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1.18 deployment and HTTPS switchover completed, but developer help now needed with new projects

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By Jarry1250

1.18 deployed to remaining wikis

With the dust settled from the first two phases of the deployment of MediaWiki version 1.18, on October 4 the full rollout programme began. Since small but technically interesting wikis had been the focus of the first two phases, only 2% of traffic had been routed through MediaWiki 1.18; now, all visitors and editors will be able to take advantage of its new features, which include support for gender-specific user pages and better directionality support for RTL languages. According to a post on the Wikimedia blog, progress with the final phase was slightly slower than anticipated but still good, with the French, Polish and English Wikipedias, along with Wikimedia Commons, having their version of MediaWiki updated within the first four hour window. Other wikis were then transferred during secondary windows on October 5 and 6. The deployment did not go perfectly, however, and a number of bugs have since been discovered with 1.18; as of time of writing, approximately 40 open ones are currently being tracked under the auspices of bugmeister Mark Hershberger, although few are serious. The list of bugs reported but not yet fixed includes problems with the watchlist API (bug #31526), the localisation update system (bug #31559) and the display of <math>...</math> (bug #31442). Responding to the relatively high volume of bugs found despite a recent emphasis on improving Wikimedia and MediaWiki's pre-release test infrastructure, Hershberger appealed for help in writing unit and/or parser tests for key bug fixes to ensure that regressions are spotted more quickly in the future. If this is the case when 1.19 nears deployment (currently scheduled for late this year), the whole process would be likely to pass off "a *lot* smoother", wrote Hershberger (wikitech-l mailing list).

Improved https support comes to Wikimedia wikis

Also announced this week was the https switchover. Writing for the Wikimedia Foundation blog, operations engineer Ryan Lane said that the domain had been officially deprecated. Lane advised security-conscious visitors to simply change http to https in their URL instead to take advantage of new functionality which has taken months of planning to achieve (including the introduction of protocol-relative URLs). In addition to a noticeable speed improvement over its forerunner, Lane was clear on the benefits of the switchover to full https functionality:

The deployment of new https functionality was commended by many commentators; one wrote that "the lack of proper HTTPS" support had in his eyes been a long-standing issue with the site. At time of writing, support for secure browsing on the mobile site has not yet been enabled (bug #31333) – there are no plans to enable mobile support until the mobile and non-mobile sites are fully merged – but the core support for non-mobile devices outlined by Lane in his blogpost at least appears to be working correctly. HTTPS Everywhere, a popular browser add-on designed to make it easier to use the secure version of a website where it exists, is in the process of being updated to take advantage of the new format (wikitech-l mailing list).

In brief

Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for many weeks.

How you can help
Call for developers

This week, Tomasz Finc, the WMF's Director of Mobile and Special Projects, issued a call for potential app developers for the Google Android operating system, whilst developer Jack Phoenix appealed for help with the Video extension.

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  • Yaaaaay HTTPS! I had given up on using HTTPS until now due to the frustrating problem of not being able to share links, because the people who clicked on them would not be logged in on the resulting page. This fixes that. This is very exciting, thank you to everyone who helped this happen! Dcoetzee 03:45, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • I thought that the part of the title that said "but developer help now needed with new projects" was about the Sepedi Wikipedia is awaiting developer creation! ~~Ebe123~~ (+) talk
    (Incubator) 11:05, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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