October 2011 Coding Challenge/Slideshow
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How can we bring the millions of pictures in Wikipedia to our readers beyond the current low resolution thumbnails in articles? Find a way to invoke a beautiful, interactive HTML5 slideshow that works well on the desktop (extra points for tablet or mobile implementations), from any Wikipedia article.
Most readers only ever encounter the thumbnail view of images in a Wikipedia article. To see the full-size version, you have to manually click through, after which you end up on a page like this one. Not bad, but not particularly user-friendly either. Wouldn't it be nice to have a beautiful slideshow with captions that can be invoked right from the article?
Your slideshow implementation should work beautifully without browser plug-ins.
Things to think about:
- If I'm a Wikipedia reader, how do I activate a slideshow?
- How will captions be surfaced?
- How will users interact with the slideshow on a tablet or a smartphone?
- How to deal with different screen resolutions?
- How do I get access to other image-related metadata, e.g. licensing information?
- If a Wikipedia article links to related images on Wikimedia Commons (e.g. through Template:Commons or Template:Commons category), how can those be surfaced in the slideshow?
General new developer resources
Becoming a MediaWiki hacker
Here's a good introduction on what's involved in becoming a MediaWiki hacker, including instructions for installing your own MediaWiki instance.
IRC is short for Internet Relay Chat, and open source developers talk on IRC all the time. The IRC Primer is a good overview of how IRC works. Friendly MediaWiki developers can be found on the #mediawiki channel on irc.freenode.net (web interface). If you are having difficulties figuring out how to write MediaWiki code, you can ask for help there. Be aware, though: if you want someone to help you, do some homework first. If the answer to your question can be found easily by typing the question into Google, you might not want to ask it on IRC.
Mailing list: wikitech-l
If someone isn't immediately available to help you on IRC, you can also join the wikitech-l mailing list and ask questions there. The same rules for asking questions on IRC apply for asking questions on mailing lists.
Coding conventions are extremely important in the MediaWiki universe. Read them and understand them. If you do not conform to them, your chances of winning go down significantly.
Here's a useful pre-commit checklist. Before you decide that your submission is final, go through this checklist. You'll be glad you did.
Security for developers
Wikipedia gets half a billion visits every month, so good security practices are extremely important. Be sure to review the security documentation for Mediawiki developers.
Because Wikipedia is viewed by so many users, browser compatibility matters. (Remember: 0.1% of 500 million users is still half a million users.) Your new code may not work on every browser, but you must not break older browsers, either. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's browser compatibility policy.