This page is obsolete. It is being retained for archival purposes. It may document extensions or features that are obsolete and/or no longer supported. Do not rely on the information here being up-to-date.
VisualEditor development continues, but this status system has not been used since 2014.
This page contains updates on the VisualEditor project that were made between May 2011 and December 2014. This page is no longer updated. For news from 2015 through 2016 about the project's progress, see the weekly changelog and the quarterly reviews from the Editing team (June 2014, October 2014) and before that VisualEditor (March 2014, November 2013, July 2013, March 2013). For current information about VisualEditor's roadmap, see the Wikimedia Foundation Engineering goals for 2014–15.
Trevor Parscal and Neil Kandalgaonkar have done exploratory work on the visual editor project. Neil worked with developers of HackPad (a custom version of Etherpad, a real-time collaborative editing software) on a proof of concept of integration between Etherpad and MediaWiki (read more). They're now working on turning it into a MediaWiki extension. Work on the visual editor is also intersecting with the groundwork done on the new parser.
Trevor Parscal and Neil Kandalgaonkar have done exploratory work on the visual editor project. Neil worked with developers of HackPad (a custom version of real-time collaborative editing software Etherpad) on a proof of concept to integrate Etherpad and MediaWiki (read more). They're now working on turning it into a MediaWiki extension. Trevor continues to work on WikiDom, a storage structure and functionality acting as an intermediate layer between the parser and a visual editor. This work also intersects with the groundwork done on the new parser.
Trevor Parscal continued to work on the front-end of the visual editor, and specifications for accessing the editing surface via the API. A hybrid rendering approach appears to be the best strategy for the visual editor. Neil Kandalgaonkar continued to work on the middleware, DOM and transactions. Neil also continued to work on a demo to integrate MediaWiki and Etherpad. With Alolita Sharma, they planned their upcoming sprints. Neil and Trevor are posting about their work to the wikitext-l list.
Trevor Parscal continued to work on the front-end of the visual editor and rich text rendering; he was joined by Inez Korczynski, a developer from Wikia, who are also interested in the visual editor. Neil Kandalgaonkar worked on real-time collaboration, concurrent editing and dived into the inner workings of Etherpad. (Read summary on wikitext-l.)
Trevor Parscal and Inez Korczynski worked on a transaction-based model for the visual editor, where the document is built as a series of events (instead of saving it entirely at every change), which makes it easier to undo actions. Neil Kandalgaonkar continued to work on real-time collaboration and is close to presenting a demo of Etherpad working inside a MediaWiki edit window. Ian Baker investigated and started to work on a chat system to be integrated to the concurrent editing interface, for collaboration and live help. More details on the wikitext-l mailing list.
Trevor Parscal expanded the software design documentation. He also refactored some of the data structures to follow a model/view controller pattern and support document-level transactions. He wrote tests for the new structure, and got it to render paragraphs and lists; he's now working on rendering tables.
Trevor Parscal worked on a new model tree (and the conversion from the linear model) and updated the software design documentation. Inez Korczynski worked on front-end functionality: dialogs, selecting text, mouse actions, scrolling, keyboard shortcuts, etc. Roan Kattouw focused on algorithms that insert ranges of data into a document, and Neil Kandalgaonkar on the removal of data. On the parser side, a basic parser using PEG is in place, which produces an intermediate JSON object tree; Brion Vibber is still working on markup support (mixed HTML and Wikitext). Gabriel Wicke joined the team and started to work on the PEG parser (read more).
Trevor Parscal fixed issues blocking the synchronization of structural edits to the user interface, refactored and cleaned up the code, and mapped out tasks and features to be supported. He also finished the document transaction functionality and made progress on an undo/redo system. Roan Kattouw added tests, rewrote some code to make the tests pass, and fixed a number of bugs and issues, notably in Internet Explorer. Inez Korczynski continued to work on content insertion, deletion and selection and fixed numerous bugs. Gabriel Wicke extended the PEG parser for robust larger-scale parsing. He converted the PEG parser into a combined wiki and HTML tokenizer that feeds to a HTML5 DOM tree builder. He implemented several wikitext features (lists, italics, bold) as token stream transformations. 139 of about 660 parser tests are now passing.
