Chapter 8 Editorial Tools and Workflow


This chapter will explain the tools that content editors will use to do their jobs.

  • How are “versioning” and "version control" different things?

  • Why do content files rarely exist in isolation and why should they usually be associated with a content object?

  • What's the “dirty little secret” of workflow that no one talks about?

  • Why should permissions always be managed at the group level?

  • Why does personalization drastically complicate content preview and in-context editing?


On why editorial tools, workflow, and usability have a huge impact on the longevity of the content team.

This is a critical area of functionality, because poor tools and workflow can cripple editors and destroy morale. Sadly, editorial usability is the area of CMS development that gets skipped over too often. As we've discussed, CMS are created by developers, but they're often created for developers first and only. A developer understands things differently than the average content editor, and when designing editorial interfaces and tools, developers will often take leaps and liberties that make sense to them, but not necessarily to people with other perspectives.

[...] While editorial friction directly impedes editor productivity in the short term, the more damaging aspect is the chronic drag it has on morale in the long term. Many an editorial team has grown increasingly frustrated and resentful over time with a poorly architected or implemented CMS. More than once, I've encountered teams that were fraying at the edges and losing staff because they were tired of the extra workload imposed on them by the system they were forced to use.