Universal Language Selector/Announcement Feb2014
On January 21, 2014 we announced that Universal Language Selector (ULS) was disabled on all Wikimedia wikis. This decision was taken to prevent performance degradation while serving wiki pages caused due to webfont delivery at Wikipedia scale. It is important to note that ULS was not removed and could be enabled through user preferences. However, disabling it completely by default caused other essential language features like input methods to be unavailable.
ULS is now being re-enabled. A checkbox has been added to allow users to explicitly enable webfonts. (See image to locate the checkbox). Users can also access all other ULS features including input methods without having to make any additional changes to the user preferences. However, if you are not logged you may not see ULS on pages that have been cached.
This is a temporary solution. We understand that the unavailability of webfonts has a serious impact for wikis in several languages that are not supported in many platforms. Languages such as Divehi, and Javanese have limited or unreliable native font rendering that prevents display of content. Fonts for ancient scripts, such as Cuneiform, also serve to improve historical articles. Ideally we aim use the webfonts technology efficiently to give users of Wikimedia projects the ability to read text is all languages.
We plan to monitor the usage of the latest version of ULS and its impact on performance. At the same time, we plan to work towards a sustainable solution to offer webfonts where needed. As a start we would like to:
- determine languages within Wikimedia projects (per-wiki approach) where the use of webfonts is essential in providing a satisfactory reading user experience;
- refine the feature set to provide all language functionality that meet Wikimedia production performance service levels;
- measure impact of ULS feature functionality to better serve the most needy language content communities for all Wikimedia websites.
Please bookmark Upcoming development plan to follow the latest updates.
The Language Engineering team plans to hold multiple office hours through the next three months to address any issues you may be encountering.
- Q. My wiki is unusable without the webfonts. Can I get my wiki to use webfonts by default?
- A. It is possible to have webfonts enabled by default on a wiki. However, we may have to determine the severity of impact and verify the performance levels on your wiki before we can change the settings. This is particularly the case for all Wikimedia projects.
- Q. I am not logged-in and don't see the ULS. Could there be a problem?
- A. The page you are trying to view may be cached. You can add ?action=purge after the page title in the page url to get a fresh version of the page. Read more about purging the cached page.
- Q. It is impossible to read text on our wiki and we cannot find the checkbox to turn on webfonts. Can you fix this?
- A. We are aware of this problem in some wikis and are trying to find an early solution by optimizing the feature to serve webfonts. However, we would still request you to let us know about your wiki.
- Q. Do you plan to have similar toggles for all the ULS components?
- A. It is too early to say. We are still evaluating our current feature set to find ways for users to benefit from ULS' existing functionalities without any hindrances.