Product Brief

dotCMS Workflow Management

Workflow Management


The workflow management module of dotCMS allows enterprises to increase efficiency in the editorial process while also enforcing their governance & compliance models. The workflow management module is based on the open standards and APIs of dotCMS’ architecture and allows maximum interoperability and extensibility with adjacent business applications in your ecosystem. Creating & managing complex, multi-step workflows doesn’t require coding and follows the critical NoCode pillar of dotCMS.

Key Benefits 

  • Tailored to your governance & compliance standards 

  • NoCode drives higher content velocity, time to market, and low total cost of ownership

  • Full integration with a flexible publishing framework 

  • Bi-directional interaction with external applications

  • Permission-based workflow

Mitigate Risks with Content Governance 

Every business is digital today and demands on the production and delivery of content are increasing exponentially. Complex organizations need to produce content quickly, without sacrificing quality. And for companies operating in a regulated industry like financial services, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, publishing content is subject to strict governance and approval due to increased risk exposure. dotCMS offers a content approval workflow and publication module that mitigates these risks and delivers the maximum content velocity. At the same time, NoCode workflows eliminate the need for Java development.

Custom Workflows

Custom Workflows allow you to specify how content moves through your system, from initial creation, through to publishing, and even to archival, deletion or other final disposition. In dotCMS, the workflow consists of the following elements: Schemes, Steps, Actions, and Sub-actions. A workflow can be applied to any content type in dotCMS and has no limitations in the number of steps and/or actions within a step.

Custom workflows are only available with a dotCMS Enterprise License. The number of custom workflows and workflow steps is unlimited in any dotCMS enterprise subscription.

Schemes Define a Workflow, including one or more Workflow Steps and Workflow Actions.

Steps Defines the Steps that content may go through within the Workflow.

Actions Define what actions a user may take on a content item.

Each Workflow Action specifies:

  • Who has permissions to take the Action

  • Where and when the Action is displayed to the user

  • The Workflow Step the content will be in after the Action is taken

  • The user or Role who will be assigned the content item after the action is taken

  • The Workflow Sub-Actions that will be performed when the action is taken

Sub-actions Operations which will be performed when a workflow action is taken.

dotCMS comes with several out-of-the-box sub-actions, such as Archive, Save, Publish and Delete Content. A complete overview of the standard sub-actions is available here.


Committee Approval

Having multiple editors sign off on content in regulated industries is very common. dotCMS offers approval by the committee where the workflow action is then offered to multiple users and requires that each of them (or a threshold) take action before the following sub-actions are performed and before the content is moved into the “Next Step” specified in the Workflow scheme. 


Core in the workflow module is the capability for flexible notifications. Out-of-the-box, dotCMS offers email and SMS, but the notification mechanism is extensible to any API-driven messaging application, such as Slack. The workflow module also offers personalized notifications to increase editorial engagement.


Content approval and publishing of content go hand-in-hand. In dotCMS, publishing is integrated into the workflow module as a Sub-Action, and content teams have various options for publishing: 

  • Publish: immediately publishing. 

  • Push Now: push to the default environment. 

  • Push Publishing: publish to one or more environments.

The latter variant can be leveraged for both dynamic and static publishing and offers a maximum publishing infrastructure fit that is unprecedented by our competition.

dotCDN and dotCMS Workflow

dotCMS Cloud includes dotCDN, which works seamlessly with the dotCMS workflow engine. Content updates are invalidated automatically via the dotCMS workflow.


dotCMS comes with the concept of bundles. It allows content teams to package multiple content objects for later processing (such as Push or Push Publishing) and drive content velocity and time-to-value. 

Workflow Tasks 

For larger deployments of dotCMS, it is common to have multiple active workflow schemes implemented. To keep an overview of the content management process, the Workflow Module comes with Tasks. It allows the content manager to have actionable insights and see for a specific content type where in a workflow, the content sits. For planning purposes, this can help to select and progress some of these content objects and move them to the next step of the workflow process.


Tools and content are subject to permissions in dotCMS and directly impact content approval and publishing. The creation of custom workflows requires the appropriate permissions. Still, you can also set what individual users (tied to a role) can do in every workflow step, allowing maximum flexibility in setting up the suitable content governance model and balancing content velocity and governance.  


The workflow module offers great extensibility for development teams to fit any business requirement your organization might have. The standard set of Actions and Sub-actions can be extended with custom (Sub) actions in two ways: 

  • Creating (sub) actions using OSGi plugins

  • Or adding Velocity code in the custom code section of an Action 

The possibilities for content approval & publishing workflow are in dotCMS unlimited, and your content team can get as creative as possible. dotCMS will support it. Here is an example of a recently implemented business process flow for a global brand.


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