GNUnify 2013 - Event Report
The Wikimedia Language Engineering team participated in GNUnify 2013, a major open source conference held in Pune, India from 15th to 17th of February. The team presented their work, conducted a translation sprint and also facilitated in discussions with local Wikipedians about using Mediawiki and Wikimedia projects in the their languages.
Presentations by the team
Language engineering team members presented on all three days of the conference. On day 1, Runa Bhattacharjee kicked off the engineering presentations. She spoke about the changing dynamics of using localized content and need for developing tools that facilitate new requirements from online users. These language tools include input methods and fonts across multiple devices and platforms. She introduced internationalization projects (jQuery.i18n, jQuery.ime, jQuery.uls, jQuery.webfonts, Project Milkshake) from the Language Engineering team which extend language support for web and mobile platforms, as well as localization tools such as Translate and translatewiki.net
Siebrand Mazeland and Niklas Laxström provided a walkthrough of the Translate extension, and translatewiki.net. They introduced languages and projects that were available for localization at translatewiki.net as well as highlighted the upcoming remake of the UI and significant features of the updated Translation editor like machine translation suggestions, context information. The editor is currently in development. They also described backend components improvements that help keep track of changes and ensure easy maintenance.
On day 2, Alolita Sharma presented on tools that help contributing to Wikipedia in various languages. She highlighted the need for features and tools to support non-English Wikipedias and the solutions that the Language Engineering team is developing that would help eliminate fundamental hindrances that contributors face while trying to create content for Indian languages. She also spoke about the other Wikimedia projects that are open for participation.
Santhosh Thottingal presented the jQuery libraries from Project Milkshake that can be used to build multilingual web-applications for internationalization. The jQuery internationalization libraries including jQuery.ime, jQuery.uls, jQuery.i18n and jQuery.webfonts, created originally for use in Mediawiki is now available as generic libraries. Santhosh presented a tutorial on their use including usage of plural, gender and grammar rules, language search and selection.
In his presentation on building input methods, Amir Aharoni demonstrated the use of the input methods provided by the jQuery.ime library. He showcased writing in Devanagari displaying the ease of writing in a comparatively less familiar language (in this case Marathi for Amir) using a phonetic input method. He also presented on how the library can be integrated into web applications, such that all input methods within the library (currently more than 140) could be made available for the users to write with. Yuvi Panda demonstrated how he ported the jQuery.ime library for use in Android devices.
Later in the day, Amir Aharoni conducted a workshop on jQuery.ime library, in which he walked through the process of adding a new input method and submitting it for inclusion in the github repository of jQuery.ime. Participants Anshuman Gupta worked on including the first Bhojpuri input method, while Harsh Kothari and Arnav Sonara worked on developing input methods for Gujarati.
Workshops and Sprints
Translation sprint with translatewiki.net
A two-hour long translation sprint was conducted in which participants translated various projects hosted on translatewiki.net. Nearly 45 participants were guided with account creation, project selection, and translation. Indian language Wikipedians familiar with the translation process not only translated but also helped getting new users started. At the end of the sprint, more than 1000 completed translations were logged and prizes were distributed for significant contributions.
Building Gadgets workshop
Language Engineering BOF
The Language Engineering team also organised an open birds of a feather session to discuss technical issues related to Wikimedia projects in Indian languages. Besides the team, others present included local Wikipedians. Subhashish Panigrahi mentioned that internationalization and localization bugs needed to be followed up faster. It was suggested that urgent items be brought up during the team’s regular irc bug triage sessions and office hours. Subhasish also mentioned that technical events like hackathons and workshops were in demand in universities, to which it was suggested that technical users groups be bootstrapped to prepare a local community capable of providing technology outreach and support.
Participation in open source conferences such as GNUnify helps get more open source developers as well as language Wikipedians aware of the latest tools that the Language Engineering team is developing which they can use as well as receive direct feedback from the global communities the team serves.