- This content is prepared for inclusion in the February 2014 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for February 2014 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in February include:
- a call for volunteers to test the upcoming multimedia viewer;
- improvements to VisualEditor's media and template editors;
- the launch of the Flow discussion system on two pilot talk pages on the English Wikipedia;
- the launch of guided tours to 31 more language versions of Wikipedia, including all of the top 10 projects by number of page views;
- improvements to the tools and process used to deploy code to Wikimedia production sites;
- the release of the first archive of the entire English Wikipedia with thumbnails, for offline use.
In February, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of this visual tool to edit wiki pages; they also added some new features and simplifications. It is now easier to edit media items: users can set the position, alt text, size and type for most kinds of media items. 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-focusing 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.
The Parsoid team continued with bug fixes and improved image support in this parsing program that converts wikitext to annotated HTML, behind the scenes of VisualEditor.
Part of the team has continued to mentor two Outreach Program for Women (OPW) interns; this program ends mid-March. Others are mentoring a group of students in a Facebook Open Academy project to build a Cassandra storage back-end for the Parsoid round-trip test server.
We have a first version of a Debian package for Parsoid ready. This package is yet to find a home base (repository) from which it can be installed. This will soon make the installation of Parsoid as easy as
apt-get install parsoid.
This month, the new Flow discussion system was launched on the talk pages of two English Wikipedia WikiProjects that volunteered to be a part of the first trial, WikiProject Breakfast and WikiProject Hampshire. We've continued to iterate on the front-end design of the discussion system based on user feedback, releasing a new appearance during the trial and starting work on a front-end rewrite for better cross-browser and mobile compatibility (to be released sometime in March). We also spent time making sure Flow integrates better with vital MediaWiki tools and processes (e.g., suppression and checkuser) and improving the handling of permalink URLs.
Slides of the quarterly review of the Growth team
In February, the Growth team first focused on releasing the new Wikipedia onboarding experience on additional projects. The GettingStarted extension was deployed to 30 Wikipedias, including all of the top 10 projects by number of page views. This marks the first time its task suggestions and guided tours were available outside English projects. The GuidedTour extension was also deployed to those projects (as a dependency of GettingStarted), as well as the Czech Wikipedia and the Swedish Wikimedia chapter wiki. Late in the month, the team also presented its work at its first Quarterly Review of the 2014 calendar year (see slides and minutes).
The Wikimedia Apps team primarily worked on basic editing functionality (using wikitext) for both logged-in and logged-out users, as well as account creation and login.
The Mobile web projects team has been working on bringing VisualEditor to tablets; the functionality is currently in alpha stage. Once this feature is available, tablet devices will be redirected to the mobile site. Work has notably focused on "inspectors" (like the dialog used to add and edit a link) and fixing bugs.
During the last month, the Wikipedia Zero engineering team added zero-data charge rating for secure HTTPS connections for select carriers, in cooperation with the Operations team. In collaboration with the Mobile Apps team, we integrated Wikipedia Zero into the forthcoming rebooted versions of the Android and iOS apps. We updated the legacy Firefox OS app with bugfixes from January, and prepared other bugfixes as well. Discussion with the Operations team and Platform Engineering continued on how to best implement the Wikipedia Zero portal. The team also continued the discussion on core ResourceLoader features, in support of a proof of concept HTML5 webapp. We also started work to make contributory features present for Wikipedia Zero users. Last but not least, we performed extensive analytics work on pageviews and page bandwidth consumption.
In February, we launched Wikipedia Zero with MTN South Africa (Opera Mini browser only). MTN South Africa responded directly to the kids of Sinenjongo High School with an open letter to the students and the youth of South Africa. They said they agree that Wikipedia could give a boost to their education system, and that offering Wikipedia Zero is a small thing that could change everything (see video on YouTube). We also launched Wikipedia Zero with Safaricom, the largest operator in Kenya. We now have three partners in Kenya, covering 90% of all mobile subscribers. South Africa is our 23rd country to launch, and Safaricom is our 27th operator partner. The Mobile Partnerships team attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we met with existing operator partners, prospective partners and tech companies who want to support the mission. At the conference, our Wikipedia Text pilot with Airtel Kenya and the Praekelt Foundation was nominated as a finalist for the GSMA Global Mobile awards in the education category.