Blogody: A better publishing workflow

I am introducing a small enhancement to the publishing workflow in Blogody today. It gives you more fine grained control over your articles and pages after they have been published.

Profile

I am getting a lot of positive feedback about the publishing speed of Blogody — some users even think it is too fast, so it is difficult to grasp that your article is already published! When I outlined the architecture for Blogody, I thought a lot about making it faster, but never about the strain it might bring to users that are used to slower systems.

Don’t worry, I won’t artificially slow down Blogody, I will even improve speed wherever I can. However, I do take these reports seriously as they guide me to make small, yet effective improvements to the UX experience. One of those little enhancements are the toast messages, whenever something important happens.

There is a small line between helpful messages and annoying popups, that’s why I want to reserve them for important events in your publication workflow.

Publishing Events

Blogody started with two publishing states , i.e. published and unpublished. This is sufficient in many scenarios. When you start writing your article it remains in the unpublished state until you are ready to release it to the world. Once you and your reviewers are happy with it, you simply press the Publish button. Your article becomes immediately visible and is being served to your audience from a fast CDN edge. This state can also be immediately reversed by pressing the now available Unpublish button.

But what happens when a published article is modified? Up until today, any modifications to your published document were immediately synced, and they were therefore instantly available to your readers. While this is a nice feature if you just want to correct a typo, it may neither be what you expect nor intentional when you make more profound changes to your document. In the latter case, you don’t want to instantly sync your draft with the published document and you also don’t want to unpublish, because that takes away the entire article from your readers.

The new Update event

There is obviously a better way for supporting updates to your content, by introducing a new state for published documents. Starting today, a published document can be in two distinct states: it is either current (which means the published version is in sync with your editor state) or it is outdated (which means your editor state is ahead of the published document).

In short, Blogody introduces the following breaking change:

Published posts and articles are not automatically synced with changes in your editor. Once published, they remain untouched until you actively press the Update button.

So, when you start out a new article in unpublished mode, everything is the same as before. However, once your article is published, you’ll see a new Update button whenever the published document deviates from your current editor version. Just hit the Update button to make the current changes available to your publication.

As in unpublished mode, you can Preview the latest changes at any time.

The Unpublish Event

You may wonder how you can unpublish a document that is out of sync with your editor state as you are only given the Update button. In this case, just update the document and unpublish shortly after. It may take a little time to get used to this principle, but it avoids cluttering the Blogody navigation bar with too many buttons.

I’ve tested various approaches including a drop-down button so that unpublishing is always available. Think about it, this would also be two clicks away: one for opening the dropdown and one for pressing the Unpublish option. That’s why I settled with an unconventional approach that best fits into the minimalist principle Blogody has been designed for: You can only unpublish a document in the current state.

Publication State

Except for tags and authors, which are still automatically synced, you will also see the Update button whenever you change your feature image, publication date, excerpt or canonical URL. These article properties are equally important and should therefore follow the general publishing workflow.

Summary

I hope you enjoyed reading some background information about this small, yet important enhancement to the publication workflow in Blogody. While this article focuses on the new functionality and the reasoning behind some of the available design choices, I also want to give you an idea about how new features make it into Blogody:

Your feedback is at the core of constantly improving Blogody. A big thank you to all who already provided valuable suggestions!

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