The first public developer prototype of the visual editor sandbox was deployed to MediaWiki.org for public feedback and testing. It can be accessed via the visual editor sandbox special page. Full announcement in the Wikimedia blog.
The team deployed a developer prototype of the visual editor sandbox to mediawiki.org for public feedback and testing. Trevor Parscal fixed bugs and refactored code. Inez Korczynski worked on the toolbar (text styles), the undo/redo stack, and lists (creating, deleting, and changing indentation). Gabriel Wicke worked on the parser test runner and the parser pipeline, including the tokenizer and its grammar and template expansions. Neil Kandalgaonkar worked on the undo/redo feature and did a lot of refactoring.
January was a bit slower on the visual editor front, as parts of the team took some well-deserved vacation after the successful prototype launch in December. During the SF Hackathon, a lot of issues were fleshed out. Plans for the second phase of the editor project were formulated. Inez Korczynski investigated a possible use of
contenteditable to help with input methods and text selections on mobile devices. Gabriel Wicke extended the parser with the ability to fetch and expand templates in a parallel and asynchronous fashion. The parser now supports most parts of the English Wikipedia Main Page.
Trevor Parscal did research on cursor interaction and selection rendering for RTL (right-to-left) and support for line breaks in PRE elements. Gabriel Wicke improved template expansion and parser function support, investigated Microdata and RDFa for WikiText-in-HTML-DOM embedding and added rough support for images and other files. Rob Moen committed a working Editable Surface IME prototype (bidirectional text not fully supported). Audrey Tang joined the team and worked on the sanitizer and the testing process.
Exploration of using ContentEditiable (CE) in place of EditSurface (ES) for the display layer was successful, and the team is integrating the new display layer system into the rest of the codebase. Inez and Christian are continuing their work on CE while Rob is focusing on getting the UserInterface (UI) module working with CE. Rob will be refactoring UI and adding an API layer for toolbar and inspector extensions. Trevor and Roan are focusing on DataModel (DM) changes that need to be done to improve tree sync and integration with the parser (Parsoid). Gabriel and Audrey are continuing their work on Parsoid.
Last week made big decisions. The big one was to move forward with contentEditable (CE) that Inez and Christian are doing in place of Editable Surface (ES). Looks like editing on mobile will be awesome! Trevor and Roan will be focusing on the data model (DM. DOM -> Linear Parser) as the basic objectives have been hashed out, the (parser -> DM is unaffected). Certain structure changes (i.e. turning paragraphs to lists) aren't currently possible so the DM will change to support that. Linking with the parser (DOM-> LM converter) will be deferred for a week.
In terms of the UI, Rob worked on some RTL in ES, but switched given the CE advances. This week will focus on getting the UI working in CE (assess what UI we have from ES and where it needs to be). Plan on getting to the point we can user test the JS API for the toolbar.
In terms of the parser, Gabriel has to decide on RDFa vs. microdata eventually (difference are minimal, most of the DOM stuff won't change and can be tested with vanilla HTML anyway). Created a dump grepper with syntax highlighting and used that to analyze existing wikilink/image syntax use. Refactored tokenization and expansion of wikilink/images so now image options can come from templates (257 tests passing now). Plan on tackling interacting with action=parse and wiki in general. Also some more parser function tweaking, etc. and the RDFa/microdata decision.
Team updated (sans key people who are out of commission): FY2012-2013 goals section. Further updates/corrections by Trevor and Gabriel expected when they return.
A big decision in March was to move forward with contentEditable (CE), implemented by Wikia developers Inez Korczynski and Christian Williams, instead of Editable Surface (ES). Trevor Parscal and Roan Kattouw focused on the data model. Rob Moen worked on the user interface, first on right-to-left support in ES, then on getting the UI working in CE. Gabriel Wicke and Audrey Tang continued their work on Parsoid and need to decide on RDFa vs. microdata. They created a dump grepper with syntax highlighting, and used it to analyze existing wikilink/image syntax use.
