Before Google introduced workspaces to GTM, it was very challenging for teams to work independently on the same container. It was really difficult to undo changes and manage conflicting changes. All changes needed to be published at the same time. When you published, you hoped all changes were ready, and if they weren’t, you had to undo the changes before publishing. When undoing changes, it was difficult to determine which changes were related. Later, for those changes that were removed, they needed to be redone in the next version. Changes were often published prematurely. It was a nightmare! Then came workspaces.
What is a Workspace?
A workspace is an unpublished, work-in-process copy of the container that can be edited independently of other workspaces and versions. This means that each workspace is its own area in a container, keeping changes separate from changes in other workspaces. When you make a change to a workspace, only that workspace is directly modified. When you preview the container, only that workspace is used. When you publish, you publish a workspace, and it becomes the latest version.
Why are they important?
Change management! Users and teams can use workspaces to make, test, and manage changes without worrying about interfering with other users or teams and their changes. It provides enterprise level change management capabilities to Google Tag Manager.
What can I do with workspaces?
With the free version of GTM you can create 3 workspaces, or an unlimited number in 360 Suite. After creating a workspace, you can name, describe, edit, delete, submit for approval (360 only), save as a version, view activity history, import, export and publish. Within a workspace, you can manage changes to tags, triggers, variables, and folder. In addition, you can see what has been changed and abandon individual changes, or the whole workspace, if desired.
What happens when I create a workspace?
When you create a workspace, a copy of the latest version is made for you to edit. It is saved as a named workspace where you can make changes without worrying about affecting other workspaces or versions.
What happens when another workspace is published or saved as the latest version?
When another workspace is published, you will be prompted to update the current workspace with those changes. If the other workspace did not have conflicting changes (i.e. something changed that affects the current workspace; e.g. a tag, variable, folder, trigger), the changes are merged with your version. If the other workspace has a conflict, you will be prompted to resolve the conflict. You can either accept or reject the conflict.
Free vs. 360 Suite
What are the constraints?
Users of the free GTM version have access to 3 workspaces, one default, and two custom. 360 customers can have an unlimited number of workspaces. The premium version has an approval process, where workspaces can be submitted for approval and publishing when ready.
How should workspaces be used?
Always create a new workspace when you need to make changes to your GTM container. Keep the changes to a unit of work; i.e. don’t do too many things in one workspace, keep them related and limited. Name the workspace like you would name a job; e.g. “Add Click Event Tag for XXX” or “Adding Floodlight Tags”. If you have multiple organizations modifying a container, prefix the name with an identifier. For example, we use “AP – ” as the prefix to identify our workspaces.
What do I do when I’m out of workspaces and need to make a quick change without deleting or publishing work in progress?
You can export one of the workspaces and delete it. This will free up a workspace. Once you finish your quick changes, you can import the saved workspace back into a new workspace. You will be prompted to resolve any conflicts that were introduced. Once done, you will have an up-to-date workspace with your workspace changes and the published quick changes.