One of the sites I've set up with Joomla is a site for a Norwegian fraternal organization. They have well over a hundred local branches and a similar number of local editors. I've started giving a handful of them access to the Joomla front-end editing system, but have realized that the work flow in Joomla is far from perfect as it is now.
For that reason, I was extremely happy to see that there's a work flow extension in the works - addressing exactly the needs I have with the site mentioned.
The Work flow Extension beta allows a website administrator to define a work flow "i.e a process" for content publishing. The extension is developed for the Joomla 1.6 ACL group management system, so it will be efficient to use it in Joomla 1.5, as I understand it.
Better control over content creation and publishing
If we take my fraternal website as an example, each local lodge is organized as a category in the «lodges» section. Each one of these categories is managed by a team of editors - some centrally, and some locally. Each team member has a defined role in the process of content creation. Let's assume we have 3 tasks: Policy compliance review, Language review, Style review. Each of these tasks will be handled by a group of people.
I, as the administrator, define the groups through the Joomla ACL Interface and creates a custom work flow for each content category (lodge). Each work flow will have 4 stations (Policy compliance review, Language Review, Style Review and Published).
After saving the work flow, the extension will intercept any article created in the «target categories» and will inform the first station users «Policy compliance review» that there's an article awaiting review. A user from this group will read and approve the article. In our organization, this typically is the leader of the local lodge, the one responsible for the validity and quality of the content. The article will then be passed to the next station automatically, and the process continues until all groups have reviewed and approved the article.
Work flow management
Whenever a user logs in and access the work flows page he will be presented with pending tasks. That is, tasks that reached a station that the user oversees.
For each work flow there's an "Administrating group", ie a group that can see all items that are going through a that work flow.
Part of the Joomla core?
I think this is an extremely useful extension and something I would like see as a part of the Joomla core. The complexity of the extension is up to each administrator. I sure know it will do a lot of good for the fraternal organization I mentioned, as we have quite a few rules that must be adhered to before anything is published on the public website. With this extension, the work flow can be streamlined and delegated to the right people automatically.
I'm really looking forward to testing this extension.