Setting up SDL Tridion Multi-Item Workflow with Bundles

This tutorial describes how to set up SDL Tridion 2013 Multi-Item Workflow with Bundles.

Document Summary

Bundles are a new type of virtual folder introduced in SDL Tridion 2013. Bundles let authors gather items in the Content Manager Explorer (CME) and process them together. Example use cases for Bundles include:

  • Publishing Component and Pages together

  • Release Management (publishing content and possibly code together)

  • As a shortcut to sets of other items (Bundles can contain other Bundles)

  • Multi-item Tridion Workflow

This tutorial describes the basic steps in setting up multi-item Tridion Workflow with Bundles with a focus on installing the Visio (client) software, setting up the schemas and bundles, and then starting workflow.

Steps

  1. Install the Visio Workflow Designer

  2. Create and Save a Workflow Process Definition using Visio

  3. Create the Bundle Schema

  4. Set Publication Settings

  5. Create Bundle

  6. Start Workflow

Environment Details

The screenshots in this article are adapted from the SDL Electridion training environment featured in the SDL Tridion 2013 Discovery Courses.

Visio

Though you can create and upload Visio Workflow Process Definitions directly on a Content Management System (CMS) server (e.g. to "localhost"), in practice you will typically use Visio from a desktop or laptop (i.e. a local machine).

Install the Visio Workflow Designer

 Recommended Operating System:

  • Microsoft Windows 8, or

  • Applce Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Third-party Software required:

  • Microsoft Visio 2010 SP1 or 2013 (32-bit)

  • MS XML 6.0

  • Microsoft .NET Framework Version 4.0 or 4.5

See SDL Live Content for details (requires login).

Install the Visio Workflow Designer from the installation folder:

\Manager\Additional Products\Visio Workflow Designer

Create and Save a Workflow Process Definition

Create or use an existing Workflow Process Definition (in a Visio .vsd file). The following example shows a two-step approval process where content editors first approve content and pages and then choose where to publish these items.

Example

 After creating a Workflow Process Definition, be sure to Save your work:

Create Workflow and Save

Or if using an existing defition, choose Save As. You will be prompted to enter a Content Manager, choose a Publication, an Process Definition name.

Note: you may have to wait for the connection to "time out" if changing Content Manager location (url).

Workflow Save

Implementation tips:

  • Workflow includes content user steps to start (accept), make manual reviews, and finish each activity. Seemingly simple workflow designs can be a few more steps than authors expect. Start with simple cases, then add more steps, automation, and GUI extensions as needed. Many implementations do perfectly well with a "workflow" process of being able to publish to Staging (Preview) and Live.

  • As a Visio diagram, consider adding some additional information to the Workflow Process Definition. For example, the above includes two Visio containers showing the high-level steps and text explaining where this process is used.

  • Save definitions high in your BluePrint so that the appropriate schema definitions can use them; this would typically be "010 Schemas." Avoid using "Empty Parent" or your scalability publication otherwise future branches would be forced to inherit these definitions.

  • Consider naming conventions to make it easy to find and select the right definitions.

Setup Schema and Bundle(s)

To start workflow you need a Bundle based on a Bundle Schema set to your Workflow Process Definition.

Start by creating the Bundle Schema.

Create the Bundle Schema

Create or open a Bundle Schema. Bundles are a new feature in SDL Tridion 2013 that allow content authors the ability to group multiple items into a single virtual folder.

Approval Schema

Authors will see this option, so choose an author-friendly naming convention. Like other content definitions you will likely have a few schemas and many instances of those schemas.

Optionally add Metadata to the bundle. This lets you add author-controlled fields to the Bundle properties which can be used in any automation you add.

Bundle Approval Metadata

Finally, set your schema to the Workflow Process Definition from above.

Set Worflow on Bundle

Set Publication Settings

Depending on your BluePrint setup, you will likely create Bundles in lower publications that handle pages and/or publishing.

In order to re-use a shared Workflow Process Definition in these lower publications, be sure to adjust Publication settings to Enable Workflow Process Definitions in Shared Schemas and Structure Groups.

04 Enable Bundle Publication Setting

You're done from an implementation perspective. The final steps would typically be done by the appropriate content editors or "power users," though development or IT administrators may control bundle management.

Create Bundle(s)

Unlike regular folders, Bundles simply point to existing items (including other Bundles). However, you can organize them in similar ways to folders. For example:

  • By business unit, department, or authoring group

  • By channel or desitnation (i.e. website)

  • By content type (schema)

  • By date

In addition and especially for Workflow Bundles, consider process-related uses such as:

  • By release (upcoming event, sale, or campaign)

  • By page or section of a website, including all related content (components)

  • By process (e.g. send for approval, validate with another system, promote/demote)

This example combines the process of "homepage approval" with the homepage items meant for this bundle.

Create Bundle Homepage

The description comes from the Bundle Schema metadata tab definition. Fields should be based on your business and functional use cases and might includes examples like "release date." When possible, only offer author-controlled fields here; for "global" workflow configuration or other system data, consider separate components or Application Data as needed.

Start Workflow

After adding items to the Bundles, authorized users can start workflow.

Start Workflow

Start Workflow

Troubleshooting

Workflow may not start if:

  • Publication properties don't allow shared definitions (see above)

  • User doesn't have the right authorization (at least read to the items in the Bundle in the current publication's context)

  • Items in the Bundle are locked or are already in workflow (possibly in another bundle workflow)

Summary

SDL Tridion 2013 introduced new type of virtual folder called Bundles that let authors gather and process item together. You might uses Bundles to address multi-item publishing, manage releases, create powerful shortcuts, or create multi-item Tridion Workflow.

This tutorial demonstrate the Content Manager Explorer steps are simple, what you do with SDL Tridion Bundle Workflow will be the challenging part. Good luck and success in your Workflow implementations!

About the Author
Alvin Reyes
Consultant

As an SDL Content Management Technologies (CMT) consultant, Alvin enjoys the opportunity to help organizations find solutions that balance business and system needs. He is active in the SDL Tridion technical community, participating on Tridion StackExchange, serving as a functional lead for SDL Tridion Powertools, and actively writing about information systems, business analysis, and especially Tridion on his blog, "Create and Break."

SDL CMT division