by Jeff Eaton

Module Monday: Workbench Suite

With a revamped administrative interface, Drupal 7's content editing screens are smoother than ever. As we've discussed in other Lullabot articles, though, the work of a content editor is more than a single screen; it's a complete workflow, and Drupal's out of box tools leave something to be desired. Enter the Workbench module, a project spearheaded by the team at Palantir.

Workbench is actually a suite of four related modules: together, they provide a useful set of standardized editing and management behaviors for Drupal content. The core module, Workbench, gives every content creator a standard content overview page, where they can view all nodes they have permission to edit, as well as nodes they've yet to publish. Workbench Moderation provides juiced up revision management features, and allows editors to work on an "in progress" version of any article while the "live" version stays online. It crosses the venerable Workflow module's ability to define custom "states" for content types with Revisioning module's smooth handing of revision management. Workbench Access implements hierarchical content editing permissions based on taxonomy trees or menu hierarchies, allowing site administrators to enforce editing permissions based on site section rather than content type. Finally, Workbench Files and Workbench Media give editors a streamlined dashboard for uploading and editing their own shared files.

Screenshot of resulting change to site

Other than the core Workbench module, all of the modules in this suite are optional -- you can install Workbench and Workbench Access without the additional file handling tools, for example. Flexibility is a top priority for the team working on the module; all of the suite's dashboards and listing pages are implemented as customizable views, and Workbench Access provides hooks allowing other modules to provide their own types of hierarchies for access management. While most site builders will want to tweak or expand on the suite to cater to their site's needs, all of these modules are dedicated to providing a simple, shared "baseline" for common editing tasks.

All of the Workbench modules are currently in beta for Drupal 7, and are under active development. Most of the modules are "production ready," but more features are planned before a final release. If you're building Drupal 7 sites and looking for a quick to improve life for your editors, check them out!