Procrastinate with Scheduled Actions

The Scheduled Actions module allows you to tell Drupal to perform some action (publish a node, send an email) at a later time. With it, you can obey that ancient dictum, "Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow."

To use Scheduled Actions, you must first install the Actions module and the Scheduled Actions module. Enable both modules, then visit administer >> actions to initialize the Actions module. Go to administer >> access control and grant the schedule actions permission to the appropriate roles. Finally, you must have cron enabled for your site.

Suppose you want to create a story, put it on the front page of your site, and arrange for it automatically to disappear from the front page in a week. With Scheduled Actions enabled, it's simple:

  1. Click on create content >> story (or whatever page type you want) and fill out the submission form as normal.
  2. Open the Publishing Options fieldset and check Promote to front page.
  3. Open the Scheduled Actions fieldset.
  4. Click on the drop-down list and select Remove node from front page.
  5. In the text area, enter "+1 week".
  6. Submit the story.

That's it! If you edit the story, you'll see the scheduled action Remove node from front page appear in the Scheduled Actions fieldset. Scheduled actions will occur the first time cron is run after the scheduled date has passed. You can edit the scheduled time until the event is performed, at which point the actual time when the event occurred is shown. You can specify scheduled dates in almost any English textual date/time format.

You can manage all scheduled actions on the system from the administer >> actions >> scheduled actions page.

The real power of Scheduled Actions comes when you use Action Scheduling Actions in combination with Workflow. Tune in next time.