Talk:VisualEditor on mobile

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About this board

How has your experience been editing on a mobile device using the visual editor?

Frustrating? Satisfying? Confusing?

Whatever your experience might be, we are eager to hear. Also, please do not feel limited by the prompt above. This is a great place to share and talk about anything related to mobile editing. So please: feel empowered to use this space as you see it...we're going to do the same!

Splitting the community?

Traumflug (talkcontribs)

Nice efforts! But pretty disappointing to see these efforts being limited to "mobile" devices. "Mobile" devices are perfectly normal computers, just with a smaller physical screen. Also, there's no boundary between "mobile" and not mobile devices. Smartphone <-> tablet <-> laptop <-> desktop is effectively all the same, just with growing screen sizes (what about a phone connected to a large desktop screen? What about desktop users using a small window?).

Very obviously, desktop users would benefit from all these enhancements as well, so please remove this artifical distinction. Wikipedia is one community!

Ottawahitech (talkcontribs)

This is a problem, I agree, also for mobile users.

For example I have been trying to participate in a WMF "mockup" of a tool that will supposedly replace "wiki-blame", and only after spending (wasting?) precious time figured out WMF has no intention of making it available for non-desktop devices. Apparently the use of mobile devices never even crossed the minds of the developers.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

That's not true; they did consider mobile users. They have posted an explanation for why the current project is a browser extension, how that interacts with mobile devices (namely, Chrome for Android doesn't support any browser extensions), and their goal is to make it technologically possible for the code to run on Firefox for Android, i.e., on a mobile device.

Note also that the older version isn't going away, because lots of people are unable to install browser extensions (e.g., students using school computers).

Ottawahitech (talkcontribs)

reply to whatamidoing:

This is not what I remember, but granted, my participation in the mockup tool discussion happened a couple of wiki-centuries ago. The way I remember it, the access via mobile was raised as a question, and only then we were told they had difficulties implementing it.

btw, it is only by sheer luck that I found this discussion here which is, I assume still alive? when I checked it by going through my contributions it appeared that my reply button was greyed out. I wonder how many others who posted a question here gave up on getting an answer and did not happen to notice another button on the top left of the box (it is gone now so I can no longer tell you what it said)?

Ottawahitech (talkcontribs)

reply to Traumflug :

years ago it was possible to treat mobile devices as just another type of computer. In my experience it was much easier to participate in editing in those days. Nowadays the wiki-software recognizes some devices as mobile and automatically switches editors over to a different platform, I think?

This post was hidden by Ottawahitech (history)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Yes, there's some automatic detection in place. Some people prefer one or the other. I hear that there are semi-regular rounds of people discovering that the mobile site works on their desktop systems and sharing the "secret" on social media. And of course many long-time editors prefer the desktop interface even on small phones.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

There are some differences in device power, and the screen size is very important for the design. A typical laptop screen can have many tools displayed in a single row, and a smartphone might have room for just five (approximately one small button for every 20 mm in screen width). Additionally, the interactions with soft keyboards require separate programming.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to see on both platforms?

Ottawahitech (talkcontribs)

Yes, now that you mention it I believe the wikipedia interface was much more basic when I first joined wikipedia (before 2010). At the time there were no notifications, and probably other things which I do not remember. What I do remember is that at the time I was very impressed with the system since it was very robust and all the software I used (maybe I did not use everything that was available?), seemed to always work and quickly. Since then we have a lot more tools, but they do not always work, the whole system goes down every so often, at least it does on the severs I happen to use, and some tools are so slow they may as well not exist as far as I am concerned :-)

This post was hidden by Ottawahitech (history)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

No. They stopped working on Flow before they got to things like making it possible to split and rearrange comments, or even as far as testing what indentation systems make sense. At the moment, everything that's in consecutive order (same indentation level) is considered a reply to the comment above it. "Indented" comments only appear if you reply to something in the middle of a thread.

Reply to "Splitting the community?"

Can't mark edits as minor in mobile

Summary by Whatamidoing (WMF)
Ainz Ooal Gown (talkcontribs)

There is no option to mark edits as minor in mobile source editor. I can't even see changes ( "Show changes"). The "edit summary required" setting doesn't work on mobile too. Please fix these issues. IMO, mobile source editor needs urgent work.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

What device are you using?

