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Bugs, Repairs, and Internal Operational News

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By Aude and Jarry1250

This is a summary of recent technology and site configuration changes that affect the English Wikipedia. Some bug fixes or new features described below have not yet gone live as of press time; the English Wikipedia is currently running version 1.43.0-wmf.13 (8eaf4e5), and changes to the software with a version number higher than that will not yet be active. Configuration changes and changes to interface messages, however, become active immediately.

Wikimania tech roundup

Brion Vibber's Codeathon Round Up

Wikimania 2009 included a technical track of presentations, along with a Codeathon event that took place the day before the conference and continued during the conference. The first day of the conference included an overview of Wikimedia servers and infrastructure by Rob Halsell. During his talk, he discussed plans for adding Wikimedia servers at a facility in northern Virginia, which is an area less prone to hurricanes and has other advantages. Daniel Kinzler gave an overview of how the toolserver works.

Naoko Komura gave an update on the Wikimedia Usability Initiative. From the usability tests done in the Spring, the usability team identified various improvements that could be made to the interface, and classified them as simple to difficult to achieve, and small to large impact. So far, the team has focused on implementing the simple improvements that can make a big impact. More difficult improvements like wysiwyg editing might be addressed in the future. She also briefly discussed the Multimedia Usability Project, funded by a Ford Foundation grant, that is aimed at improving the experience for users uploading images and other media to Wikimedia Commons and other usability improvements for Commons.

Komura discussed the release schedule for features, including the Acai release that is currently available for beta testing (with the Vector skin and new editing toolbar). The Babacao release will be next, and will include an updated color scheme that retains key things like the red and blue links but in more subtle shades of color. Babacao will also include changes to the editing interface, placing the table of contents on the edit page, to the right of the edit box in a tabbed panel; the other tab would have an editing cheatsheet and help information. An insert table wizard and Michael Dale's add media wizard will also be available for beta testing. Further down the road is the Citron release, which will include content folding features to collapse things like infobox markup, and will include side-by-side preview capabilities. The Usability Initiative includes provisions for additional usability testing of the new features.

Angela Beesley gave a brief overview of usability improvements being made on Wikia, including a prototype wysiwyg editor. She then led discussion on usability, which included questions for both Beesley and Komura. During the session, Andrew Garrett gave a demo of Liquid Threads, which is aimed at improving usability of talk pages.

Erik Möller, Shay David, and Michael Dale presented in a session on collaborative and open video. They discussed efforts underway to standardize video with HTML5, including new <video> and <audio> tags. Wikimedia is working, with support from Kaltura and Mozilla, to implement an HTML5 video player and other technology that is completely open source. Michael Dale has also been working on the Firefogg extension for Firefox, which allows uploading videos in chunks, which is helpful when one's internet connection breaks. Firefogg also allows uploading videos in proprietary formats such as MPEG and have them converted to the open source ogg format. Dale also talked about the new upload API, which provide support on the Wikimedia and MediaWiki back-end to support features available in Firefogg, such as chunk uploading. Dale also demoed the add media wizard, which would be available in the editing toolbar and simplifies the process of finding media files on Wikimedia Commons or uploading new files. Dale is also working on collaborative video editing features, including sequence editing, which may be implemented further in the future.

Other technical topics that were presented at Wikimania include DBpedia, the Book tool, MediaWiki bot API, MediaWiki testing, OpenStreetMap integration,, Semantic MediaWiki, WikiWord, and MediaWiki search. Video of Wikimania presentations are available on Wikimedia Commons.

During the Codeathon, developers worked on code review and preparing to update code on Wikimedia sites, which is imminent in the next week. Work was also done on Michael Dale's new upload branch, and improved JavaScript handling with jQuery. When the next code update occurs, this will include the new upload API, which supports chunk uploading with Firefogg and there will be the ability to upload files by url (e.g. from the Internet Archive).

Developers also worked on plans for a configuration database, which could replace LocalSettings.php and other configuration files currently used. Production servers (in Amsterdam) for the OpenStreetMap-Wikipedia integration project were also setup, and funds are budgeted for additional mapping servers to be located in Florida. On the last day of Wikimania, Brion Vibber provided a summary of the codeathon.

Bots approved

Two bot tasks were approved this week. DrilBot 4 was approved to implement the previously agreed deprecation of "future" templates (e.g. {{Future film}}) and SmackBot XVI to tidy up redirect syntax for enhanced interoperability with other tools and bots.

Bug fixes

New features

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English Wikipedia is currently running version 1.16alpha-wmf(r55629), and changes to the software with a version number higher than that will not yet be active

Since the introduction of wmf-deployment branch the revisions numbers have been meaningless. – Nikerabbit (talk) 07:13, 5 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]


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