- This content is prepared for inclusion in the April 2013 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for April 2013 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in April include:
- the start of recruitment for a multimedia engineering team;
- a better translation interface, a new home page for translators and a language outreach program;
- the release of Kiwix of Android, an app to download and view Wikimedia content offline on mobile devices;
- the migration of Wikidata, and the English and German Wikipedias, to the MariaDB database system;
- the second phase of Wikidata, whose content can now be displayed in Wikipedia articles;
- the deployment of VisualEditor's first version to 14 more language versions of Wikipedia;
- a new login and account creation interface;
- the ramp-up of technical mentorship programs;
- the launch of an official Wikimedia Commons app for iOS and Android.
In April, the VisualEditor team continued to work on major new features that will be added in the coming months. The goal is for VisualEditor to become the default editor for all Wikipedia users in July 2013, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the legacy wikitext editor. The team has focused on four substantial areas of work: adding support for references, templates, categories and media items, all of which are currently disabled for editing in VisualEditor. Editing around images is now designed and partially implemented in our experimental code, and editing around categories is almost complete and nearly ready for activation.
The early ("alpha") version of VisualEditor currently enabled on a few select sites was updated three times in April, adding speed and interface improvements, fixing bugs and making deeper changes behind the scenes to better support the new features. We also were able to enable the alpha version of VisualEditor on fourteen more Wikipedias as an opt-in. This has encouraged feedback from the community on what works and is broken, and identifying language- and locale-specific issues that are now being fixed.
As for the Parsoid (the program that serves as translator between wikitext code and annotated HTML, behind the scenes of VisualEditor), the team successfully activated the cumulative work done over the last four months. This includes support for non-English wikis, a rewritten system to reduce artifacts when editing with VisualEditor, support for basic template parameter editing, and a long list of other fixes and improvements.
Several other features for the July target are on track. Specifications to support more features were written and are currently being implemented. This includes images and thumbnails, whose options for embedding in wiki pages will soon be ready. The team also continued to evaluate the performance of Parsoid. Caching was developed to minimize the server load, and new servers were ordered.
In April, the Editor engagement team (E2) activated the Notifications feature on the English Wikipedia and mediawiki.org. This first version aims to inform users about new activity that affects them on Wikipedia, such as talk page messages, page reviews, mentions, edit reverts and thanks. The team developed a new feature that lets users mark all notifications as read, and updated the fly-out and archive page. The development of metrics dashboards also started.
The final version of Article Feedback v5 (a quality assessment feature) was activated on the English, French and German Wikipedias. A number of bugs were fixed, the feedback page was simplified, and other features such as feedback links and auto-archival were finalized. Development for this feature is now wrapping up.
Design continues for the first version of Flow, a feed-like interface to enable users to better interact with their projects. An interactive prototype is being built to help describe multiple functions.
The Editor Engagement Experiments team (E3) focused on its redesign of the account creation and log-in interface. The first phase of the launch invited editors and readers on all Wikimedia projects to test the new forms on an opt-in basis, to identify bugs and localization issues across wikis. The new interface is expected to replace the legacy version in May.
For the Onboarding new Wikipedians project, the E3 team completed quantitative analysis of the latest version of the GettingStarted landing page, and began prototyping a new version and a navigation system, which will be used for usability testing prior to further development. The launch is expected in early May as well.
An official Wikimedia Commons app for smartphones was released for both iOS and Android devices in April. The team also added support for categories.
Work on Wikipedia Zero mostly happened behind the scenes this month, with changes made to the configuration system to better support carrier preferences.
The team also experimented with a log-in/sign-up call to action for logged-out users from the in-article upload feature on the mobile site. This resulted in a spike in new contributors, but the quality of their uploads was lower than anticipated, and the quantity of inappropriate uploads was a burden on the Commons community. The call to action was therefore disabled, and uploading reserved to existing users, leading to a vast improvement in the quality of the uploads: 3/4th of the files are retained on Commons, as compared to less than 1/4 when brand-new users were uploading. To create a more focused uploading workflow, and let mobile uploaders discover more articles to illustrate, a Nearby view was added to the beta site, showing users a list of articles near them and highlighting the ones that need images. This feature is expected to be activated on the full mobile web site next month.