Adding a Bit of Workflow to WordPress

As much as I love WordPress, one of the areas it really lacks is workflow. There are three basic statuses for posts (draft, pending review and published), but there’s very little difference between “draft” status and “pending review.” When a post is saved as “Pending for review”, nothing happens automatically. No email messages are dispatched to any of the site’s editors or administrators, no special, obvious flags fly within the admin area, etc. It might as well just be a “draft” for all intents and purposes. The idea behind creating the “pending review” status was to allow editors and administrators to tell the difference between an in-progress draft and a draft that was ready to be published, but that seems to be about it.

Further, once a post is published, any changes made to it are automatically published, without any way for another user to review those modifications.

As a blogging platform, workflow is very rarely necessary, but as WordPress becomes more and more of a website content management system, especially among corporate customers, that lack of workflow can become a bit of an issue.

There are a few plugins, though, that aim to help WordPress achieve a little more footing in the area of workflow.

First, there are quite a few plugins that set up admin notification for drafts and/or “pending” posts. The one that I have used in the past was called “WP Status Notifier” by iDope, but it seems to have been removed from the WordPress repository for some reason (the author is currently investigating the issue). However, a quick search of the WordPress repository offers up quite a few results for alternative options.

To handle the workflow issues related to modifying published posts, I wrote a new plugin to do just that. The Post Revision Workflow plugin was pushed into the WordPress repository today. You can read more about the plugin and see some screenshots on my plugin website. It’s an extremely simple plugin that is in the infancy of its development, but it seems to get the job done. If that’s not quite to your liking, there are one or two other plugins listed in the repository that seem to be after the same goal. Based on the descriptions (I have not installed or used any of the others), Edit Flow looks especially promising.

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