I work on a content management system that allows authors to create drafts of entries. When they are finished with the draft, they can click a “Publish draft” button to update the main entry with the draft’s content.

That generally makes sense, however it’s a little awkward because the entry isn’t necessarily live yet. You can “publish” a draft of a disabled entry, and the entry will be updated with the draft’s contents, but remain disabled. But the word “publish” seems to imply that the entry will go live, making me think it’s the wrong word.

Possible alternatives:

  • Commit
  • Submit
  • Finish

Leaning toward “commit” but hard to know whether that’s going to be clear to non-developers. (“Commit [to] the draft’s changes”)

Am I overlooking a better option?

(“Save” is a no go because it’s already possible to save a draft, which just updates the draft’s content with whatever’s in the form, but doesn’t have any effect on the main entry.)

  • 2
    Commit seems like a good option to me.
    – Jim
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 21:19
  • "Commit" is the normal programmerese term.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 21:33
  • Sounds like a fairly complex content flow for the end user – why not be a bit more specific in describing what each button does? “Save draft” and “Commit draft to main entry” or something along those lines would be clearer. Especially if there’s also an option to save the main entry without updating or incorporating a draft (e.g., updating metadata but ignoring the content draft). Commented May 2, 2019 at 22:16
  • Finalize. Seal. Knock off.
    – Ricky
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 0:49
  • 1
    Could you please explain the workflow? It makes a difference where in the process the action is being performed. The initial author would Submit the draft for approval; the photographer would Update the draft by adding assets; the legal department, sub-editor, and editor would each Approve the draft as it proceeds through the workflow.
    – djs
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 15:15

4 Answers 4


The word finalize might work. TfD defines it as:

to put into final form; settle


In natural language (not programmerese) we submit something (e.g. an article, an essay, an opinion piece, a work, etc.) for publication.

commit (in the sense of saving a file or a record to the server) is database jargon. End-users are not likely to know that meaning, or at least not likely to have it at top of mind.


The option of Distributed would tell the owner that their work had actually been sent out and not merely "published".



to press or urge forward to completion

This is actually the action you seem to be indicating with commit. (Side note: a commit changes a repository, a push moves it to a different location for general accessibility. Commit is more like save.)

To push something in this context would be to cause it to move to somewhere else. I'd avoid this if the pushing that material would later be used for promoting it aggressively, which is an alternate definition of the word.

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