Ainz Ooal Gown (talkcontribs)

Chrome Dev For Android 78.0.3902.3 Android Nougat ZTE. The visual editor on mobile has the option to show changes, mark edit as minor. But in the source editor, all I can do is edit the source, click "Next" and give edit summary and then "Publish" page. I get to see a preview of what I changed but I can't see the preview in wikitext.

Upickit1 (talkcontribs)

like what kind of edits i was redirected to that page you cant see what i'm -texting sorry small screen .

Reply to "Can't mark edits as minor in mobile"

Wasted editing space in mobile source editing on Firefox

Summary last edited by ESanders (WMF) 14:31, 17 December 2019 7 months ago
Kaartic (talkcontribs)

This is not about the visual editor for mobile but the source editor for mobile. Please let me know if this is not the right place for this piece of feedback.

I use Wikipedia on mobile via Firefox for Android on a device which has a small screen size (320x452 browser window size).

As the screen size is small, the space I get is limited already. Besides that, the mobile source editor seems to be wasting precious editing space by having lot of unnecessary white space surrounding the editor. See linked screenshot. As you could see, effectively the available editing space is only half the screen size! It would be nice if the unnecessary white space was removed used to give more editing space.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Kaartic, does it normally have that big white block covering the bottom end of the screen? That's... strange.

Kaartic (talkcontribs)

Yeah. The big white block is normally present whenever I use the source editor in mobile regardless of the page or wiki which I am editing. Its never been different on that mobile.

Kaartic (talkcontribs)

I just got a chance to verify this was specific to my (small-screen) device by testing this in a friend's device (a OnePlus 6T; 6.4 inch display). I initially thought this was specific to my device but it looks like the situation is even worse on his device. The editing space seems to amount to only a quarter of the available space. Also, it looks rather odd on a device with a large screen.

On further digging into this, it issue seems specific to the Firefox browser. I am unable to reproduce this in Chrome i.e., there is no white space wasted by the editor. I've filed a bug report as this doesn't seem specific to my device anymore.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

If the editor dies during loading, the user obviously fails to complete their edit. If the editor take so long to load that the user quits, the user obviously fails to complete their edit. Excluding such data clearly invalidates the reported data.

Beyond that, it is a normal part of our workflow sometimes open additional wikitext tabs for the purpose of viewing or copying wikitext. This makes the wikitext percentages appear misleadingly low. The our true goal is is increased and sustained contributions by users. The number of tabs they open to while generating those contributions is irrelevant.

Reply to "False edit completion rates"
Alsee (talkcontribs)

@DannyH (WMF) you appear to be the author of the relevant text, so I'm pinging this to your attention.

You wrote visual editor is the default editing experience on desktop, and that desktop, brand-new editors are mostly using visual editing. This is incorrect. Our wikis are fragmented into four configurations:

  1. For the largest group of editors, wikitext is the default editor.
  2. The second largest group do not have a default editor, the wiki default provides parallel links to both editors.
  3. Due to a bug, some wikis were set to VE-primary in the Single-Edit-Tab deployment. Note that the manager on the project gave an explicit assurance that VE was not going to be set primary without asking the community first. Staff have been either non-responsive or combative in regard to fixing this bug. It only got fixed on three wikis so far, and only after community members started writing sitewide-javascript hacks to fix the bug ourselves.
  4. The smallest group is... I think two small wikis ...where VE is legitimately VE-primary.

By the way, the "alarmingly low" wikitext completion rates and higher VE rates on mobile are obviously because all of the worthless curiosity-clicks get dropped into the default editor. Approximately no one gets into the VE-bin unless they're an experienced editor deliberately swapping to VE. The desktop completion rates are also junk figures, dominated by the fact that a random percentage of wikis drop users into different defaults. Non-default usage is almost 100% experienced editors, with obviously higher completion rates.

Reply to "Default editor on Desktop"

Blockquote screws up Visual editing for entire paragraphs it’s under

2600:387:6:80F:0:0:0:1F (talkcontribs)

I’ve been highly annoyed when trying to use VE around blockquotes. VE treats not only the quote itself, but the entire paragraph it has followed as one giant section that cannot easily be accessed unless you switch to Source editing.

Similarly trying to edit the quote itself or any of the other fields is hard unless you turn your phone sideways which usually doesn’t work as the screen leaves no room between the VE headers on top half, and the typepad on the bottom half.

Having said this, kudos for all the work so far as I have been able to create quite a few articles.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I'm glad it's working better for you. Could you give me a link to an article that has blockquotes in it? (I'm wondering whether there's a blank line between the end of the blockquote and the next paragraph.)

