MediaWiki 1.19/Post-deploy retrospective

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We deployed MediaWiki 1.19 in February 2012. In the interests of doing better next time, these are lessons about what went right and what we need to look at.

Note: this is specifically about the MediaWiki 1.19 deployment, rather than the 1.19.0 release.

There are two sections: "What went well?" and "What do we need to look at?" For now, limit input to small (<140 character) bullet items. If you want to elaborate or respond, please take it to the Talk page.

What went well?[edit]

  • Pre-deploy testing of Commons gadgets on
  • Gross errors detected quickly, rollbacks were effective and fast.
  • Most of the big bugs got shaken out prior to the * deployment
  • Detailed communication plan, well in advance
  • No deathmarches. A couple of the windows went over their time, but they weren't huge marathons.
  • Most schema changes were done well in advance
  • DB changes were back compatible ensuring smooth migration and easy rollback
  • HetDeploy works!
  • Less new features deployed meant less bug
  • Deployed nlwiki at the exact right time
  • High quality deployment
  • Communications on the village pumps
  • Proofread page extension testing
  • Schedule in advance
  • Just in time branching
  • and then code slush!!!! saved us from merge conflict
  • Chad was busy with git and not around to bother anyone

What do we need to look at?[edit]

  • Swift?
    • We misread the severity of broken thumb reports
  • Release notes were unorganized, hard to interpret, possibly inaccurate
    • Editors asked more than once "What has changed" and it was hard to give an answer. MediaWiki 1.18 did this much better.
  • Should we have a watchlist notice on top wikis?
  • Lots of Javascript breakage that we might have been able to test sooner
  • Need to test language variants prior to deployment
  • Need to make sure we're not scheduling right on top of key personnel vacation (1.19: Asher)
  • Possible to do schema changes even earlier or independent of deploy cycle?
  • IRC push notifications were broken because of log formatting rewrite.
  • Status of Messages*.php from 1.18 vs 1.19 is confusing
  • User-visible feature communication (diffs this time around, math formulae in PNG)
  • Namespace changes
  • Proofread page extension testing - this extension needs someone to love & rewrite it
  • Unmaintained extensions
  • Code review
  • 1.19 bugzilla milestones/tracking/etc (confusion)
  • Signaling on the roadmap page - more updates
  • Roadmap page should be marked more authoritative
  • Find out a way to not block volunteers developer while deploying (codeslush)
  • Some extensions not updated for FileBackend