- This content is prepared for inclusion in the May 2014 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for May 2014 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in May include:
- changes to the mobile site to better show the editors behind the curtain;
- the announcement of CyrusOne in Dallas as the location of the new Wikimedia data center;
- the Zürich hackathon and Lila Tretikov's perspective on it;
- experiments by the Growth team to encourage more contributors to register;
- the one-year anniversary of the launch of Tech News;
- the launch of Wikipedia Zero in Nepal in partnership with NCELL;
- the launch of a second request for proposals for the release management of MediaWiki for third-party users.
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 78 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.
Progress was also made on Parsoid, the parsing program that works behind the scenes of VisualEditor. The team continued with ongoing bug fixes and bi-weekly deployments. Besides the user-facing bug fixes, we also improved our tracing support (to aid debugging), and did some performance improvements. We also finished implementing support for HTML/visual editing of transclusion parameters. This is not yet enabled in production while we finish up any additional performance tweaks on it. As part of the Google Summer of Code program, one student is working on a wikilint project to detect broken/bad wikitext in wiki pages.
The Growth team launched its A/B test of two methods for asking anonymous editors to sign up on the English, German, French, and Italian Wikipedias. Full analysis of the test results is expected in June, though preliminary data strongly suggests a positive impact on new registrations. Last but not least, Growth released two smaller enhancements to our data collection regarding article creation, including adding page identifiers to MediaWiki's deletion logs and tracking page restorations across all wikis.
This month, the Mobile Apps team worked on a series of navigation improvements to the iOS and Android alpha apps, focusing on the interface for searching, saving and sharing pages, and navigating to the table of contents. We also worked on restyling the global navigation menu and article content—typography, color, and spacing—to create a standardized experience across the mobile web and apps. In preparation for the launch of the Android app in June, we tackled a number of user-reported crashing bugs to ensure a more stable and reliable experience for our users.
The Mobile web team continued to build out the basic features of VisualEditor for tablet users, providing the ability to add references via VisualEditor. We hope to finish refining the add and modify references workflow in preparation for graduating VE for tablets to the stable mobile site sometime in July. On the reader features side, we've made a number of tablet-related styling improvements (typography, spacing, and Table of Contents) to the stable mobile site. This should greatly improve the reading experience for tablet users who are already accessing the mobile version of our projects, and it is one of the last pieces of work we planned to get done before we begin redirecting all tablet users to the mobile site mid-June.
The Wikipedia Zero team worked on restructuring ZeroRatedMobileAccess into several extensions, and added support for graceful image quality reduction, and worked on a proposal to use GIF images for Zero banners instead of ESI. We also added necessary library support to the reboots of the Wikipedia apps, performed limited app code review, added support for Nokia (now MS Mobile) proxies, and started work with the Design team on the final polish for the Wikipedia Zero experience in the forthcoming apps.
In May we launched Wikipedia Zero with Ncell in Nepal, Sky Mobile (Beeline) in Kyrgyzstan and Airtel in Nigeria. We also added Opera Mini zero-rating in Umniah in Jordan. We served roughly 67 million free page views in May across 30 partners in 28 countries. We met with community members from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Jordan, as well as prospective partners in Brazil, and kicked off the carrier portal design with Noble Studios.