Getting to know the Workflow Module ( Advanced Tutorial )

Dec 4, 2014 4:51 pm

What is the Workflow Module and why is it useful?

In a nutshell, the workflow module creates a system that allows a site administrator to more easily manage the content creation and editing done on their site. With workflow enabled, you can create an approval process for any modifications done on the site, so that a head admin can review them before they go live on the front end.

Workflow has many useful applications, but there are two in particular that we see a lot from our clients here at Accrinet:
Approving content submitted or edited by other administrators who have access to blue interface
Approving content submitted on the front-end by website visitors ( Primarily to weed out spam submissions and clean up posts with less than desirable grammar / formatting )

Commonly, the kind of content our clients set up workflow processes for includes event submissions, blog posts, news articles, webpages, jobs listings, and various types of custom directory items.

Setting up the Workflow Module and Creating Workflow Processes

The first thing you will need to do is install the workflow module from the Toolbar in Green Interface.

Once installed, the workflow module functions in conjunction with the security module, as almost all workflow approval processes are bound to groups created in security.

To set up a workflow process, simply create a group of users in security ( or pick an existing group ) then navigate to the workflow tab within the workflow module in blue interface, and then click ‘edit’ next to the workflow process for that group. These groups auto populate into the workflow module as soon as they are created in security, and a few system generated workflow groups ( such as anonymous front end users ) will also be present by default. Once you click the edit button next to one of these groups, you will then be able to create a list of editors that you can set to approve content submitted or modified by this particular group.

It is important to note the list of workflow editors is sequential, meaning that if you add more than one editor to the workflow process, the site will initially require the first editor in the list to approve the change, and then after they have approved the change the next editor in the list will also have to approve the change (and so on and so forth for all editors added to the workflow process.) There is currently not a way to make this list work in a parallel rather than sequential fashion ( where Editor 1 OR Editor 2 could simply approve the event once to make it go live. )

Managing Content in Workflow

When a site admin has pending workflow items to approve, they appear in the ‘Approve’ tab in the workflow module in blue interface. Once approved, items simply disappear from the list, and the content additions or changes will be live on the site. If items are left too long without being approved, they will eventually end up in the ‘Stale’ tab instead.

The ‘Approve’ and ‘Stale’ tabs are unique to every admin on the site, and only items that are ready to be approved by each particular admin will show up in these tabs. For example: If a user submits a post for approval and two admins are on the workflow list for that user’s group, the item will not show up in the second admin’s ‘Approve’ tab until the first admin approves it.

It may help to think of workflow items as being ‘owned’ by particular admins, since the same workflow item will never be simultaneously accessible by any two admins. Ownership of a workflow item is simply transferred between admins as the approval moves forward.

Further Reading

The Workflow section of the Accrisoft forum contains some more useful information about the workflow module, as well as some useful tidbits of advice. Make sure to check around if you ever have any questions about how the module works!