Roan Kattouw and Trevor Parscal are rewriting the underlying data model (ve.dm) to achieve feature compatibility with the parser and correct a variety of problems that have been previously deferred. Inez Korczynski and Christian Williams have been continuing their work to stabilize and integrate the content editable layer (ve.ce) and have been working with Rob Moen, who has focused on getting the user interface elements working with the content editable layer (ve.ui). Gabriel Wicke has been working on improving the parser's ability to parse pages more quickly as well as increasing compatibility with existing features such as thumbnails. A big template-heavy page like Barack Obama can now be expanded in similar time as the production parser (80 seconds on a puny laptop) and 340MB of memory. It previously ran out of memory after consuming 1.6G and running for ~30 minutes.
BY JUNE! 5 weeks.
What we want:
- parse page
- load editor
- save it back
- not hard to load simple pages
- but not roundtripping it (because not all tags are supported)
- Serializaiton: some normalization. focusing efforts on reconcilliation instead?
- For Roundtripping: Need more support. Handle templates (started by one and ended by another), also template parameters. (linear model supports both: but data model only allows edit templates parameters on opening).
- Just finished Refactoring so it can expand big articles. A few more days left of followup.
- "Alien Nodes" (HTML we don't understand)
- acknowledge that dirty diffs will happen.
- Have a sandbox deploy, create a namespace for it.
- Roundtrip something!
- Probably a namespace limit, sandbox
- allow dirty diffs or disallow manual editing and start from scratch.
- If source editing, then it will run it through the parser as a presave transformation. Warning banner with X? so may not have source mode editing only if developer mode.
- Maybe Gabriel can refocus on serialization (worried abotu stuff that will be shifting).
- get it ready incremental improvements on front-end, but on the serialization and back-end that will change.
- sooner is better. :-)
- He will need to be on board for the release in (late) June
Things to be done for release:
- Gabriel needs to refocus on serialization (for roundtripping) after he gets the refactor settled (next couple days)
- Finish DM rewrite stuff. As soon as it is in master then we start doing integration.
- This week: Get feature completeness with transactions]
- On FE, rework observation stuff, toolbar into the DM stuff as it comes along.
- Annotation should be working today.
- Integration work?
- MW integration [Roan]
- FE integration- do a "ooh and ahh" it.
- Node.js integration [Gabriel will get working, and Roan will puppetize and give to Ops]. Roan has Node.js installed on a VM project.
Release Notes: Dec to June (reason)
- Switch from ES to CE (due to CE, This warrants a blog post)
- Mobile editing support (due to CE, Patrick can hack up something)
- February stuff: Supports spellcheck, autocorrect, IME (due to CE)
- turn headline into paragraph
- feature parity w/ previous demo (internal check)
- Load and save (parser/serializer, backend integration)
- In-place editing (frontend integration)
- Graceful failure/fallback (AlienNode)
- [TBD] partial iage support (DM rewrite)
Trevor will make a task list in-wiki. If it doesn't work out, will consider to switching to Asana.
Tracking ongoing work:
Gabriel has set up a very basic parsoid service.
- browse english wikipedia as parsoid sees it
- POST wikitext -> HTML DOM
- POST HTML DOM -> wikitext.
Note: round-tripping is limited. Does not support preservation of variable whitespace, templates and other complex constructs yet.
Currently 154 parser tests are passing in the new --roundtrip mode that Subbu added last week.
The team completed release planning for June and welcomed James Forrester as the Technical Product Analyst for the project. Ongoing work on the Visual Editor and Parsoid is tracked on-wiki. Gabriel Wicke set up a very basic parsoid service that lets users browse the English Wikipedia as Parsoid sees it, and convert Wikitext to HTML DOM and vice versa.
The team did the first deployment of VisualEditor and Parsoid, with an early version now live in a test namespace on mediawiki.org. This editor is broadly feature-compatible with the old, EditableSurface-style code which this replaces, while being the first release that can create and edit pages. The team is now planning to deploy new code as it develops every two weeks or so. The initial push will be to work on bug-fixes, and to finalise the code for a few features that were close to being ready before the first deployment.
