7 Understanding Document Workflows

This chapter describes workflow concepts in Oracle WebCenter Content. It has the following topics:

7.1 About Workflows

A workflow specifies how to route content for review and approval before it is released to the system. The workflow notifies users by e-mail when they have a file to review, and when using the Oracle WebCenter Content user interface, a notification flag is displayed next to the user name in the banner.

7.2 Workflow Types

From a workflow participant's point of view, there are two types of workflows:

  • A basic workflow defines the review process for specific content items, and must be initiated manually.

  • In a criteria workflow, a file enters the workflow automatically upon check-in when its metadata matches predefined criteria.

7.3 Workflow Steps

Each workflow can include multiple review and notification steps, and multiple reviewers to approve or reject the file at each step. For each step in a workflow, a set of users and a step type must be defined. The users defined for a step can perform only the tasks allowed for that step type.

Step Type Description


This step is the initial step of a basic workflow. The workflow defines who the contributors are.


This step is the initial step of a criteria workflow. There are no predefined users involved in this step.


Users can only approve or reject the file. Editing is not allowed.

Review/Edit Revision

Users can edit the file if necessary and then approve or reject it, maintaining the existing revision number.

Review/New Revision

Users can edit the file if necessary and then approve or reject it, creating a new revision.

7.4 Workflow Process

The workflow process is as follows:

  • When the required number of approvers for a particular step approves a revision, the revision goes to the next step in the workflow.

  • If any reviewer rejects a revision, it goes back to the most recent review step that allows editing.

  • When reviewers approve a revision in the last step in the workflow, the content item is released to the system.

  • A basic workflow containing multiple content items can release some items in the workflow to the system before all of the revisions have completed the workflow.

7.5 Postprocess Workflow Options

Workflows or individual workflow steps can allow for items in review to be released into the system for indexing, searching, and viewing, even though the workflow to which they belong is not completed. For example, items in a workflow process can be made available to others not in the workflow, or a workflow can update the content information of an item without advancing the revision of that item.

7.6 Authentication

Workflows provide authentication options for individual steps and for the content item itself.

When you approve a revision, you also have the option of providing an electronic signature for the content item itself (not the step). The electronic signature uniquely identifies the contents of the file at a particular revision and associates the revision with a particular reviewer.

An electronic signature is a unique identifier computed from the content of the item and associated with other metadata such as the user name of the reviewer. Multiple reviewers can "sign" a particular content item revision. Modifications to the content item itself result in a different identifier. By comparing electronic signatures, Content Server can determine whether a content item has changed and whether existing approvals are valid.

For more information about electronic signatures, see Section 18.4, "Signing Content Electronically."