Workflow in GLAMkit

GLAMkit includes a simple workflow system to help manage content generation and publishing.

Quick Start

To get started with GLAMkit Workflow:

  • Add the icekit.workflow to INSTALLED_APPS (this is included by default)
  • Models should extend the abstract model mixin WorkflowStateMixin
  • Model admins should extend WorkflowMixinAdmin and:
  • include WorkflowStateTabularInline in the admin’s inlines attribute so staff can manage workflow state relationships
  • add some or all of WorkflowMixinAdmin.list_display items to show workflow information in admin listing pages
  • add some or all of WorkflowMixinAdmin.list_filter items to permit filtering by workflow properties in admin listing pages
  • Configure email notification settings.

Workflow State

A workflow state captures the current status of items within a workflow. Status information includes:

  • a brief description of the status, such as “Ready to review” or “Approved”
  • an optional user assignment, if a particular individual is responsible for progressing the item through to the next state in the workflow.

An item will generally have only a single workflow state assigned as it moves through a workflow process, such as from “Ready to review” to “Approved”. However it is also possible to relate many workflow states to an item to handle branching workflows if necessary.

The icekit.workflow.models.WorkflowState model allows you to assign workflow information to any model in the system via a generic foreign key (GFK) relationship, and to store related workflow status information.

Reverse model relationships

To make the relationships between workflow states and a target object navigable in reverse, the target object class should extend from the helper abstract mixin model class icekit.workflow.models.WorkflowStateMixin.

Once the reverse relationship is made navigable in this way you can look up the workflow states associated with an item more easily using the workflow_states relationship attribute.

The WorkflowStateMixin mixin model class inlcudes extra fields to help with workflow management in general:

  • brief - document brief describing the purpose of this content
  • admin_notes - Administrator’s notes about this content.

Workflow Admin


The icekit.workflow.admin.WorkflowMixinAdmin provides convenient workflow-related information and features for use in your Django admin classes.

Admin list views columns you can add to list_display:

  • workflow_states_column renders text descriptions of the workflow states assigned to an item
  • created_by_column renders the user who first created an item in the Django admin
  • last_edited_by_column renders the user to last edited (added or changed) an item in the admin.
  • brief_summary_column renders the first few characters of a workflow briefing document associated with the item.
  • admin_notes_summary_column renders the first few characters of a workflow admin notes document associated with the item.

NOTE: The model change tracking is based on Django admin’s LogEntry mechanisms and is fairly simplistic: it will not track model changes performed outside the admin.

Admin filter classes you can add to list_filter:

  • WorkflowStateStatusFilter to show only items related to a workflow state with the given status, such as “Approved”
  • WorkflowStateAssignedToFilter to show only items assigned to a user.


The icekit.workflow.admin.WorkflowStateTabularInline provides an inline for assigning and managing workflow state relationships with items in the Django admin.

Email Notifications

ICEkit Workflow can be configured to send email notifications when the workflow state associated with an item is added or changed.

Configure one or more target email destinations in your project settings with WORKFLOW_EMAIL_NOTIFICATION_TARGETS. These target settings are very configurable, so examples are the best way to explain:

    # Simplest configuration is an empty dict to send email to assignee (if any)

    # All components of the email are configurable in a target
        'to': '[email protected]',
        'from': '[email protected]',
        'subject_template': 'Custom email subject. State is now {{state}}',
        'message_template': 'Custom email body. Assigned to {{assigned_to}}',

    # Send email notifications to a Slack channel that is already set up to
    # accept incoming emails. Also maps usernames to Slack @-mention syntax.
        'to': '[email protected]',
        'map_assigned_to_fn': lambda user: '@' + user.username if user else ''

In addition to the per-target configuration options you can configure the default values used.

  • WORKFLOW_EMAIL_NOTIFICATION_DEFAULT_FROM: Address from which workflow notification emails are sent. Defaults to settings.DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL
  • WORKFLOW_EMAIL_NOTIFICATION_SUBJECT_TEMPLATE: Template for email subject line. See icekit.workflow.appsettings for the default subject template.
  • WORKFLOW_EMAIL_NOTIFICATION_MESSAGE_TEMPLATE: Template for email body. See icekit.workflow.appsettings for the default message template.

The email subject and message templates above use standard Django template syntax to interpolate values. The following data items are provided to these templates:

  • state: the WorkflowState instance that has been added or changed
  • object: the item whose state has changed (the instance to which the workflow state is related)
  • admin_url: a full URL to the CMS admin page for the item whose state has changed
  • assigned_to: the User to which the workflow state is assigned (may be None) or, if a mapping function is applied via the map_assigned_to_fn target setting, the result of that mapping function. In the Slack notification email example above, the value of assigned_to will be “@username” if a user is assigned.