- This content is prepared for inclusion in the April 2014 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for April 2014 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in April include:
- the change of format of MediaWiki localization files from PHP to JSON, and the associated modernization of the LocalisationUpdate extension;
- the move of Wikimedia Labs to a new data center;
- the “Heartbleed” security vulnerability and how the Wikimedia Foundation's team responded to it;
- an explanation of how the Mobile team uses Trello to plan their development sprints;
- a project report on a grant to create "gadgets" for VisualEditor.
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. When users edit templates, only a few parameters are now shown at first rather than all possible ones (some often-used templates like those for citations or infoboxes can have dozens of parameters). It now also feels more natural to set the size of images, and the page settings tool includes the complete set of page options. The next version of the citation dialog was tested and simplified; "suggested" parameters are now always added, like "required" ones. 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 Parsoid team continued to fix bugs and tweak code; Parsoid is the parsing program that works behind the scenes of VisualEditor to convert wikitext to annotated HTML, and vice versa. Two areas in particular received a lot of attention: templates encapsulation and link handling. Template encapsulation refers to how content generated by wiki templates is tagged as such, in order for the post-editing wikitext to be consistent; this is particularly important for templates that interact with tables. We fixed many issues with how links are handled, notably image links and their edge cases. In addition to bug fixes, we also improved Parsoid's performance: some pages like Barack Obama should now parse 30% faster than before. Last, April saw additional progress providing support for visual editing of transclusion parameters.
The Growth team started to focus on a new experimental area: anonymous editor acquisition. The team prepared its first two experimental interface changes, aimed at asking anonymous editors to register accounts (expected to be launched in early May). The team also will be conducting basic research into the role anonymous editors play in Wikipedia − more at Research:Anonymous phenomena and Research:Anonymous editor acquisition.
The Mobile Apps team continued to work on the rebooted Wikipedia App for Android and iOS. The team focused on bug fixes, editing refinements, and interface improvements. Several issues related to keyboard, navigation bar, edit summary, and abuse filter were fixed. The app now uses the newly created Wikifont, which reduced the size of the app and the number of images used Articles should now look even closer to their mobile web counterparts.
The Mobile web team added history and contributions pages, as well as an updated watchlist view, for all users. We also released two new features geared toward "humanizing" Wikipedia for readers and new editors: a prominent "last modified" banner that indicates when articles haven't been edited in a while and may need some attention, and a user profile feature to provide a mobile-friendly snapshot of users' contributions and activity. For tablets, we updated typography and layout and worked on adding the ability to add and modify links via VisualEditor in beta, in preparation for redirecting tablets to the mobile site later this quarter.
The Wikipedia Zero team continued to set up the Partners portal and work on graceful reduction of image quality. We continued analytics work on data from the SMS/USSD pilot program, and generated custom pageview analyses for an operator to distinguish traffic by high level device access characteristics.
Additionally, the team worked on the alpha version of the Android Wikipedia app, as well as on the URL format for the forthcoming iOS Wikipedia app to ensure pageview logging.
Mobile carrier IPKO joined the Wikipedia Zero program in Kosovo, bringing us to a total of 28 partners in 26 countries. We delivered 68 million free page views in April. We visited South Africa to meet with MTN (current Wikipedia Zero partner), prospective partners, members of Wikimedia South Africa and the Singenjongo High School. This trip was part of a broader strategy to promote Wikipedia in our partners' corporate social responsibility (CSR) and education initiatives, increasing awareness and impact locally. We are identifying new collaboration opportunities with MTN and local organizations, including the Wikimedia chapter in South Africa and other mission-aligned nonprofits. Additionally, we will continue to support the local initiative created by Sinenjongo High School teachers and students.