BEST PRACTICE/HOW TO: Quickly Configure SharePoint 2010 publishing features with approval workflow only on SOME sites…

2011 01 18 MV to All: My current client has a brand-new corporate portal (root site + dozens of hierarchical subsites) done in SharePoint 2010, and wants publishing features enabled, but only a single easy-to-manage approval workflow used across all sites…

This looks great & easy – but it only looks that way. Eventually the Approvers in the workflow who expected to only be getting a few email messages for approvals required on the ROOT (corporate content) site were now getting TONS of email messages for approval on pages in all of the department (e.g. HR, Finance, Engineering, IT, etc) sites, and all of their subsites as well.

😐

The challenge was this: it was decided that the department & below sites did NOT actually require “approvals” per se on their content – just the publishing features like check-in/check-out, page layouts and what have you.

We TRIED DE-activating the publishing feature for each of the department sites…
… but this turned out to BREAK certain functionality! For example, after de-activating the publishing feature on our IT dept site, we could still see the “Edit” button on a given page’s ribbon bar – it just didn’t work when you clicked it 😦

The fix turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. 🙂

In a nutshell here’s what you do:
1. ACTIVATE publishing features on all your sites;
2. RETAIN only a single simple approval workflow;
    – for us it was based on the OOTB approval workflow, with several named users all getting emails
3. ADD this approval workflow to the PAGES library of all (publishing) sites where you WANT the “publish” step to trigger the approval workflow;
4. REMOVE this approval workflow from the PAGES library of all (publishing) sites where you WANT publishing functions (see above), but NOT approval workflows.

Here are some screenshots of the steps I went through:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hope this helps some of you who – like even myself – are still devising best practices for all of SP2010’s new features…

Peace.
-MV

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