Today I talked about Workbench (a suite of Drupal modules) at the Olympia users group. Here’s the notes I wrote to get ready. I’m posting it here for my own reference and in case it’s of interest to anyone else!
Also, here’s the links I posted to groups.drupal.org:
- The Workbench module
- How to override My Workbench with Panels
- bonus video: Eileen Webb on Improving the Author Experience
Workbench is several different things. But one aspect of it is a way to better manage the author experience. I’m really big on author experience right now, because these folks are the people using Drupal the most but they don’t “do” Drupal. And because it’s so flexible, it’s up to us to make it a good time for them and to make their day a little nicer.
The main Workbench module provides a really nice page for getting around in reviewing and creating content.
On My Workbench, I can see all the pages I have access to and the things I edited most recently. There’s also a spot that can be used for custom help or site news. I have a tab for creating new content, too.
So from here I can see all of my content and create new things. Which you could do with the built-in Dashboard, but Workbench also has an Access module and a Moderation module, and those give you more options.
Workbench Access allows you to limit who can edit which pieces of content, and to let a group of people all work together on their own content.
This is what it looks like when I’m logged in as an average site editor. In this case, I’m set up to edit the “advising” section of the site. My toolbar only gives me access to My Workbench, and when I go there, it’s just the content for my site section. I can also edit content that someone else in my group created.
As an administrator, it’s pretty easy to set or review access for the different sections. I can either go to the Workbench Access settings and see that “advising” has one editor, or I can go to the “user” profile and see that they’re set to the “advising” section.
In our case, we’re also using Workbench Access to set some standard content that differs between sites. If anybody’s curious, I’d be happy to talk about it another time. [ed: there was actually a LOT of interest in that, so I ended up talking about it for a while. There’s some crazy Taxonomy+Views stuff going on to make it work.]
Workbench Moderation provides a way to work with draft content and to have review states for content. I’m going to switch over to a draft of a Calendar that students and staff can submit to and then specific staff can review and post.
As a student, I belong to a group that’s hosting an event on campus. I can log in and go to the Post an event link, which is just a normal node entry form. They can save it, but they can’t edit it. I’m still working on some tweaks so they know what’s going to happen next.
What’s going to happen next is that the staff member who reviews these items is going to go to their workbench. I’m working on integration with the Rules module so they get an email, but let’s just say they have a regular time to check. Joe here is already logged in, and on his workbench he has a tab called Needs Review and here it shows the events that Jane has submitted.
The other thing you can do with this that I don’t have a demo for is if you have changes that you know about but can’t show to the public yet, you can create a new draft and save it while still leaving the old version visible. You can also use Workbench Moderation to look back at the history of changes to a piece of content.
So I’m finding Workbench and its modules really useful for making a site that is friendlier for our authors and editors.