This is the project page for Beta Features. For a quick overview of this project, see 'About Beta Features'.
Please let us know what you think of this program on this discussion page.
Purpose[edit | edit source]
The primary purpose of Beta Features is to allow for Wikimedia designers and engineers (from the Foundation and community alike) to roll out technical improvements in an environment where a large numbers of users can test, give feedback, and use these features in real-world settings. The secondary purpose of Beta Features is to provide a path so that helpful, well-designed gadgets and other community code can be integrated into core after vetting, testing, and review from Wikimedia Design and Engineering.
The code to provide features like this is in an extension, Extension:BetaFeatures. Beta Features' preferences will be available in a Preferences tab, accessible via the personal bar at the top of the page for logged-in users.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
The layout is purposefully different, to both inspire interest and propose a departure from the standard layout and complexity of the existing user preferences.
Here is a screenshot showing what the current version of Beta Features looks like:
See also the mockups below for examples of how this design may evolve over time.
Functionality[edit | edit source]
Right now, users can:
- opt-in to individual features (manually)
- enrol in all additional features as they are subsequently released (automatically)
To use either function, users should select the appropriate checkbox, then click 'Save', which will automatically save their Beta Features preferences (like with other preferences).
In future releases, as new features are made available to users, other functions will be added, as outlined at Beta Features/Roadmap.
Current Beta Features[edit | edit source]
Here are the first beta features which we are testing with this program:
- Media Viewer — view images in large size
- Typography refresh — make text more readable
- Nearby Pages — see what other pages are nearby
- VisualEditor Opt-in — edit pages without having to learn wiki code [note 1]
- VisualEditor Formulæ — edit algebra or equations on your pages [note 1]
- New Search — use a new search engine, "CirrusSearch" [note 2]
- Compact language links – Show a shorter version of the language list, with just the languages that are more relevant to you. [note 3]
We invite Wikimedia product teams and community volunteers who want to test out new features, or significant changes to existing features, through this project.
- The Beta Features for VisualEditor are only available on wikis which have VisualEditor enabled (currently, all Wikipedias) The opt-in feature is only available on wikis that are in opt-in mode (e.g. the English Wikipedia), and not for wikis where all users already have it by default.
- Available on wikis where the alternative search backend is provided as an opt-in – wikis which have
- Only available on wikis which have the ULS tool alongside the language links in the sidebar.
Creating Your Own[edit | edit source]
Do you want to create your own Beta Feature? Great! James is happy to help guide you.
First, you should check that your code meets the following basic requirements:
- Not significantly degrade site performance;
- Not noticeably degrade perceived performance of the site, or the user's system;
- Not crash the user's browser;
- Not cause data loss, or corruption; and
- Contribute positively to the user's experience of the site, and be additive in nature. e.g. Beta Features cannot be used to remove site features or functionality without adding features meant to replace what was removed.
- Pass basic interoperability with other Beta Features features (this is not to say that interoperability is a blocker. Interoperability issues need to be surfaced, and blocker-ness will be determined on a case-by-case basis).
You should expect to test your new feature on the WMF pre-deploy beta server for at least one week before deploying to production. This testing period is intended to catch any serious bugs before jeopardizing users on production.
If you're happy your code meets these requirements, you should write-up your proposal on the New Features proposal page. As part of creating the Beta Feature, you will be asked for some text copy and an image to represent your feature in the user interface; the Design and Product teams can help you with this.