What is the Basic Workflow? In this video, we take a closer look at the Workflow in the CMS.
By the end of this video you will understand:
Workflow’s role in controlling publishing
What you’ll find in Basic Workflow, the default configuration
Answers to common questions from new users
In a follow-up video, you will learn how to modify the default configuration to fit your business’s needs.
What is it?
In the CMS, the workflow is applied to all content to manage access and regulate publishing
The workflow defines
The approval and publishing steps for your content
The link between publishing steps and publishing destinations
The transitions that trigger movement from one step to another including commands, actions, and scheduling
It also denies the users who have access to trigger publishing and the steps where publishing is allowed
And, the notifications that can be delivered as content moves from one step to another
As you can see, there are several important features packed into workflow, so I think the easiest way to explain it all is to take a look at the Basic Workflow. This is the default configuration available in every CMS.
When you log into the CMS as an administrator, you access the basic workflow by navigating to
Settings > Workflow
And then selecting Workflows from that left menu
This shows a list of the workflows in your instance
If your CMS is brand new, you’ll see one called Basic Workflow, the default configuration delivered with every instance
It includes these steps, configured according to CMS best practices
I’ll walk you through each step and it’s intended purpose,
Let’s go back to the content section and create a page using the Workflow Example option under New > Models
We’ll use the workflow dropdown to advance it and show each step
Draft. This is the first step in the Basic Workflow and is how every document starts. Content in the draft state is only available in the CMS. It is not published anywhere yet. Access is configured so everyone can view and edit content in this step
Pending is the review step. Before content is approved for publishing it should be reviewed by someone who is in the Editor group, one of the default groups.
When content is approved it will go the Stage step, which we will discuss in a moment.
If not it will go to the next step – Rejected. When content is rejected, it lands here. It’s kind of a temporary step that indicates it needs updating. That triggers a request for a comment and the creator is notified.
Once the content is edited and saved, the workflow uses an action trigger to send it back to the Draft step so it can be sent to Pending for approval again.
When content is finally approved, it goes to the Stage step.
Stage is the first publishing step. In other words, it will visible to anyone who has access to the CMS and visible in the Staging site that is included in your Crownpeak subscription.
You can see it is publishing by the cloud icon that appears in the File View panel.
Once published you can access the page from the Web View dropdown, so it can be reviewed in the context of your staging site. When content is in the Stage step it is still available for Editors to modify and republish.
One note – the basic workflow also includes an option to schedule publishing, available from the properties menu.
This is just an option – It can be manually published live, by a user in the Editor or Admin group, at any time.
The next step is Live. This is the goal – making the page available to the public.
Publishing live is limited to users in the Admin group. These users can also edit live content and republish, but this is not really recommended to anything but typos.
When other types of users need to make a change, they are prompted to Branch. This creates a copy of the file, in the Draft state that can be edited, approved and published, using the same workflow, to replace the live document.
What goes out, must come down so the last few steps in the workflow deal with old content.
After Live comes Retired. By moving content to the retired step, it is removed from the live and staging site but is still available to view and revive from the CMS.
Last is the Archive step. The Basic workflow is set up with a Timeout transition, so content is only Retired for one month. After that time, it is moved to the Archive step. This hides it from view, but you can still get to it, revive it to Draft, by moving the File View panel from Active to viewing hidden files.
Tips and tricks
It’s worth mentioning a few tricks for publishing your content
Firstly, I mentioned it in passing, but Branching is the best way to edit live content.
Here’s why - because this is a publishing CMS, there is some automated publishing for content in the live state. Whenever live content is published, anything that links to it is published as well. These are links are called Dependencies – they are interconnections created by linked content. Publishing content will always trigger publishing of dependent content.
When testing, you uncheck the Include Dependencies option in the workflow menu to turn them off and reduce the number of files published
When editing always branch so you edit a version of the document that starts in Draft.
The basic workflow is configured to use conflict triggers to manage these branches so when you reach the publishing states – Stage and Live - the new version of your document is published, and the older version is retired.
My next tip is for publishing multiple pages
When you have more than one page to publish, use routing. This is a feature available to admin users.
It lets you select the step, then search to create a list of content to move to that step. When you are publishing hundreds or thousands of pieces of content to launch a site, for example, this is the best approach.
You’ll see all queued content and their dependencies in the publishing queue
That’s it for our introduction to workflow and the default configuration, the Basic Workflow, available in all CMS instances
In summary, the workflow allows you to create content safely within the CMS then publish it for review on your staging site, and finally make it available for your customers on your live site. It also let’s you control how it is managed when removed from your site
You should now know what to expect when you use the default workflow configuration, but we know some businesses have unique needs for approval and publishing.
So, rest assured, this workflow can be modified...You can even create a brand new one from scratch, with new steps and transitions as needed.