logs.
If you have a lot of editors on your site, and are looking to add a configuration management tool like this to your site, contact us today!