Enterprise MediaWiki hackathon

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This is an old discussion. For current enterprise MediaWiki oriented events, see Category:EMWCon.

This page holds planning information for a possible "enterprise MediaWiki hackathon", as first discussed at SMWCon Fall 2013 in Berlin. The basic idea is that it will be a way for people (industry, academia and hackers) to work on "enterprise MediaWiki", i.e. non-Wikimedia Foundation, projects - which in practice probably means creating new extensions, modifying existing extensions, working on skins, templates, forms and the like, and potentially working on documentation as well.

If you're interested in participating in such an event, feel free to add your opinions below, and add the "~~~~" signature.

Dates and duration[edit]

Ideas about the timing of this event - can be a year, season, month, or a specific set of dates. Should it be done before, after or alongside an existing event? Also, should it be held on a weekend or during the week? And how long should it last?

  • We could either co-locate it with the OpenData Hackathon: http://opendataday.org or at least "steal" the idea: have several events at the same date in different locations around the world at once. We could team up via skype/google hangout and local groups can try to get something solved. Krabina (talk) 07:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Doing this as part of the "Open Data Hackathon" probably doesn't make sense, since most or all of the projects wouldn't involve open data. Having multiple venues, though, does seem like a reasonable idea - that sort of discussion probably belongs in the "Location" or "Other stuff" sections below, but it's good to talk about it anywhere. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:07, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Travel expenses might be hard to justify for 'just' a code fest. I would prefer to co-locate with a conference that attracts our intended audience anyway (such as SMWCon) or to embed in something bigger (cf. Krabina's idea above). Unless we can find a way to eliminate travel, while retaining the essential idea of being and coding together --Remco de Boer 22:11, 6 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Would you be willing to attend a four- or five-day SMWCon event (three days of conference, one or two days of hacking) if it came to that? Yaron Koren (talk) 13:16, 7 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Five days out of office is a long time. What about having a second parallel slot on the conference days, a 'create camp' slot? That would give some room for exchange of ideas and working on projects. People could pick the talks that they are really interested in or join the camp. Mash (talk) 09:53, 14 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, five days does seem like a long time. (Though potentially the two coding days could be done on a weekend... I don't know if that makes it better or worse. :) ) Having it in parallel with SMWCon, though, I think is not workable. Each event alone is highly intensive; trying to do them at the same time I don't think would work for anyone. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:59, 14 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Where should it be held? This could be a continent, country, city, or venue. Extra points if you're willing to nominate a location that could host the event for free.

  • I'll be happy to host an event in Vienna, Austria. I have space for a max. of 20 persons. (My venue will be used on the above mentioned open data hackathon, though, so this will only be possible if we decide to go for a different date). Krabina (talk) 07:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Regarding the multiple events in multiple locations: on the one hand it's easier to exchange ideas if everyone is in the same place but on the other hand time and expenses for travelling might stop people from attending. So, having multiple events in different locations is probably a good idea and might allow more people to participate. I like it. Mash (talk) 13:29, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Also the focus of the event might have an impact on what's the best location and timing. For example, if teaching and outreach is the main goal then having multiple events in different locations might reach more people. Mash (talk) 07:41, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • FOSDEM might be an interesting venue (Brussels, 1 & 2 Feb. 2014). According to the schedule there will be a 'wikis' devroom. Devrooms "are a place for teams to discuss, hack and publicly present latest directions, lightning talks, news and discussions." Seems to fit the idea of a hackathon/create camp. I've had a look at the Wikis devroom schedule and it's still empty. No idea what that means, though. --Remco de Boer 22:00, 6 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Being alongside FOSDEM in some way makes a good amount of sense, given its subject matter (including that "wikis" devroom), its popularity, its location (Western Europe) and its timing. That "wikis" devroom could well be interesting to hackathon attendees, but I don't think it could actually be used for a hackathon - if you look at the announcement email, it looks like the day will mostly consist of presentations and discussions. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:31, 7 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The word "hackathon" comprises a variety of different formats. Should the focus be on teaching/outreach, on coming up with cool new ideas (possibly via judges and prizes), on getting existing local software polished and released, or on something else?

  • Focus should be on getting things done ("create camp"). E. g. solving tricky wiki tasks (templates, variables, parsing...), implementing a special prototype of something, coding and programming, translation/documentation, testing, etc. Krabina (talk) 07:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Still the question is, what do you want to get done? I wonder if we can agree on a list of most pressing issues that keep people from using MediaWiki in an enterprise context. From my point of view most of these issues belong to one of the categories listed below. The specific issues are project dependent. Maybe we can add some issues and then decide on priority? Mash (talk) 07:41, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Brand awareness
    • Usability
    • Polish
    • Missing features
  • Well, my thought was that most people attending will already have an idea or two - and possibly something they've been working on already. But it would also be good to generate ideas beforehand. The SMW users survey results, from January 2013, might be helpful here, both in terms of gauging interest in the different subject areas (though these are of course mostly SMW-based), and for specific ideas that were mentioned. Yaron Koren (talk) 12:48, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Sure, most people will have something in mind already. But I'd rather team up with someone than just work on my own on stuff that's only relevant for me. For that it would be good to know what other people might regard as important. Interesting link, by the way. If you leave out the SMW related issues then ACL seems to be most relevant. That's not really surprising and in line with my experience when trying to convince people to use SMW. Mash (talk) 15:03, 5 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Along with ACL, importing existing documents is very important. At one point there were plugins for Word that allowed you to save to MW format, but as far as I know none work with new versions of Word. Fixing that up would be huge. I put some work into a Sharepoint Wiki converter a month ago or so, which I think could be made into a Word converter with no dependencies on Office. Unfortunately in its current state it's pretty ugly, but it works and makes nice looking wikitext. Jamesmontalvo3
  • I can also imagine some sort of bug squatting event for the stuff that has been reported to Bugzilla. When some of the more experienced SMW developers are available to provide guidance, this could be a good approach to make people more familiar with the code of SMW and related extensions. And, one does not necessarily need to think up their own problems or feature ideas to bring to the event which could lower the entry barrier for some (although bringing your own ideas should still be possible, of course). --Remco de Boer 13:08, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other stuff[edit]

Miscellaneous thoughts. Is there a better word than "hackathon" for this event? Can we get sponsors? (The need for sponsors probably depends in large part on (a) whether the venue is free, and (b) whether there are prizes.) Should the whole thing be done as a Google Hangout?

  • We tend to use "Create Camp" rather than hackathon to avoide the negative connotation of the word hacking... Krabina (talk) 07:57, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Create Camp" could work - I'm personally not worried about negative connotations (though I know some people are), but what we're talking about, at least if we go with the 3rd option above, doesn't quite fit into the intended use of "hack" either - it would be less about playing around with ideas and creating quick demos (what "hack" sort of implies) and more about creating real code for general release. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:16, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]