The VisualEditor (VE) team presented their work at Wikimania and received a good deal of feedback from the community. The team created a rough plan for the next three months' work. The early version of VE on mediawiki.org was updated twice, fixing a number of bugs and noticeably including the addition of support for nested lists. Gabriel Wicke relocated to San Francisco, and Timo Tijhof visited the SF office for three weeks after Wikimania.
In August, the team focused on overhauling the code design of VisualEditor so that it is more modular and easier to extend. This involves creating and documenting a number of formal APIs at each point in the architecture, that means a developer does not have to understand the entire code base to be able to add new features. The early version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org was updated twice (wmf9 and wmf10), fixing a number of bugs, as well as adding a much-improved link inspector to help users build links, and a save dialog that better guides users on what to do.
In September, the team continued its focus on re-engineering the code design of VisualEditor so that it is more modular and easier to extend. This involves creating and documenting a number of formal APIs at each point in the architecture, that means a developer does not have to understand the entire code base to be able to add new features. The early version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org was updated twice (wmf11 and wmf12), fixing a number of bugs and building out better support for internationalisation and key concepts like categories, language links and other "magic words".
In October, the team worked to finish most of the re-engineering the code design of VisualEditor so that it is more modular and easier to extend. This has involved creating and documenting a number of formal APIs at each point in the architecture, so a developer does not have to understand the entire code base to be able to add new features. The early version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org was updated three times (wmf1, wmf2 and wmf3), fixing a number of bugs and replacing the entire browser selection and typing models, and much of how the user interface connects with the rest of the code.
In November, the team worked primarily on finalizing the code re-engineering of VisualEditor so that it is more modular and easier to extend, and on the integration ahead of deploying it for wider testing in December. The early version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org was updated twice (1.21-wmf4 and -wmf5), fixing a number of bugs and missing wikitext compatibility, and wide-spread improvements to much of the user interface code so that it will be easier to change in future.
In December, the team deployed to the English Wikipedia an alpha version of the VisualEditor for editors to use and give feedback on issues and priorities. The team's work focussed on ensuring that the integration was reliable, and providing a dedicated tool for editors to report problems with editing, and, after deployment, addressing the reports and ideas from editors. The early version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org was also updated to use the new developments (as part of 1.21-wmf6).
In January, the team worked primarily on reviewing and cleaning-up the code deployed in December. They spent time with their colleagues in the Parsoid team planning the next phase of development, which is aimed at making the VisualEditor the default editor for all Wikipedias from July 2013. The alpha version of the VisualEditor on mediawiki.org and the English Wikipedia was updated twice (1.21-wmf7 and -wmf8), fixing a number of bugs reported by the community and making some adjustments to the link inspector's functionality based on feedback.
In February, the team worked on improving the design, user interface components and API infrastructure of VisualEditor, preparing for the new features that will be added in the coming months. The objective is for VisualEditor to be the default editor for all users, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the wikitext editor, in July 2013. This will mean adding support for references, (at least) basic templates, categories and images, each of which is a very large piece of work. During this time, the team has expanded with the recruitment of Ed Sanders, who will focus on the data infrastructure of VisualEditor's platform. The alpha version of VisualEditor on mediawiki.org and the English Wikipedia was updated twice (1.21-wmf9 and -wmf10), adding support for Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 9 and above), fixing a number of bugs reported by the community, improving internationalisation, and restructuring the data model layer so that the code interfaces are ready for the new features.
In March, the team worked on the major new features that will be added in the coming months. The objective is for VisualEditor to be the default editor for all users, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the wikitext editor, in July 2013. This will mean adding support for references, (at least) basic templates, categories and images, each of which is a very large piece of work. This month the primary focus was editing of categories and templates, with draft designs created and initial code developed. The team undertook its first ever "Quarterly Review", whose slides detail these designs, the work done to date and expectations for the near future. The alpha version of VisualEditor on mediawiki.org and the English Wikipedia was updated twice (1.21-wmf11 and -wmf12), adding better input and selection support, fixing a number of bugs, and restructuring the back-end so that the new features will be simpler to create.
