To disable activation workflow but to make sure that activation of component variants and the versioning feature work, you should set your configuration in /modules/pages/commands as follows:

Node nameValue

 commands


      website


          activate


              version


                  enabled

true

                  class

info.magnolia.commands.impl.VersionCommand

              activate


                  commandName

personalizationActivation

                  class

info.magnolia.commands.DelegateCommand

          deactivate


              commandName

versioned-deactivate

              class

info.magnolia.commands.DelegateCommand


See Disabling activation workflow in our documentation.