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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-06-30/Technology report

Actors and Bots: Database changes, new scripts, Tech News, and more

Actor migration

Early this month, the mediawiki databases underwent a significant change, with 8 database tables each dropping 2 columns and gaining a new one, and a new database table being created. Each of the 8 tables formerly held references to both the user_ids, and user_names of the users/IPs that had performed the relevant log entry / edited the relevant revision / had been blocked / etc. Storing this information in each of the 8 tables, in addition to its existence in the user table, was a waste of storage and led to performance issues. Accordingly, these references were replaced with references to the relevant actor instead, and a new table, the (coincidentally named) actor table, was created. The new table associates an actor_id with a user_id and a user_name, and different revisions or log entries need only refer to the relevant actor. This change is also forecasted to dramatically speed up global renames, since, rather than changing the user_id and user_name associated with all of a user's edits and log entries, only the information in a single actor row needs to be updated.

For more information, see:

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New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
  2. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:DannyS712/Global watchlist.js}}
  3. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:

Latest tech news

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2019 #23, #24, #25, & #26. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

  • You can now write all special letters in all African Wikipedia languages. This works in the desktop version. [1]
  • There is now a field called depicts on Commons. This is a way to show what is in a picture with the help of Wikidata. It is still in development. [2]
  • Some tools on Toolforge may break on or after 3 June because of database changes. Maintainers should update their tools to use the new schema. [3][4]
  • Some wikis have one tab for the visual editor and one tab for a wikitext editor. Others wikis just have one tab. If your wiki has two tabs, clicking a link to create a new page has always opened a wikitext editor. It will now open the editor you used the last time you edited. [5]
  • When you create a PDF from a page on the wiki this is now done by Proton. Before this we used Electron. It should look the same but work better. Both use Chromium. This is a different system from when you collect several articles into a book and make a PDF from them. [6][7]
  • Most wikis were slow and then briefly read-only last week due to one of the database servers having a problem. It is now replaced. [8]
  • You can watch or join the Wikimedia Language showcase. It was about the usage of Machine Translation in Wikimedia projects. The showcase was on 26 June at 13:00 (UTC). A recording was kept for later viewing.
Flagged Revisions
  • The Flagged Revisions extension now uses the standard OOUI icons. There will be additional minor fixes for positioning in the next deployment. [9]
  • Advanced item Bots and other scripts that do not set an identifiable User-Agent may find their requests strictly rate-limited until they identify themselves properly. [10]
  • Please check if the Flagged Revisions configuration on your wiki is as you expect (or as it was a few weeks ago). If not, please report it. [11]
  • MIDI files can soon be played without the Score extension. You can then add them with [[File:Filename.midi]]. Later override_midi and override_audio will stop working. Instead you will need to add the MIDI file below the music score. [12]
  • A new video player will soon replace the old one. You will be able to enable it as a beta feature in your preferences. It will later be enabled for everyone if there are no big problems. [13]
  • Advanced item Some gadgets and user scripts still use the old wgEnableAPI and wgEnableWriteAPI values. These values are always true. They will soon be removed. This might break the gadgets and scripts. You should fix your gadgets to not use these values. [14]


  • Recurrent item Advanced item You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting takes place every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 p.m. UTC. See how to join here.