User:Jdforrester (WMF)

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James Forrester
Product Manager, VisualEditor team, Wikimedia Foundation
James Forrester

About me

I've been a Wikipedia editor since 2002 on the English Wikipedia and a few other Wikimedia projects (see my personal account). In May 2012 I joined the Wikimedia Foundation as the "Product Manager" for the VisualEditor team.

My work

My job is to help make sure the VisualEditor team understands what the community wants and needs, is focussed on the things that matter, and is engaging with and understood by the community.
Disclaimer: Although I work for the Wikimedia Foundation, contributions under this account do not necessarily represent the actions or views of the Foundation unless expressly stated otherwise. For example, edits to articles or uploads of other media are done in my individual, personal capacity unless otherwise stated.

Contact me

  • E-mail:
  • IRC: "James_F" on freenode
  • Skype: jdforrester
  • GTalk IM:

Current projects[edit | edit source]

VisualEditor[edit | edit source]

You can now create, edit and view HTML comments, which are used occasionally as notes to future editors (bug 49603), though comments in some non-content locations like between two table rows won't appear as there's nowhere sensible to show them. We would greatly value feedback on whether this approach to this long-requested feature is useful. In the long-term it may make sense to provide a full Flow-based commenting system so that editors can see discussions about paragraphs as they are editing them, rather than encouraging the use of HTML comments which are difficult to follow.

You can now insert a re-use of an existing reference right from the "Cite" menu on desktop, rather than have to know that you can do this using the "Basic" option. This feature already existed on desktop, but now has an icon rather than just a mysterious blank square, and we fixed a bug where a "Go back" button would take you to a confusing screen (bug 68201). The "Cancel" button in the toolbar has been removed, as it was unnecessary and took up a lot of room compared to how often it was used; clicking on the "Read" tab takes users who wish to exit out of the editor, as does the "Back" button in their browser.

When you add a new template which has no suggested or required parameters in its TemplateData (or no TemplateData at all), we have changed the template tool to now prompt you to add parameters as that's often something you will want to do (bug 55925). On wikis where anonymous users are not able to create new pages, if a user has somehow ended up using VisualEditor anyway (such as through a manual link) we warn them that they won't be able to save on load, rather than waiting until they try to save (bug 67550). If you choose to switch to source mode without any changes being made, you won't be prompted to decide what to do about the changes… because you haven't made any (bug 68229). The command help dialog was adjusted to have a 'safe' (left side) closing button rather than an 'action' (right side) one, as closing it has no effect on the content.

An issue on Firefox with opening windows like the link editor would take five seconds instead of a few milliseconds the first time was fixed and released immediately to wikis (bug 68223). Another issue which we fixed and got out early meant that the messages for some dialogs wouldn't display correctly (bug 68327).

We fixed a big problem that was affecting the formula editor and similar tools that update as you type, causing them to close after each key press (bug 67326). The heights of various windows was adjusted, including the language editor (bug 68053), and the reference (bug 68232), references list (bug 68226), template, transclusion, and citation dialogs, so that they don't appear squished. We fixed an issue that meant pressing Return directly after a reference would throw an error (bug 68462).

Converting an auto-numbered external link to a normal one now retains annotations like it being bold or italic, as in other parts of the editor (bug 67377). A couple of issues with using the media dialog around changing sizes were also corrected (bugs 68000 and 68242). We corrected the reference dialog code which had stopped focussing the cursor on opening due to an oversight in the transition to use processes last week. We also fixed some issues related to handling the up and down cursor keys when you have selected a node.

We made some significant performance improvements in a number of areas, including opening the re-use reference tool, making selections across a large amount of content, choosing what to show in the context menu deleting or moving a list, resizing images, and pasting more than one paragraph in a large document (bug 68301). We also comprehensively switched from the jQuery to the browser native focus method for performance reasons, especially on mobile devices.

We set up a monitoring bot to scan for "visualeditor-needcheck" edits to make sure that any issues that might cause corruptions from VisualEditor are highlighted to the team as quickly as possible (bug 62860). The re-render flash in debug mode is now more prominent to make it easier to see what is going on. VisualEditor-MediaWiki no longer checks for OOjs and OOjs UI to be present, as MediaWiki 1.24 (on which it depends) provides it anyway. We removed the "live" event from the codebase (except internally within ve.ce.Surface), preferring more explicit "setup" and "teardown" events (bug 55505). We cleaned up the code fixing some outstanding issues violating the coding styles and moved the directory for tests from …/test/… to …/tests/… for consistency with the rest of Wikimedia's repos.

We found and fixed a bug in OOjs which meant the second attempt to disconnect an event would throw an error, which caused some issues in VisualEditor and probably elsewhere (bug 68573), and released a new version, v1.0.11. In OOjs UI, we have added more ARIA-based roles to widgets to improve accessibility (bug 50203). The toolbars now handle touch events directly, rather than through browser translation from click events. The TextInputWidget will now autosize when setValue() is called, not just when a user changes its contents manually. A minor oversight some time ago meant that the tick symbol shown next to menu items in OOUI was missing; we restored this (bug 68170). We also added a special case for the clipping of windows when the "container" is the document body, to prevent odd behaviour (bug 68370).

You can monitor the live results of the automated browser tests (triggered every twelve hours) on the server. A complete list of individual code commits is available in the 1.24/wmf15 changelog, and all Bugzilla tickets closed in this period are on Bugzilla's list.

Parsoid[edit | edit source]

  • 2014-06-monthly:
    In June, the Parsoid team continued with ongoing bug fixes and bi-weekly deployments; the selective serializer, improving our parsing support for some table-handling edge case, nowiki handling, and parsing performance are some of the areas that saw ongoing work. We began work on supporting language converter markup.

We added CSS styling to the HTML to ensure that Parsoid HTML renders like PHP parser output. We continued to tweak the CSS based on rendering differences we found. We also started work on computing visual diffs based on taking screenshots of rendered output of Parsoid and PHP HTML. This initial proof-of-concept will serve as the basis of more larger scale automated testing and identification of rendering diffs.

The GSoC 2014 LintTrap project saw good progress and a demo LintBridge application was made available on wmflabs with the wikitext issues detected by LintTrap.

We also had our quarterly review this month and contributed to the annual engineering planning process.

ResourceLoader (maintenance-only)[edit | edit source]