In April, the team continued their work on the major new features that will be added in the coming months. Our objective is for VisualEditor to be the default editor for all Wikipedia users, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the wikitext editor, in July 2013. This means we have been focussed on four substantial areas of work: adding support for references, templates, categories and media items. During this time the main area of our work was editing around images, which is now designed and partially implemented in our experimental code, and around categories, which is almost complete and nearly ready for deployment. The deployed alpha version of VisualEditor was updated thrice (1.22-wmf1, 1.22-wmf2 and 1.22-wmf3), adding speed improvements, user interface improvements and work on the back-end to better support the new features, and fixing a number of bugs. We also were able to deploy the VisualEditor to fourteen more Wikipedias as an opt-in alpha (and, later, Vietnamese Wikipedia too), which has let the community give us feedback on what works and is broken, and identifying language- and locale-specific issues we are now fixing.
In May, the VisualEditor team worked to complete the major new features we have prioritised over the past few months. Our objective is for VisualEditor to be the default editor for all Wikipedia users, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the wikitext editor, in July 2013. We have focussed on four areas of new functionality: adding and editing inclusions of references, templates, categories and media items. Our main area of work over the past month has been on references and templates, and we now have implemented editing them in our experimental code; category editing is nearly complete and should be made available very soon. The deployed alpha version of VisualEditor was updated twice (1.22-wmf4 and 1.22-wmf5), adding a number of user interface improvements, including further work on the back-end to better support the new features, and fixing a number of bugs.
In June, the VisualEditor team completed the major new features that we prioritised over the past few months, in preparation for making VisualEditor available to most Wikipedia users in July. We have built an editor that is capable of letting users edit the majority of content without needing to use wikitext — text support, as well as adding and editing inclusions of references, templates, categories and media items. The deployed alpha of VisualEditor was updated four times as part of the transition to weekly deployments (1.22-wmf6, 1.22-wmf7, 1.22-wmf8 and 1.22-wmf9), with several mid-deployment releases as the code was developed to patch urgent issues. Part of this involved running an A/B test for new user accounts on the English Wikipedia, with half of the users getting opt-in to VisualEditor ahead of the wider release. Generally, there were a number of user interface improvements, and fixing a number of bugs uncovered by the community.
In July, the VisualEditor team began switching the deployment from opt-in alpha to opt-out beta, so becoming the default editor for users of the various Wikipedias. The deployed version of the code was updated three times (1.22-wmf10, 1.22-wmf11 and 1.22-wmf12), with several mid-deployment releases as the code was developed to patch urgent issues. There were a number of user interface improvements, most notably to the references insertion dialog, alongside fixes to a number of bugs uncovered by the community.
In August, the VisualEditor team continued work, and presented and ran workshops at Wikimania in Hong Kong to discuss how to best improve the system. The deployed version of the code was updated three times (1.22-wmf13, 1.22-wmf14 and 1.22-wmf15), with several mid-deployment releases as the code was developed to patch urgent issues. The focus in this work was in improving the stability and performance of the system, fixing a number of bugs uncovered by the community, and making some usability improvements.
In September, the VisualEditor team continued their work to improve the editor and roll it out to additional wikis. The deployed version of the code was updated four times (1.22-wmf16, 1.22-wmf17, 1.22-wmf18 and 1.22-wmf19). The focus in the team's work this month was to continue to improve the stability and performance of the system, fix a number of bugs uncovered by the community, and make some usability improvements.
In October, the VisualEditor team continued to improve the stability and performance of the system, and add new features. The deployed version of the code was updated five times (1.22-wmf20, 1.22-wmf21, 1.22-wmf22, 1.23-wmf1 and 1.23-wmf2). Beyond fixing bugs, the focus of the team's work this month was to make a number of large structural changes to make the system more dependable and extensible, and continue to make some usability improvements. For example, you now need to press the "delete" key twice to delete a template, reference or image; the first time, they only become selected, to avoid accidental deletion of infoboxes and similar content. A new feature, empowering users to switch from editing in VisualEditor to editing wikitext directly without having to save the page, was also implemented.