Reply to "Blockquote screws up Visual editing for entire paragraphs it’s under"

Mobile keyboard shortcuts for reduced toolbar

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

Hi, in the VE toolbar on mobile I only have Undo, Formatting, Link and Cite. (Plus X and > of course.) No items for Headings, Lists, Insert, etc.

I've worked out partly by accident how to create numbered lists, bulleted lists, and headings by typing '#', '1.', '*' or '==' at the beginning of a line. (Aside: things can go awry with the ==== as the characters disappear and there's no visual indication what heading level you're at. A workaround is to type the text first then insert the == in front.)

Also figured out that I could invoke the transclude dialog by typing '{{'. Again through accident and existing typing habits. Whereas I find the pop-up for {{ and [[ is a bit intrusive on desktop, it actually feels more natural on mobile, maybe because the dialogs/cards are full-screen, or because I'm typing more slowly on a touch-screen.

Just today I learned from phab:T202575#4555959 that '<ref' works, and by analogy I also tried '<pre'. This image phab:F25614007 shows ':' for blockquote.

I haven't yet found a way to do indenting, insert symbols, reset to plain paragraph style, etc. without switching to source wikitext mode.

Does anyone have a list or know of other typed tricks (that work when your touch keyboard lacks tab, esc, ctrl, and alt)?

Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Have you tried StyleManual for mobile? I thought it should be on mobile as desktop mode does... Empathy you are learning by knocking on every door-to-door try and error, but you’re not alone ;)

  • Indents with _:_,
  • blockquotes with empty space _ _ at the line beginning.
  • Bolds _;_ at the line beginning, maybe _<b>_ middle of line
  • Sorry, forgot how to disengage dagger lists/indents. Thought two linebreaks but does not work anymore.
Pelagic (talkcontribs)
Omotecho (talkcontribs)

You know, your list is very handy, thanks for sharing! My suggestion above work on VE as well. I, as you do, avoid switching between VE and Wikitext Editing by tricks as above. Or intentionally apply Mobile view on my laptop as I need to enlarge to 120% thus save screen space without Desktop toolbars.

Off topic. Yes, we lack editing buttons on Mobile VE, or you tap “Desktop view” link at the very bottom, continue using VE and manage to work on the small screen... I do it on iPhone as Desktop VE toolbar is handy. But on laptop and Firefox, many times shift between Mobile and Desktop view “crushes”, but auto-recovers. Cheers,

Reply to "Mobile keyboard shortcuts for reduced toolbar"

Table sorting

Summary by Whatamidoing (WMF)
Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

A questioner at the Teahouse on en-wiki has asked why tables that are sortable in desktop view are no longer sortable when seen in 'mobile view'. Is this something that is planned to be implemented at some point in the future? And do we have a comparison table anywhere that shows which functions are currently available/unavailable in each of the two views?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@TheDJ, have there been any changes to the sorting recently?

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

@Whatamidoing (WMF) @TheDJ Can I clarify, as I appreciate there's an unintended ambiguity in my question above. I did not mean to suggest that sorting in mobile view once worked, but doesn't any longer. I meant to imply that a page with a table that can be sorted in desktop view doesn't permit that table to be sorted when the page is displayed in mobile view (and presumably never has). So my question was to ask whether there are any plans to enable this, or if there are good reasons why sorting of tables is disabled in mobile view?

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

hmm. tablesorter is marked as a mobile compatible module.. I suspect it is because Minerva overrides getDefaultModules() as a skin, which causes a variety of modules to be missed... Suggest filing a ticket in phabricator

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

@TheDJ @Whatamidoing (WMF) I'd be grateful if one of you could raise this, please. I've little experience of Phabricator.

Reply to "Table sorting"

Visual editor for mobile translators

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)

Hi all, I only make translations using my laptop and standard html interface but i have bought a tablette recently. Is is worth to use the tablette instead ? is the version stable enough ? or are there specific functions to test there ?

Christian Wia (talk) 15:00, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)

I just accessed the mobile version to do my translations; but there is no lateral bar, less functions so, only one alert/notification icon. I prefer the laptop version for now.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The visual editor doesn't fully support Extension:Translate, so I can't recommend it for that purpose.

Reply to "Visual editor for mobile translators"
Opsylac (talkcontribs)


I have the Wikipedia mobile app and the visual editor isn't accessible there... Will this feature be available soon ?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Probably not. I don't think that the mobile apps team is planning to create any sort of visual editing system.

Reply to "Mobile app"