The folks at open source cms SilverStripe (news, site) recently released SilverStripe 2.4 alpha. This release contains a number of improvements, but one in particular involves a new module designed to improve CMS publishing workflow.
Top Five SilverStripe 2.4 Goodies
When asked to provide five key items that might excite people about SilverStripe 2.4, SilverStripe Co-Founder Sigurd Magnusson lists:
- Hierarchal URLs, so that SilverStripe users can now enable URLs in the form of http://example.com/offices/new-york/staff/john-smith/ instead of being boxed into http://example.com/new-york-staff-john-smith/
- An add-on enabling support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008
- An add-on enabling support for Postgres SQL
- Performance improvements and memory use reductions
- Role-based security
SilverStripe 2.4 offers role-based security, image provided by the SilverStripe project.
The Workflow Module
Earlier this month, SilverStripe released a CMS Workflow module that:
- Enables 2 and 3-step role-based workflow
- Lets you configure workflows by organizing users into groups and roles, then assigning rights accordingly to sections of the site and even individual pages
- Enables email notifications and web-based reports around workflow tasks
- Sets embargo and expiry dates for content
- Enables commenting when requesting, approving or rejecting changes
The SilverStripe CMS Workflow v1.0rc2 module includes change approval features, image provided by the SilverStripe project.
This module won't work with previous versions of SilverStripe, as it relies on the new role-based security features of SilverStripe 2.4. It's also still a release candidate relying on alpha software, so don't plan to move it into production tomorrow.
The Workflow Options
Both the 2 and 3-step workflow options are similar. Essentially, with 2-step workflow, the tasks flow directly from author to editor to publishing the content on the site.
The 2-step workflow process for the SilverStripe CMS Workflow v1.0rc2 module, image provided by the SilverStripe project.
For the 3-step workflow, the tasks flow from author, to editor, to publisher before they are actually published on the site.
The 3-step workflow process for the SilverStripe CMS Workflow v1.0rc2 module, image provided by the SilverStripe project.
Think of a 2-step workflow as being perfect for a smaller company or publication where there aren't many people who need to be involved in the publishing process, and a 3-step workflow for a place where there's more of a hierarchy.
For example, authors submitting to individual editors, who all submit their material to a managing editor, who then looks everything over and determines when each piece will go live.
Ease of Use
While the new role-based security features in SilverStripe 2.4 make it possible to roll your own rudimentary workflow solution, the availability of a pre-built module should allow many SilverStripe users to simply pick up and go. Especially since SilverStripe 2.3.x users have relied on the 'Save' and 'Save and Publish' buttons as their entire workflow process in the past.
If you're interested in learning more about the role and workflow features: