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Drupal Workflow

I attended DrupalCampNYC8. So many great sessions. One of them was about setting up a Drupal workflow using the rules.module, a Drupal contributed module. From the presenter of the session, ericg, ..."More and more modules are including rules support and in my opinion will soon be as common and relied upon as views is now." Here is a list of the Drupal 6.x contributed modules that support rules so far.

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See below for Drupal 7.x. A cool video on the new Maestro Drupal workflow module. No code yet.

Stay with me here,

FYI The developer of the Drupal workflow module, has abstracted the logic form it and added it to the rules.module for Drupal 6.x. A couple of other things. Don't bother trying to set up a Drupal workflow using actions or triggers becuse the rules.module works way better. This also applies to  and Ubercart for the e-comm Drupal workflow.

Drupal workflow is great.

Here is a link to a how-to video on "Drupal Workflows & Automation".  This video is somewhat dated since rules.module has matured but the author does an excellent job of showing you how to set up a basic Drupal workflow. I am assuming you know some Drupal (an open source CMS) and that I don't have to explain the detailed workflow for content publishing. Although, there is much more stuff to consider with workflow.

What do I mean about Drupal workflow?

In Drupal we could be talking about any type of workflow. But, I am going to narrow this down to a content publishing workflow, which then ties in with your content strategy. My aim here is to provide an overview of what a Drupal workflow with content strategy would look like. 

Workflow Overview

I work a lot on Drupal sites for companies that need to have strict control over their content. From how it is created, curated, delivered, and governed to how it is finally published. For them, having a workflow  that ties into their content strategy is extremely important. For these companies, there are many people in the Drupal workflow with each having separate responsibilities (roles with different permissions and tasks), which we can control and administer using the rules.module.

How to make better Drupal sites.

What helps me do my job (senior Drupal consultant) better is learning new stuff about Drupal as well as learning new stuff outside of Drupal such as how the website delivers value to the business or organization. You know, the reason for the site existing in the first place. Here's what I do, I learn a lot about marketing and what KPI's (key performance indicators) are important. One of my sources is, marketing profs ($300 per year - great investment). Here's what I mean, they have a great video on, "Content Development for the Real World", which also covers the multi-step workflow of a content stratergy. This works perfectly for a Drupal workflow based on the rules.module. As a bonus, here's a link to yahoo's style guide, which is important for your SEO efforts as well as your content.

Content Strategy

From, Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web. "Developing content can cause some of the biggest pain points for our organizations and projects—late content, bad content, inconsistent off-brand content all cause a negative impact on your marketing programs. And here's the cold, hard truth: No matter which channels you pick for content marketing—SEO, social communities, your website—if your content sucks, you've wasted your money on everything else."

There you have it - you can watch a couple of vids and put together a kick-ass Drupal workflow tied to your content strategy and publishing needs.

Maestro Drupal Workflow module for Drupal 7.0.

Maestro seems like it was build for the workflow and content strategy I talked about above. You can read more about it here, Maestro: Advanced Workflow Module Proposal on Drupal Groups.

A short summary of some of the important features it will provide:

  • Build directly for Drupal 7.
  • Integrate and/or leverage functionality from other modules such as Actions, Tokens and Rules.
  • Web 2.0 user interface (like in the screenshot to the left).
  • Not just for content, but almost any task, including administration.
  • Properly manage revisions of content so old published content remains published while new version being worked on.
  • Making the workflow "invisible" and integrated with how creating content or performing tasks in drupal works. Which means you wont have to manually transition between workflow stages, its done automatically when you perform a task managed by Maestro.

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