Using Liferay's Workflow with WCM

Workflow is essentially a predetermined sequence of connected steps. In Liferay WCM, workflow is designed to manage the creation, modification and publication of web content. You can set up a workflow so content can’t be published without going through an approval process you design. In this way, content is published to the site only after it has been reviewed and approved.

Liferay’s workflow engine is called Kaleo workflow and it ships with Liferay CE. If you have uninstalled it or are using EE, it needs to be installed and configured separately. This is covered in chapter 6. Since we have somewhat of a “What came first–the chicken or the egg?” problem, for now, we’ll assume it’s installed and look at how you can take advantage of workflow in getting your content through any approval steps between creation and publication.

You may have noticed something appears to be missing from the staging process discussed above. In particular, you might be asking the question, “How do I reject changes?” Starting with Liferay 6.1, Staging is integrated with Liferay’s Workflow engine. To have a review process for staged pages, you need to make sure you have a workflow engine configured and you have staging set up in the workflow. To do this, select the workflow definition desired for page revisions in the Workflow Configuration.

When using a workflow, clicking Submit for Publication submits the staged pages into the workflow. Once all necessary approvals have been completed, the page status is marked as ready for publication. The Publish to Live Now and Schedule for Publication options publish the last version of the selected pages marked as ready for publication.

To enable workflow for Web Content, navigate to the Control Panel and select Workflow Configuration. From there, select a workflow that has been deployed to Liferay.

Figure 2.21: Enabling Workflow for Content

Figure 2.21: Enabling Workflow for Content Management

As you’ll discover in chapter 10, you can design workflows to suit your organization’s approval process. For Nose-ster’s implementation we’ll use the Single Approver workflow which ships with the product.

Defining Workflows for Web Content

Let’s set up Liferay’s Workflow for the Nose-ster web site. You must have the Kaleo workflow plugin installed in order for the workflow categories to appear in the Control Panel. Liferay’s Kaleo workflow engine ships with CE versions of Liferay. For installation instructions for Liferay EE, please see chapter 10.

  1. Go to the Control Panel and select Workflow Configuration from the left panel.

  2. From the select box, choose Single Approver for Web Content. Click Save. Note that you can add workflow to many of Liferay’s portlets.

That’s all it takes to set up workflow for web content. Now that workflow is enabled, publishing content works a little bit differently. Let’s go through the process of publishing details for new class offerings at Nose-ster. Return to the home page and click the Add Web Content icon on the Web Content Display portlet. Call the new content Course Offerings and enter some content. Notice that the Publish button is now gone. In its place is a Submit for Publication button. Go ahead and click it.

Next, go to the Workflow Tasks in Control Panel and then select My Workflow Tasks. You will see the option to Review Content for Sales Goals. It shows because you are logged in as an Administrator. There is also a Content Approvers role which is defined by this workflow and anyone in this role can approve content as well.

To approve the content, you must first take ownership of it. Click on the task. You should see the screen below.

Taking ownership of, reviewing and approving content is very easy:

  1. Click the Assign to Me button. Alternatively, you could assign it to someone else in the Content Approvers role or create / update a due date for the content’s approval.
  2. Once you’ve assigned it to yourself, buttons allowing you to approve or reject the content appear. Click Approve.
  3. You’re asked to submit a comment. You’d have to do this for either Approve or Reject. Add a comment and click Save.
  4. The content is now approved.

In a real world situation, you obviously wouldn’t want the person who created the content to be the one who approves it. Instead, you would have one or more roles designed for users who will be creating content and you would have specific users assigned to one or more roles for approving content. Our example was of a very straightforward workflow, as it has only a single approver. Kaleo workflow allows you to design workflows that go through as many steps as you need to conform to your business processes. We look at Kaleo workflow in more detail in chapter 6.

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