In November, the VisualEditor team continued to improve the stability and performance of the system, and add new features. The deployed version of the code was updated three times (1.23-wmf3, 1.23-wmf4 and 1.23-wmf5). Most of the team's focus was on fixing bugs, and on some major infrastructure changes, splitting out the OOJS and OOUI libraries from VisualEditor to make them available to other teams. Much of the team travelled to the Open Source Language Summit in Pune, India to learn more about how to improve VisualEditor for a variety of languages, scripts, users and systems. Two new members of the QA team joined in to help improve VisualEditor – Jeff Hall and Rummana Yasmeen, and thanks to them, the automated browser tests have expanded in breadth and depth of coverage. Work continued on major new features like full rich copy-and-paste from external sources, a dialog for quickly adding citation templated references, and a tool to insert characters not available on users' keyboards. The editor was made available by default on just over 100 additional Wikipedias as part of the continuing roll-out. VisualEditor was also enabled for opt-in testing on Swedish Wiktionary and Wikimedia Sweden's wiki, the first time it has been available on a non-Wikipedia production wiki.
In December, the VisualEditor team worked to continue the improvements to the stability and performance of the system, and to add new features. The deployed version of the code was updated three times (1.23-wmf6, 1.23-wmf7 and 1.23-wmf8). Most of the team's focus was on major new features and fixing bugs. There is now basic support for rich copy-and-paste from external sources into VisualEditor, and a basic tool to insert characters not available on users' keyboards. Work also continued on a dialog for quickly adding citation templated references, and on some major infrastructure changes, splitting out the core of VisualEditor from the MediaWiki-specific items like the transclusion editor.
In January, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of the system, and added some new features. Most of the team's focus was on major new features and fixing bugs. You can now edit some page settings like whether to display a table of contents or whether to show section edit labels, set the size of a media file manually, see a keyboard shortcuts help screen, and create and edit media galleries using a very basic stand-in editor whilst the final form is being designed. Work also continued on a dialog for quickly adding "citation" references based on templates, more media and page settings, setting content language and right-to-left flags, and equation editing. The deployed version of the code was updated four times (1.23-wmf9, 1.23-wmf10, 1.23-wmf11 and 1.23-wmf12).
In February, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of the system, and added some new features and simplifications. Media item editing is now much richer, allowing the setting of position, alt text, size (or setting as default size) and type for most kinds of media item. When adding links, redirects and disambiguation pages are now highlighted to help editors select the right link, and changing the format or style of some text was tweaked to make editing clearer and more obvious. Adding and editing template usages is now a little smoother, auto-focussing on parameters and making them clearer to use. Page settings have expanded to set redirects, page indexing and new section edit link options. The extensive work to make insertion of "citation" references based on templates quick, obvious and simple neared completion. The deployed version of the code was updated four times in the regular releases (1.23-wmf13, 1.23-wmf14, 1.23-wmf15 and 1.23-wmf16).
In March, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of the system, and added some new features and simplifications, helping users edit and create pages more swiftly and easily. Editing templates is now much simpler, moving most of the advanced controls that users don't often need into a special version of that dialog. The media dialog was improved and stream-lined a little, adding some hinting to the controls to explain how they work a bit more. The cursor entry points inserted by VisualEditor next to items like images or templates to give users somewhere to put the cursor now animate on hover and cursor entry to show that they're special. The overall design of dialogs and controls was improved a little to make it flow better, like double-clicking a block to open its dialog. A new system for quickly and simply inserting and editing "citations" (references based on templates) neared completion and will be deployed in the coming month. The deployed version of the code was updated four times in the regular releases (1.23-wmf17, 1.23-wmf18, 1.23-wmf19 and 1.23-wmf20).
