User:SSethi (WMF)/Common instructions for GCI tasks

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We want to use common texts in tasks wherever it makes sense to simplify the process of creating good task descriptions. Let's draft different levels of common texts: generic for all, specific to a category, specific to a type of task. When creating a task, use the levels that make sense. Let's link to on-wiki instructions and background as much as possible. This gives us freedom to improve content without having to edit multiple tasks.

For all tasks[edit]

The following sentence (set in WMF's profile) is appended to each task description on the GCI site:

Students must read Wikimedia's general instructions at first.


citoid is a Node.js application (written in JavaScript) that retrieves information about a webpage, book, journal article, etc. given a URL to the webpage or some other identifier, like DOI (digital_object_identifier). It uses another open source project, Zotero's translation-server, also written in JavaScript, to do a lot of the work. Doing this work may involve reading both citoid and translation-server code. In order to get citoid working on your computer, you'll need to download both Node version 10.0 (for citoid) and xpcshell version 29.0 (for Zotero) to get both of them working. There are installation instructions and more information available at


Screenshot of MediaWiki documentation in Doxygen

Doxygen is the tool that generates MediaWiki PHP documentation. When developers approve changes to core MediaWiki in Gerrit, this triggers a Jenkins job 'mediawiki-core-doxygen-publish' that updates , For example, gerrit:251440's run of mediawiki-core-doxygen-publish produced this console log (eventually job runs are purged, look at for recent runs). You must install the same version of Doxygen that Jenkins uses; from the footer you can see that as of November 2015 it is version 1.8.6.

When you submit patches that fix Doxygen issues, you should only change PHP comments, and in your commit say "Comment-only change" and link to the page(s) you've changed. Ideally you should publish the output of running Doxygen on a public web site where reviewers can see the revised documentation with your fix, saving them the time to run maintenance/mwdocgen.php themselves. If you don't have a public web site, you could set up a project on Tool Labs for this.


Screenshot of huggle (kde)

Huggle is a fast diff browser application intended for dealing with vandalism on Wikimedia projects, written in C++ (C++11 with Qt framework). More information: and

Source code is available at and can be compiled on Linux, Windows and MacOS.

JavaScript gadgets[edit]

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects use gadgets written in JavaScript. See for more information and potential task ideas.

Kiwix for Android[edit]

On a boat, in the middle of nowhere or in Jail, Kiwix gives you access to the whole human knowledge, offline, on your mobile device!

Kiwix is a Wikipedia offline reader which runs on Windows, GNU/Linux, OSX, iOS and Android. The Google Code-in tasks are related to the Android app, they require knowledge of the Java programming language.

For most tasks simply downloading and installing Android Studio is sufficient to start developing. You can then use either a real or virtual device to test your changes.

Once you are ready to begin:

  1. Fork our GitHub repository
  2. Commit and push your changes to your fork
  3. Create a pull request so we can review your changes
  4. Submit the task on the GCI site and wait for your changes to be reviewed
  5. If everything is good then we will merge your changes and complete the task otherwise we will provide you with feedback so that you can make changes and resubmit

More advanced tasks may first require you to prepare our full build environment. The easiest way to do this is with a Virtual Machine.

  1. Download the KiwixDev virtual machine (KiwixDev torrent)
  2. Import it on your preferred virtual machine (for example VirtualBox
  3. Launch the virtual machine
  4. Follow the android compilation instructions here:

Lua modules[edit]

MediaWiki templates are wiki pages to be included in other pages. Templates can take arguments, allowing editors to create special types of content like infoboxes, banners, and more. Originally, templates were written in wikitext with parser functions, mimicking the functionality of a very basic programming language (but requiring advanced skills to get smart results out of them).

This problem has been solved allowing templates to rely in modules written with Lua, a proper programming language: Now we have many wikitext templates waiting to be rewritten in Lua. Take one and rewrite it! See also: and


  1. Create a template at
  2. Create a module at
  3. Report your progress soon and often at where not only GCI mentors but also other community contributors can follow the progress and help.

MediaWiki core[edit]

Start of task description: The popular wiki platform MediaWiki (see ) powers a wide range of collaborative editing projects, such as Wikipedia and Wikivoyage, as well as many internal corporate wikis and other sites.

End of task description: Early on in the contest, students will have trouble finding where the code is located, so it helps to put one of the following at the end of the task description. The second one is meant for cases where the logic flow is obscure and it might be hard for a novice to find the right place to modify the code.

MediaWiki API[edit]

The popular wiki platform MediaWiki (see ) has a web service API (see ) which is used by various software tools, including automated "bots", to interact with a wiki programmatically.


  • You should install Parsoid for development. Following instructions in Parsoid/Developer Setup.
  • Basic familiarity with JavaScript is going to be very very useful -- you don't need advanced JS skills.
  • Basic familiarity with wikitext is useful since you are going to be adding unit tests for different wikitext snippets.
  • We are around in the #mediawiki-parsoid IRC channel.


Pywikibot is a Python-based framework to write bots for MediaWiki. See for more information, and for a short online interactive tutorial. Patches can be submitted via Gerrit (you need a account). More documentation on Gerrit can be found at After you have successfully claimed this task on this site please do use the task in Phabricator for communication instead of this site. This allows more PWB developers to be reached! General development questions can be asked on the Pywikibot mailing list at and the #pywikibot IRC channel (see

User Interface: SVG Graphics[edit]

Using bitmap images creates two problems: They have a bad quality in high resolution displays and they are difficult to edit. Join the community goal of converting all logos to SVG! Your task is:

  1. Create exact SVG replicas of these bitmap files (add link here to bitmap file(s)).
  2. Upload the logos to, using this name fomat: (add here).svg. After publishing each image, edit the description following this example: (add example)
  3. Notify the completion of your task: In addition to marking the task ready for review here in Google Melange, you must notify it also in the bug report (link?) tracking the progress of this community project. Just add a comment there with the links to your SVG file(s) in Commons.

This task requires existing graphics skills working with a Vector graphics application (e.g. Inkscape). Links to SVG file(s) that you have created are welcome. Basic knowledge of CSS might also be helpful for integration.


VisualEditor is MediaWiki's rich-text editor (see for general information). You can find out more about it at

Translate extension and[edit]

The Translate extension for MediaWiki powers the translation of documentation and banners on,, and some other Wikimedia sites, and the translation of the user interface strings of MediaWiki itself and of several other Free software projects on the website. Even though it's a large and complex extension, it has many small issues in code and configuration that can be a good match for Google Code-In.