Editor's WorkFlow in OpenPublish

The one thing we know about workflow is that every news room does it a little differently. The Webbmedia Group built a fantastic representation of workflow in online formats last year that shows this complexity better than I ever could explain it. At its core: workflow is very newsroom-specific.

The one thing we know about workflow is that every news room does it a little differently. The Webbmedia Group built a fantastic representation of workflow in online formats last year that shows this complexity better than I ever could explain it. At its core: workflow is very newsroom-specific.

It's why each time someone asks "does the new version of OpenPublish have workflow?" We find ourselves saying "that depends on what you mean by 'workflow.'" It's been a big, sticky problem for OpenPublish, as we've been seeking a solution flexible enough to work for any publication, yet powerful enough to truly accomplish what we've been hearing: the ability to hold content in different states until appropriate edits and approvals are made, the ability to preview the content just like it will appear on the site, and the ability to create notifications for various roles.

Workflow

But leave it to the powerful, community-contributed modules of Drupal to provide just the building blocks to solve the problem. Using the Rules module, as well as workflow, ctools, and features we built a completely customizable work flow system for editors that lets you define who's working on your news, and how it flows through your organization.

The way we set it up is pretty simple and intuitive for editors. First, you define which states that your content goes through from "draft" to "published. Then, you determine who has permission to take content from one state to the next. So, an "editor" may be allowed to take content from "editing" to "ready to publish", but a "reporter" may only be allowed to send content from "draft" to "ready for editing." Content permissions work bi-directionally, too, allowing for the back and forth needed for many newsrooms. Finally, you set up rules to allow for specific actions to occur when content changes state. This is where editors can get notifications to see a preview, or reporters can find out whether their content was approved or needs more work.

Together, these simple steps come together to create a very flexible workflow: lean enough for a small, streamlined newsroom, but robust enough to handle the most complex permissions and workflow systems. Best of all, it's your workflow, and as it changes in the newsroom, it can adapt and change in OpenPublish.

A few weeks ago, we did a webinar on the new Workflow for Editors feature of OpenPublish. I'd invite you to take a look at the webinar, and let us know what you'd like to see in workflow in the future. At its core, OpenPublish is driven by the many reporters and editors around the world who are using it every day. Feedback from Alaska Dispatch, PBS Newshour, The Nation, and the New Republic, as well as the hundreds of other sites using OpenPublish have defined our roadmap and shaped our feature set. Drupal7 is high on everyone's lists now, and OpenPublish users will not be disappointed. Check back to openpublishapp.com regularly for updates, and keep reading here to see some sneak previews of features that are coming in OpenPublish on D7.

Karen Borchert