In Gitana 4.0, we introduced a new feature called Editorial Flows. With Editorial Flows, your editorial teams launch draft workspaces where they work on content items at their own pace. They can write new content, change existing content or delete things in isolation without worrying about how it will affect the main line of content.
They are free to work without worry about stepping on each other's toes. They can make changes to the content graph, upload new files, adjust taxonomies and more! Using instant preview, they can iterate until they get everything just right. And then they can submit their changes for release using scheduled publishing!
In this article, we'll take a closer look at Editorial Flows. We'll do this by looking at how Editorial Flows bring together a number of powerful features from Gitana into a single, draft/publishinig experience. These features are:
- Branch-Based Workspaces
- Scheduled Publishing
Let's take a look at how these work together to deliver Editoral Flows!
When you launch an Editorial Flow, Gitana automatically sets up a private workspace for you or your editorial team. This is accomplishing using the Git-like versioning system that powers Gitana. Each editorial flow gets its own Branch!
A Branch is a private workspace that forks off from the main line set of content. You can make any changes you'd like in your brranch and it won't affect users who are looking at content in the main line or in other branches! This provides complete freedom to try out new ideas, experiment, make mistakes and keep going. If you try something and it doesn't work, you can simply toss it out. But if you do produce something interesting, your contributions can be cherry picked and included in the final result.
So take chances. Your branch will track all of your changes and provide you with an instant view of everything you've done. That way, when your work is done, you have a snapshot view of all of the things you've modified -- every property, document, binary attachment and graph relationship. It's all there and instantly previewable by you, you team, your management and anyone else who needs to understand what's been worked on!
Once you're done with your work, you submit it. That's it. The editorial flow will route the work on to the next person. For example, a Manager might need to approve your changes. Or a Publishing Manager might want to merge your changes into a formal, scheduled release that will go out a week from now.
In all of those cases, your specific set of changes (i.e. the work that you've done) is perfectly captured and forwarded on within the business. It contributes, adding value to the final result.
Each Editorial Flow is powered by the Gitana Workflow Engine -- a seamlesslly integrated, business process management engine (BPM) that powers the lifecycle of content within the platform. You can either use one of our pre-built workflow models or you can write your own to implement your exact workflow process needs. Workflow models define lifecycle transition states and they also define collaborators, event handlers, notifications, web hooks and more!
Sometimes you'll have a very simple workflow -- one where you make a change and you just expect it to get merged into the main line. If so, more power to you.
However, at other times, your workflow needs may be more advanced. They may require any editorial changes to be approved by a manager before they are merged. Or they might require scheduling of the resulting changes into a formal release that goes out at a specific time (such as Wednesday morning at 7:00am EST). Workflow models let you capture all of these requirements in a formal document that determines how the workflow executes.
As the workflow proceeds, collaborators receive emails and notifications to let them know when tasks have been assigned to them. Your editorial team simply clicks on a link to jump into Gitana. They can then make their changes and complete the work. It's as simple as that!
The Gitana Workflow engine features a large library of pre-built event handlers and an actions framework that enables your workflow to automatically send emails, fire off web hooks HTTP calls, send notifications, extract content, call out to AI services, tag your content and much more.
As workflows route through their lifecycle changes, reports are instantly generated to reveal bottlenecks and identify opportunities for process improvement. Learn where tasks are lagged or delayed. And find opportunities to improve your editoral flow time to market.
Each Editorial Flow that you launch can be worked on by one person or by many people all at once! You simply invite collaborators into your private workspace and then assign them to teams to grant them roles. You might choose to let some collaborators have READ ONLY rights. Whereas other collaborators might have full rights to EDIT content.
Access Policies allow you to define exactly what each user can do with each type of content in your workspace. Suppose, for example, that you wanted a collaborator to work ONLY on Spanish translations of Press Releases. Or suppose, on the other hadn, that you wanted a different collaborator to only be able to read content within the folder at the path `/customers/acme/marketing'. You can do all of this using Access Policies.
Each workspace tracks all of the changes contributed by you and anyone else you invite. In that sense, it's fair to think of workspaces as units of work. They contain within them the set of changes that the team has ultimately built and has decided to contribute back to the business.
With Editorial Flows, your editorial team can work on many different content tasks at the same time. Your team becomes aware of changes being worked on in one flow versus changes being made in another flow. They can compare these using Visual Compare. These can inspect side-by-side differences to see what document and property-level changes were made that might differ. Finally, they can Cherry Pick from the good ideas that the team has assembled, keeping the elements that yield the highest impact to the final result.
When an Editoral Flow completes, an agreed upon set of changes will have been produced. This set of changes might go through an approval step (depending on how the workflow is configured). But when all is said and done, the workflow completes and some final result is produced.
In some cases, this final result contain changes to content that are intended to be merged back to the main line... right away. In other cases, the goal might be to have those changes merge at some time in the future. And in still other cases, the goal might be to have those changes merge into a future release that then goes out all at once (at some time in the future).
Gitana supports all off these scenarios. Scheduled Publishing allows your changes to be targeted for a future release date. And Pull Requests make it possible for the content changes to be submitted for consideration by a Publishing Manager for a future release.
For example, you might have 3 changes that are required to go live on Friday. On Monday, you create a 3 Editorial Flows and 1 Release (scheduled for Friday). As the week progresses, you receive Pull Request notifications via email indicating that the Editorial Flows have completed and you now need to decide what to do with the results. You look at each one and you merge them into the Friday release. In this way, the Friday release builds up over time. It accumulates as your editorial teams contribute and those contributes are approved and accepted into the release.
The Gitana Publishing Engine allows you to configure fanned-out Deployment to one or more Deployment Targets. These include CDN endpoints, Amazon S3, IBM Cloud Object Storage, FTP servers, custom HTTP endpoints and even other Gitana environments running in various data centers anywhere in the world.
Upon release, your changes are deployed to to these deployment targets. Differencing allows you to inspect what is live (versus what is in your main line) to spot discrepancies. Finally, snapshots and rollback allow you to scroll your live deployment targets back or forward in time to reflect prior states of deployment in case of an error.
With Editorial Flows, Gitana 4.0 delivers an extremely powerful facility for quickly producing and publishing content to your live applications, web sites and smart API services running anywhere in the world. Reliably and On-Time. Powered by an enterprise-grade BPM workflow engine, these workflow processes deliver accountability and reportability, letting you track content contributions from inception to delivery.