In April, the VisualEditor team worked to improve the stability of the editor, adding some new features and improving usability so that users can create and edit pages more swiftly and intuitively with VisualEditor than before. Template editing was over-hauled to make adding parameters less busy, showing only a few parameters at first rather than all possible ones, which can number in the dozens or more, especially in the case of some often-used templates like those for citations or infoboxes. Setting the size of images was tweaked to give a more natural set of controls based on feedback from users. The page settings dialog had a number of minor tweaks, leading to the set of options that can be modified inside VisualEditor being completed. VisualEditor's edit tab is now more consistent with the rest of the MediaWiki interface in a number of noticeable if minor ways, such as on pages to do with the Education Program, on file pages which are hosted on Commons rather than on the local wiki, or on very narrow screens. User testing was carried out on the forthcoming citation dialog and some final simplifications were made, such as adding suggested as well as required parameters, ahead of its pending introduction. Finally, a careful audit of all Wikimedia wikis led to fixing broken local community-written code, to ensure that VisualEditor runs on all of them. The deployed version of the code was updated four times in the regular release cycle (1.23-wmf21, 1.23-wmf22, 1.24-wmf1 and 1.24-wmf2).
In May, the VisualEditor team worked on the performance stability of the editor, rolled out a major new feature to help users better edit articles, and made some improvements to other features to increase their ease of use and understandability, fixing 75 bugs and tickets. The new citation editor is now available to all VisualEditor users on the English, Polish, and Czech Wikipedias, with instructions on how to enable it on other wikis. The citation and template dialogs were simplified to avoid technical language and some outcomes that were unexpected for users. As part of this, the citation icons were replaced with a new, clearer set, and the template hinting system now lets wikis mark template parameters as "suggested", as a step below the existing "required" state. The formula editor is now available to all VisualEditor users, and a new Beta Feature giving a tool that lets you set the language of content was made available for testing and feedback. Following a new set of user testing, the toolbar was tweaked, moving the list and indent buttons to a drop-down to make them less prominent, and removing the gallery button which is rarely used and confused users. The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for alpha testers, was expanded to also have the new citation editor available, and had some significant performance improvements made, especially for long or complex pages. Work continued on making VisualEditor more performant and reliable, and key tasks like keyboard accessibility have progressed. The deployed version of the code was updated five times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf3, 1.24-wmf4, 1.24-wmf5, 1.24-wmf6 and 1.24-wmf7).
In June, the VisualEditor team provided a new way to see the context of links and other items when you edit to make this easier, worked on the performance and stability of the editor so that users could more swiftly and reliably make changes to articles, and made some improvements to features focussed on increasing their simplicity and understandability, fixing 94 bugs and tickets. The editor now shows with a highlight where dragging-and-dropping content will put it, and works for any content, not just for images. The citation and reference tools had some minor adjustments to guide the user on how they operate, based on feedback and user testing. A lot of fixes to issues with windows opening and closing, and especially the link editing tool, were made, alongside the save dialog, categories, the language editing tool, table styling, template display and highlights on selected items. The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for alpha testers, moved towards release, fixing a number of bugs and improving performance. Work to support languages made some significant gains, and work to support Internet Explorer continued. The new visual interface for writing TemplateData was enabled on the Catalan and Hebrew Wikipedias. The deployed version of the code was updated four times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf8, 1.24-wmf9, 1.24-wmf10 and 1.24-wmf11).
In July, the team working on VisualEditor converged the design for mobile and desktop, made it possible to see and edit HTML comments, improved access to re-using citations, and fixed over 120 bugs and tickets.
The new design, with controls focussed at the top of each window in consistent positions, was made possible due to the significant progress made in cross-platform support in the UI library, which now provides responsively-sized windows that can work on desktop, tablet and phone with the same code. HTML comments are occasionally used on a few articles to alert editors to contentious or problematic issues without disrupting articles as they are read, so making them prominently visible avoids editors accidentally stepping over expected limits. Re-using citations is now provided with its simple dialog available in the toolbar so that it is easier for users to find.
Other improvements include an array of performance fixes targeted at helping mobile users especially, fixing a number of minor instances where VisualEditor would corrupt the page, and installing better monitoring of corruptions if they occur, and better support for right-to-left languages, displaying icons with the right orientation based on context.
The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for beta testers, moved towards stable release, fixing a number of bugs and editing issues and improving loading performance. Our work to support languages made some significant gains, nearing the completion of a major task to support IME users, and the work to support Internet Explorer uncovered some more issues as well as fixes. The deployed version of the code was updated five times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf12, 1.24-wmf13, 1.24-wmf14, 1.24-wmf15 and 1.24-wmf16).
