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Ready your Sitecore instance for Web Mastering team

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Ready your Sitecore instance for Web Mastering team

Introduction

Let’s assume that all the development for your new Sitecore project is complete. The next step now is to fill the website with content and prepare it for going live. The customer notified you that they want to use a dedicated team of webmasters which will be responsible for the entire content management process and asked you to prepare the instance for them to be able to do that.

In this post I will describe my overview on how a Sitecore instance should be ready to receive the web mastering team. This is being done by enabling the Sitecore Workflows.

I am recommending the following steps for achieving a full-configured a Sitecore workflow:

  1. Create some user roles for the editors and assign proper rights according to their designation.
  2. Create accounts for the content management team.
  3. Setup content workflows for each role.
  4. Adjust the Sitecore Desktop UI for simplicity of use.

Create the user roles based on user designation

I believe that an efficient web mastering team should have a simple structure with only two roles: Content Author and Content Manager.

The difference between the roles is that the Content Author will have the rights to add and manage pages and content components however, they are not allowed to publish the changes to the content delivery website.

This will be the responsibility of the Content Manager. They need to proof read the content and if everything is ok, they will publish the changes to the content delivery website.

Below are the steps needed to perform the roles creation on Sitecore side:

The Content Author

For creating the Content Author role, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Go to Role Manager page on Sitecore Desktop, click New button, fill in the role name. In my case, I would name it Website Content Author, then select the Sitecore domain from below and click ok.
  2. Select the previously created role, then click Member Of button and then add the following existing Sitecore roles:
    • sitecore\Author
    • sitecore\Designer
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Users
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Designing
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Authoring
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Translating
    • sitecore\Analytics Testing
    • sitecore\Analytics Personalization
    • Sitecore\Sitecore Client Social Authoring
  3. The next step is to give security rights to the content items. For that you need to go to Security Editor, click on the Account button, select the Roles account type then search for the Website Content Author role and click ok. Once the role has been loaded into the Security Editor window, you need to check the Sitecore items where this role should have access and the provide the right permissions.

NOTE: For a content author role, I usually provide Read, Write, Create and Delete permissions in the Security Editor.

The Content Manager Role

For the Content Manager role you need to perform pretty much the same steps mentioned above. The only different things would be of course the name of the role. In my case I would name it “Website Content Manager” and then you need to add the following additional Sitecore native roles:

    • sitecore\Analytics Advanced Testing
    • sitecore\Analytics Content Profiling
    • sitecore\Analytics Reporting
    • sitecore\Analytics Management Reporting
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Publishing
    • sitecore\Sitecore Client Advanced Publishing

Next you would need to assign as well the Security settings. For the Content Manager I usually check all the default columns for the content items that are being supposed to be managed by them.

With that being said, these are all the settings needed for the Content Manager role. Now you have to create the accounts which will be used by the web mastering team.

Let’s dive into it!

Create accounts for the content management team

This part is quite straightforward. You need to go to User Manager, then click New, then you need to input the account details. From the Roles section on the form you need to select only the specific roles created previously. They will bring along all the referenced native roles from above.

Now, if you log in with a user that belongs Website Content Author role, you should see a much simplified Sitecore Administration panel like in the image from below:

Setup Content Approval Workflows

The users from the Website Content Author should be, as mentioned previously, restricted from publishing new changes to the website. Which means they need to submit their changes for review to Content Managers. The proper way to do that in Sitecore is via Content Approval Workflows. Here is how you set it up:

For simplicity, I will make use of the Sample Workflow already defined in Sitecore because it is most of the time perfect for the job. It has 3 simple steps: Draft, Awaiting Approval and Approved.

For applying a new content workflow to the existing content, you need to do a bit of work because it needs to be selected for each and every content template that you create. So, to apply a workflow, you need to go to the Templates, then you need to select your template, then go to standard values and from the Workflows section on the right select the value from the Default Workflow field. You can see an example in the image from below:

There is another good part here if you decide to use the default Sample Workflow. You will see that it is selected by default on all created templates.

NOTE: If by default you do not see the Workflow section on the right, then you need to go to the View tab, then select Standard Fields checkbox.

Now that the Content Workflow is selected for the desired templates, the next step is to add the necessary permissions to our user roles in order to be able to make use of it.

Adding permissions is done by following the steps from below:

  1. Go to Content Editor, expand System and Workflows, then select the Sample Workflow node (or the name you’ve given), then go to Security tab and click the Assign button.
  2. On the Assign Security Rights popup, click the add button and add the two roles we created previously: Website Content Author and Website Content Manager.
  3. For each role, check the following permissions for item and descendants:
    1. Read
    2. Workflow State Write
    3. Workflow State Execute
  4. Repeat the above steps as well for the workflow states of the Sample Workflow: Draft, Awaiting Approval, Approved but ONLY for the Website Content Manager.NOTE: Although the permissions should be applied automatically to the descendants, I have noticed that on my Sitecore 8.2 it doesn’t happened. So, to be sure it works, you need to do that for the workflow states as well.The following screen should emphasize how the permissions screen should look like:
  5. The last step here is to restrict the permissions of the Website Content Author role to the Workflow states that they shouldn’t have access to. In our case: Awaiting Approval and Approved.
    So for these states, from the Assign Security Rights popup, add the Website Content Author role and select the X option for the Read permission so that they shouldn’t see them in the workflow.

That should be it! Now both roles should have proper Content Workflow configuration in place.

In order to know for sure that everything is fine, you should see the following Submit button in the Review panel for a Sitecore item when connecting with a Content Author account:

Furthermore, if you connect with a Content Manager account, you should see pending approvals in the Workbox panel.

NOTE: The Workbox panel is like a checklist that presents the pending changes of the content workflow. In case nothing appears by default, you need to select the workflow that you use from top left of the window.

In case you wonder how to access it, it’s present on the second column of the administration panel, under Content Editing section.

Adjust the Sitecore Desktop UI for simplicity of use

The final step in this tutorial could be optional but I strongly recommend to do it because not only it makes the UI much simple and easy to understand by non-technical persons but it makes as well the UI more responsive in case your Sitecore instance has thousands of items.

Here is how you do it:

Go to the Red button on the top left corner below the Launchpad button, then click Application Options. A popup called Application Options should appear. From the Content Editor tab, please uncheck the following items:

  • Show Pages bar
  • Quick action bar
  • Quick info section

The image from below highlights the menu is located.

Furthermore, by going to the View tab and then uncheck the Standard Items option will give you the most simple content editing experience you can get on Sitecore.

Final Words

Thanks a lot for baring with me for such a long article! It’s takes a bit of time to set everything up but I’m sure it bring great benefits to a very active web mastering team. It facilitates the delivery of constant quality content and furthermore if enforce a clear separation of roles on the team.

Please let me know in the comments section if this tutorial helped you in any way or if some things are not clear enough.

Darius

Darius

Darius Dumitrescu is a creative Senior CMS Consultant with in depth .NET knowledge, focused on Web Development and Architecture Design.

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