- This content is prepared for inclusion in the May 2013 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for May 2013 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in May include:
In May, the VisualEditor team worked to complete major new features. The 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. The team has focused on four areas of new functionality: references, templates, categories and media items. Editing of references and templates has been implemented in 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 behind the scenes to better support the new features, and fixing a number of bugs.
VisualEditor relies on Parsoid, the program that serves as translator between wikitext code and annotated HTML. The Parsoid team implemented several new features, particularly around the handling the inclusion of images (and their parameters). Improvements were also made to support editing of templates within extensions. This lets editors modify and add templated citations in VisualEditor, an important feature to improve the quality of articles in Wikipedia. In addition to new features, the team implemented important performance optimizations as well, in preparation for the July VisualEditor milestone. For example, the processing of expensive templates, extensions and images is now reused in order to avoid reprocessing identical code. This is necessary to avoid overwhelming the servers when tracking all edits on Wikimedia projects. A cache infrastructure with appropriate purging was set up and will be tested at full load through June. Last, at the Amsterdam hackathon, the team helped other developers use Parsoid's annotated HTML for other projects, such as a Wikipedia-to-SMS service or the Kiwix offline Wikipedia reader.
In May, the Editor engagement team (E2) activated new features and bug fixes for Notifications on the English Wikipedia and mediawiki.org. In collaboration with community members, a 'new message indicator' was developed to inform users when someone posts on their talk page. The team also released a new 'Thanks notification' that lets editors show their appreciation to users who make helpful edits, and offers a quick way to give positive feedback on Wikipedia. Messages are now marked as read when you visit your talk page, and talk page notifications link directly to their sections. Work continued on the metrics dashboard and HTML email notifications.
A few final features and bug fixes were added to Article feedback, a quality assessment feature. As requested by community members, a new opt-in feature now makes it easier to enable or disable feedback on a page; UI improvements were also developed to simplify the feedback page. The team activated new feedback links and tested the auto-archive feature on prototype. Feature development has now ended for this project, and next steps will be determined based on the upcoming community vote on the German Wikipedia in coming weeks.
Discussion portals about Flow, a feed-like interface to enable users to better interact with their projects, were announced and opened on three wikis: the English Wikipedia, Meta-Wiki, and mediawiki.org. An interactive prototype was released to the public for discussion, now ongoing.
As for the Editor engagement experiments team (E3), they launched their new account creation and login forms, after numerous bug fixes and working with local communities to customize the interface. Complete deployment as the default for all Wikimedia projects was enabled by early June. The team also launched and tested a new version of the "Getting Started" interface for onboarding new Wikipedians. The results of A/B testing of this new version showed the largest increase in click-through rates for the landing page. Last but not least, the PostEdit extension was moved to MediaWiki core, making it available to all wikis.
This month, the Mobile team launched Wikipedia Zero with Mobilink in Pakistan. They improved code quality and configuration of Zero programs, and fixed bugs.
A major focus in May was the activation of 'Nearby' view on the stable version of the mobile site. Now, with a location-aware device, users can easily identify articles close to their current location. Improvements were also made to photo uploads and the photo upload experience, including improved messaging around image quality and copyright requirements for new uploaders in the beta version of the mobile site. The upload features in general have been a great success, with over 1000 unique uploaders over the last two months. Experiments continue in the beta version of the site with improvements to article editing, an improved reorganization of site navigation, Echo notifications, talk pages, and simplifying discovery of article actions (like editing and watching). These beta features are expected to be released in June.