In wider news, the team expanded its scope to cover all MediaWiki editing tools as well, as the new Editing Team (covered below).
In August, the team working on VisualEditor presented about VisualEditor at Wikimania 2014, worked with a number of volunteers at the hackathon, adjusted key workflows for template and citation editing, made major progress on Internet Explorer support, and fixed over 40 bugs and tickets.
Users of Internet Explorer 11, who we were previously preventing from using VisualEditor due to some major bugs, will now be able to use VisualEditor. Support for earlier versions of Internet Explorer will be coming shortly. Similarly, tablet users browsing the site's mobile mode now have the option of using a mobile-specific form of VisualEditor. More editing tools, and availability of VisualEditor on phones, is planned for the future.
Improvements and updates were made to a number of interface messages as part of our work with translators to improve the software for all users, and VisualEditor and MediaWiki were improved to support highlighting links to disambiguation pages where a wiki or user wishes to do so. Several performance improvements were made, especially to the system around re-using references and reference lists. We tweaked the link editor's behaviour based on feedback from users and user testing. The deployed version of the code was updated three times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf17, 1.24-wmf18 and 1.24-wmf19).
In September, the team working on VisualEditor expanded browser support, improved some features, and fixed nearly 60 bugs and tickets.
Users of Internet Explorer 10, who we were previously preventing from using VisualEditor due to some major bugs, will now be able to use VisualEditor; this follows on from Internet Explorer 11 support last month. When editing a template with a required field, VisualEditor now warns you to avoid leaving it blank, and you can now create auto-numbered links using VisualEditor.
Improvements and updates were made to a number of interface messages as part of our work with translators to improve the software for all users, based on feedback from users and user testing. We made progress on table structure editing and auto-filled citations, both of which will be coming soon.
In October, the team working on VisualEditor improved some features, prepared the way for table structure editing, and fixed over 60 bugs and tickets.
The keyboard shortcuts for items in the toolbar's menus now show on the right hand side, to make them easier to find. We made a few improvements to the display and editing of templates. Firstly, template fields can now have a value automatically set, like today's date for clean-up notices. Links inside templates now show in red if their targets don't exist, like for the editing surface. Last month's change to warn against saving a template with missing required fields was improved by highlighting them, as is the warning about trying to make an image 0 pixels wide.
The initial tools to edit the structure of tables were finalised and will be made available next month. We made progress on providing a new auto-filled citations tool, and improvements to the link editing and media searching tools, all of which will be coming in the near future.
In November, the team working on VisualEditor introduced table structure editing, improved some existing features, and fixed over 100 tasks, bugs and requests.
You can now edit the structure of a table, adding or deleting rows and columns and various other common tasks like merging cells and using captions. VisualEditor now support keyboard shortcuts like entering "
* " at the start of a line to make a bullet list; if you didn't mean to use the "smart" sequence, pressing undo will get back to what you typed. Most wikis now have VisualEditor available as an opt-in tool, whereas previously communities had to ask for it to be switched on.
The toolbar's menus in VisualEditor now open in a collapsed, short form with uncommon tools only shown when requested. You can now create and edit simple "blockquoted" paragraphs for indenting. You can now use a basic editor for gallery and hieroglyphic blocks on the page. Category editing was enhanced in a few ways, including adding a redirect category now adds its target, and making categories without a description page show as red. We improved compatibility with some variations of how wikis use the Flagged Revisions system. Armenian language users now get customised bold and italic icons in the toolbar; if your language would benefit from customised icons, please contact us.
In December, the team working on VisualEditor introduced a new design for the front-end system that VisualEditor uses, improved several existing features, and fixed over 80 tasks, bugs and requests.
The new design of the interface is based on the future path set by the Wikimedia User Experience team, and is intended to gel with designs across Wikimedia's tools and services and the wider direction of travel for the Web as a whole. The interface is subject to revision and improvements, and nothing is set in stone; feedback is appreciated from users and designers alike.
We also made a number of improvements to language editing and browser stability, progress on providing a new auto-filled citations tool, and improvements to the link editing and media searching tools, all of which will be coming in the near future.