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Newb Questions Re: Workflow

Topics: General
Aug 26, 2014 at 9:11 PM
Hi, I am making a technical evaluation of .NET CMS platforms for my employer, and I have some (hopefully) simple questions about current 1.8 Orchard workflow features.

Specifically, our requirement is role or group-based, multi-step content approval workflows in the backend. The frontend is an entirely conventional read-only public website with no special requirements. However, the backend will require user permissions, approval user groups (or roles), and all content changes are subject to a multi-step approval worflow that include individual approvers and group (or role) approvers.

Different content branches will need their own approval workflows. For example Line of Business A might require [LOB:A create/edit]->[LOB:A manager approval]->[compliance approval (group)]->[legal approval (group)]->[publish]. Line of Business B would require [LOB:B manager approval], instead. Line of Business C would require [LOB:C manager approval], but would not require [legal approval]. Etc.

I've been noodling around with the workflow system and looking at examples online, and I like what I see. I've found about 80% of what I need so far, but there's a couple of pieces missing and a whole lot connective tissue I haven't found yet.

Is this something that Orchard can do? I'm willing to code across gaps if 1.8 can get me close enough. If I can gain confidence in getting a solution, I will deep dive onto the Orchard 101 stuff myself, but at the moment I need help making a go/no go call on Orchard. I am not looking for a complete solution or a how-to, just a general description of how Orchard can meet this requirement. Some specific questions from what I've seen:
  • Can different workflows be attached to specific content branches, regardless of content type?
  • Can approval emails be sent to a group of users or role members from a single workflow node?
Thanks very much for taking the time to read my post, and any answers, suggestions or other guidance is greatly appreciated.

Aug 26, 2014 at 11:27 PM
Orchard Workflows seems perfect for this scenario, because:
  • A workflow executes on content as its context;
  • Workflows can be long-running.
  • There are activities related to branching, users, roles and content;
  • There is an activity called User Task - you can use it to provide one or more actions a user can take on the content item. These available actions surface as buttons on the content item's editor UI. Clicking any of these buttons will resume the long-running workflow;
  • There's a Decision activity that can execute application specific logic, access the workflow state, and set various outcomes;
  • It's very easy to create custom activities.
However, I do recommend you watch a few videos first and try out some scenarios yourself.
I love the workflows module and I would totally go for it, but it's probably wisest to do some sort of POC yourself first.
Marked as answer by kurtomatic on 8/28/2014 at 8:18 AM
Aug 27, 2014 at 11:34 PM

Is there a module I need to install/enable to see the User Task activity? For example, I successfully added the Email activity to the workflow pick list by enabling and initializing the email module; it wasn't present in the workflow activity list before that. I am not seeing User Task in this list (I'm using a git clone of the current main branch).

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer.
Aug 28, 2014 at 1:37 AM
My Pleasure! Yeah you'll have to enable the "Roles Workflows Activities" feature in order for the UserTask activity to become available.
Aug 28, 2014 at 4:18 PM
Thanks again, that worked.