Edit Flow Project: Stage 1 beta release

Note: this is cross-posted from a post that I wrote on the CoPress blog.

This past weekend, we released the beta version of Stage 1 (Custom Post Statuses) of the Edit Flow Project, a plugin aiming to improve the WordPress Admin Interface for a multi-user newsroom’s editorial workflow.

The main goal of this stage was to “improve posts statuses by allowing custom statuses.” WordPress, by default, only allows for two statuses for posts during the editing process: “Draft” and “Pending Review”. These statuses are not very descriptive nor do they make it easy to track a story as it moves through a newsroom’s often complex, multi-level workflow.

With the release of Stage 1 of Edit Flow, WordPress users can now assign custom statuses to posts, giving them more control over the state of their content.

Adding/Editing/Managing Custom Statuses

The interface to add, edit and manage custom statuses.

Upon activation, the plugin adds five default statuses (“Assigned”, “Draft”, “Pending Review”, “Pitch”, “Waiting for Feedback”). These can all be edited or deleted (with the exception of “Draft” and “Pending Review”, which can only be deleted). Users can also add additional custom statuses. Overall, we tried to make this as flexible as possible, acknowledging the extreme diversity in workflows and requirements across different newsrooms.

The “Add/Edit/Manage Custom Statuses” screen (screenshot above) is reminiscent of the interface used to manage categories and tags. From a design stand-point, we tried to keep with standard WordPress interface conventions (to minimize the learning curve) and, similarly, make the plugin as less intrusive as possible.

Assigning Custom Statuses to Posts

Stage 1 release of the Edit Flow plugin allows custom statuses to be assigned to posts.

With custom statuses defined, they can now be assigned to posts. The plugin adds the custom statuses to the “Status” dropdown when editing a post (screenshot above). Additionally, given the likely frequency of use of this feature, the Status dropdown is made visible by default. The plugin also allows you to set a default status for new posts, which WordPress sets to “Draft” by default.

Managing Posts

A new column is added to the Edit/Manage Posts screen that indicates the current status of the post. Additionally, the posts on this screen can be filtered by status, by clicking on the links at the top.

To ease the management of content, a new column is added to the Edit/Manage Posts screen that indicates the current status of the posts displayed. Additionally, the posts on this screen can be filtered by status, by clicking on the links at the top.

Dashboard Widget

A minimal dashboar widget giving you an at-a-glance view on the state of your content.

As a small bonus, we threw in a small dashboard widget that gives you a quick glance of the state of currently unpublished content. As this was a last minute addition, it’s minimal and largely unstyled, but something we’ll clean up and build out more in the coming days.

Version Compatibility and Internationalization

The plugin relies heavily on JavaScript, and given recent changes to the core, we’ve decided to only support WordPress 2.8 onwards. If there is enough demand for backwards compatibility, we may consider supporting older versions. For now, and the remainder of the plugin, we will be focusing on compatibility with WordPress 2.8+. Additionally, internationalization isn’t currently supported, but something we hope to build into the next Stage of the plugin.

Download

You can find Stage 1 of the plugin on the WordPress Plugin Directory. Alternatively, download it from within WordPress using the built-in Plugin Manager (just search for “Edit Flow”).

Feedback and What’s Next

As this is the first official (albeit beta) release of Edit Flow, it is likely still rough around the edges. We’re very open to feedback though. Leave a comment below telling us what you think is broken, missing, or could be improved. (Praise doesn’t hurt either). Alternatively, feel free to submit any issues or requests that you run into on our GitHub page.

Up next, Daniel will be leading efforts for Stage 2 (Additional Post Meta Data) of the plugin, which will be working to add newsroom specific meta-data to posts. Stay tuned to our progress as we work through Stage 2.

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