We are a few weeks away from our upcoming Christmas release: eZ Platform v2.4. Over the past few weeks, our engineering and product teams have been working diligently on a new editorial workflow feature for eZ Platform Enterprise that will enable organizations to model the different phases content must undergo before being published.

The feature will define which users and roles are involved at each stage in a very secured and controlled way and ultimately increase collaboration between all users involved during the editorial process. The Editorial Workflow will also ensure that the content created is of high quality, as content will be required to go through specific stages of reviews and validation before being published.

Overall, this new feature will provide benefits that are useful to both editors and administrators, which we will now explore in this blog post.

Why the Editorial Workflow?

Organizations of all sizes often need to follow a specific (and sometimes complex) process involving several users when publishing content on their digital properties, including corporate websites, intranet portal, e-commerce websites and so on.

The question of how to manage workflow can be addressed in many ways. For example, small organizations do not necessarily need to manage the process through their CMS. Instead, a small team operating within the same space can simply delegate tasks directly and then ask for approval by communicating with one another. In this case, our Flex Workflow feature works perfectly.

However, managing the editorial process outside of a CMS is not ideal for some organizations and can be prone to errors. Indeed, larger or more distributed organizations may require a more complex system that is more effective when it comes to following a process for creating and publishing content.

A great example of this relates to businesses that are heavily regulated, such as governmental and financial institutions. In these cases, the system must assist with driving and enforcing an editorial workflow across many different users with differing roles and permissions. The system also needs to prevent the content from going through a divergent path that bypasses the current assigned workflow.

This capability is nothing new in the CMS world. Editorial workflows have existed for many years, but have tended to fail due to being tedious to use and an overall negative user experience. This has led organizations to compromise and split the process into two parts. First, the organization would manage and handle pre-published content outside of the CMS. Then they would use the CMS only for the final step, i.e. uploading and publishing the content.

An effective editorial workflow needs to be both simple to set up by administrators and easy for editors to use, even if the process is complex. And this is exactly what our new Editorial Workflow feature delivers.

Let’s dive deeper and discover more about the different capabilities of eZ’s Editorial Workflow and how it could be used in different use case scenarios.

What is the Editorial Workflow and how does it works?

The Editorial Workflow can be defined as a list of stages and transitions that the various contributors must go through in order to publish a piece of content. The workflow is created by the administrator who is responsible for defining and assigning each user his role and permissions. Different workflows can be defined in the system. A common way is for instance to define one workflow per content type.

Let’s look at a typical use case in which an editorial workflow could be implemented.

Use case for an editorial workflow:

A typical workflow example goes as follows: A bank is publishing a product brochure that is being created by several contributing users at different stages of the process. The resulting workflow will be responsible for notifying the group of users when an action has been completed. The users will also be notified whenever they have been assigned a task as well as the overall timeline of when the content needs to be completed.

Here is an example of a content flow diagram:

As mentioned earlier, any content type (including blog posts, articles, images, videos, products, etc.), can be assigned to the editorial workflow. The administrator can then define which group of users are assigned which content and what permissions they have at every stage of the process.

For example, the administrator can assign the visual and branding team to the design stage and the corporate compliancy team to the proofread stage.

Let’s take a quick look at how the Editorial Workflow feature works:

Workflow Prototype

What to expect in the future?

eZ Platform v.2.4 will only be the first iteration of the Editorial Workflow. In the future, we are considering adding many other features. In v.2.5, we hope to include the ability of administrators to create workflows via the admin panel, rather than configuration by developers in YML files. We are also considering improving tracking capabilities that will allow users to compare changes made to different versions of the workflow. The user will also be able to track at what stages these changes were made.

We are very excited about the upcoming release of eZ Platform v2.4. We believe that businesses will receive significant value from this new version, such as creating more accurate and consistent content; ensuring strong regulation requirements; easing up collaboration between team members; and improving overall productivity.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be releasing a sneak peek on the Form Builder block that is also expected to be shipped with eZ Platform v2.4. Until then, if you’re interested or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog post or on www.discuss.ezplatform.com or www.portal.productboard.com/ezproduct. Feel free to reach out to us, too, at productmanagement@ez.no.

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