Wikidata client rollout stutters
January engineering report published
- 112 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki (no change on December)
- The total number of unresolved commits stood at 650 (no change).
- About 45 shell requests were processed (up 6).
- Wikimedia Labs now hosts 155 projects (up 7) and has 931 registered users (up 84).
—Adapted from Engineering metrics, Wikimedia blog
The WMF's engineering report for January was published this week on the Wikimedia blog and on the MediaWiki wiki ("friendly" summary version), giving an overview of all Foundation-sponsored technical operations in that month (as well as brief coverage of progress on Wikimedia Deutschland's Wikidata project, phase 1 is in the process of going live on the English Wikipedia). Of the five headlines picked out for the report, one (the data centre migration) had already received detailed Signpost coverage. The other four highlight, respectively, updates to the mobile site to allow primitive editing, upload and watchlist functionality; "progress on input methods and our upcoming translation interface"; a restructuring of the way MediaWiki stores co-ordinates; and a testing event to assess how VisualEditor handles non-Latin characters.
In many respects, then, January was a quieter month for Wikimedia Engineering, reflecting in part the uncertainty of the data centre migration (though in the event very little actively broke). Of the Foundation's own core projects (that is to say, excluding the Wikimedia Deutschland-led Wikidata project), only the nascent Echo project showed visible improvement over the month. Flow – the Foundation's latest attempt to fix talk pages, particularly with respect to user-to-user communications – did however enter the design stage, while the Visual Editor project saw another month of refinements and bugfixes. In addition, as previously reported, the Foundation's Editor Engagement Experiments (E3) team launched the Guided Tours extension in January, allowing users to be "walked through" their first edit.
In any case, the report allows for a detailed look at some of the smaller-name projects receiving the Foundation's support. In January; that included work on a tool for Unix/Linux users to allow them to import copies of Wikimedia sites more easily by converting the current XML output to a more data-friendly form. The tool came after WMF developers realised the current process for mirroring a Wikimedia wiki was "painful and cumbersome at best, and unfathomable for the end-user in the worst case". The WMF's involvement with the Outreach Program for Women also began on January 3, with six women new to open-source programming taking on three-month micro-projects; this month, the Foundation also reaffirmed its intention to apply to be part of the Google Summer of Code programme, which targets intermediate level developers of either gender.
Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for several weeks.
- English Wikipedia Wikidata deployment stutters: The fourth deployment of the Wikidata client, this time to the English Wikipedia, has proven its most challenging, with two failed attempts to date. Both deployment slots – one on Monday and one on Tuesday – proved insufficient to deal with the complexities of the largest Wikimedia wiki. Wikimedia Deutschland, leading the effort, is expected to try again later in the week, having fixed some of the fatal errors and other problems that plagued the first two attempts, which were aborted after five and ten minutes respectively.
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