Wikipedia:VisualEditor

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Welcome to the portal for the VisualEditor, a new way of editing Wikipedia being developed by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). Editors have long had to learn some wikimarkup to make most edits. In 2001, this difficulty was acceptable; in 2014, it drives away some contributors. VisualEditor will allow people to edit without having to learn wikitext markup and will hopefully encourage more readers to become editors.

Even after the eventual anticipated full-feature release of VisualEditor, experienced editors still may prefer editing wikitext because they find it faster and more precise. Editing articles purely in wikitext is and will remain an option that the Wikimedia Foundation has no plans to remove. Even editors who enable VisualEditor will have the wikitext option available from the toolbar above each article and user page.

About VisualEditor

VisualEditor is a new, "visual" way of editing Wikipedia that allows people to contribute without having to learn wikimarkup. It was made available as an opt-in release on the English-language Wikipedia back in December 2012, in 14 other languages in April 2013, and in most other languages at the beginning of June 2013. Deployments began in July 2013. The Wikimedia Foundation developers expect to make it available to almost all Wikimedia Foundation projects by the end of 2014. As of May 2014, it is available by default to users of about 60% of the language editions of Wikipedias and as an opt-in beta feature to the rest, along with a handful of non-Wikipedia projects.

To learn more about using VisualEditor, please read the guide to VisualEditor and the list of common keyboard shortcuts. Your help with the many tasks that need to be done is appreciated. You can also receive regular status updates on your talk page by signing up for the VisualEditor newsletter.

VisualEditor still has many bugs and missing features. If you encounter an issue, please report it on the Feedback page.

Office hours

The schedule for monthly office hours with Product Manager James Forrester is listed on Meta. These discussions happen on IRC.

Limitations

Current known limitations include:

  • Slow - Loading longer pages into VisualEditor takes more time than the old wikitext editor, although this has improved significantly.[1]
  • Article, User, File, Category, Book, Portal, Draft, and Help namespaces only – At the English Wikipedia, VisualEditor is enabled for the following Wikipedia namespaces: Article, Help, File, Category, Book, Portal, Draft, and User (the latter allows editors to make changes in a personal sandbox). It is not enabled for any talk pages or in the Wikipedia: or Template: namespaces. In time, VisualEditor will include the specialised editing tools needed for other namespaces, but to date the developer focus has been on articles. On pages other than those in the namespaces mentioned, the "Editbeta" button is not currently available.
  • Limited browser support – VisualEditor currently works only in the most modern versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Midori, Qupzilla, SeaMonkey and WebPositive. The developers aim to have support for the latest versions of Internet Explorer once they release VisualEditor more widely. VisualEditor will not be made available to users of IE8 or earlier.
  • Cannot edit a single section – VisualEditor loads and submits only entire pages. In VisualEditor's model, editing sections would be paradoxically slower than editing the whole page. Section editing does not reduce edit conflicts. Bugzilla: 48429
  • Incomplete editing functionality – The content of some "complex" formatting, including tables and definition lists, will display and can be edited, but editors using VisualEditor cannot modify the structures or add new entries, such as an additional row for a table. Adding features in this area is one of the developers' priorities.
  • Drag and drop functionality not coded yet – this delays things like editing galleries, and forces more complex editing onto some other features.
  • Relatively weak referencing support (albeit getting better), especially if you're used to English Wikipedia's references toolbar which is optimized for the citation templates used here and still much better than VisualEditor's built-in functionality.
  • Cannot copy-paste footnotes and templates reliably. Adding this functionality is a high-priority enhancement.
  • Cannot view hidden comments – Users using VisualEditor cannot view hidden comments, which often contain notes that are helpful in editing specific sections of articles.
  • Template within template limitations (e.g. {{Template1|{{Template2}}}}) – Unlike the Visual Mode editor of Wikia, which will be disabled if the transclusion of a template is containing the transclusion of another template, VisualEditor of Wikimedia allows such usage and will display the preview properly. The only problem is that the inner transclusion can only be edited in the wiki markup style, meaning you need to write the full wiki markup source code of the inner transclusion manually in the parameter entry window of the outer transclusion.
  • "Weird" templates – struggles with templates that pass a bit of incomplete code, with markup, to another template or table, such as ones that fill in multiple parameters of a table by passing, for example, param1|param2 - this is a difficult problem to code around, but usually unnecessary.
  • Only supports Vector and Monobook skins – of the four skins available in user preferences, VisualEditor currently only works with Vector and Monobook.

Because of these limitations and the many remaining bugs in VisualEditor, the developers recommend that VisualEditor users click "Review your changes" before saving a page, and report any problems they see.


Timeline

Week of.. Launch Target projects Status
June 2012 Launch to all users in the VisualEditor test namespace MediaWiki Yes check.svg Done
Late summer 2012 Available to all logged-in users as opt-in for alpha testing MediaWiki Yes check.svg Done
November 2012 Launch to all users MediaWiki Yes check.svg Done
December 2012 Available to all logged-in users as opt-in English-language Wikipedia Yes check.svg Done
March 2013 Available to all logged-in users as opt-in Some larger Wikipedias Yes check.svg Done
1 July 2013 Launch to all logged-in users English-language Wikipedia Yes check.svg Done, Wikipedia Rollbacker.svg Reverted
15 July 2013 Launch to all logged-out users English-language Wikipedia Yes check.svg Done, Wikipedia Rollbacker.svg Reverted
24 July 2013 Launch to all logged-in users as opt-out for beta testing Spanish (es), French (fr), Hebrew (he), Italian (it), Polish (pl), Russian (ru) and Swedish (sv) Yes check.svg Done
29 July 2013 Launch to logged-out users Spanish (es), French (fr), Hebrew (he), Italian (it), Polish (pl), Russian (ru) and Swedish (sv) Yes check.svg Done
23 September 2013 English Wikipedia reverted to opt-in English Wikipedia Yes check.svg Done
30 September 2013 Launch to all logged-in users as opt-out About 25 other Wikipedias Yes check.svg Done
07 October 2013 Launch to logged-out users on about 25 other projects About 25 other Wikipedias Yes check.svg Done
02 December 2013 Launch to all users as opt-out About 100 small Wikipedias, and Portuguese (pt) Yes check.svg Done
13 January 2014 Launch to all users as opt-out About 25 mid-sized Wikipedias Yes check.svg Done
12 February 2014 Spanish Wikipedia reverted to opt-in Spanish Wikipedia (es) Yes check.svg Done
??? Launch to all users as opt-out Wikipedias that need character inserters
??? Launch to all users as opt-out Wikipedias that have uncommon alphabets
??? Launch to all users as opt-out Wikipedias with language variants, such as Chinese

How to help out

Help is needed to make VisualEditor as good as it can be: You can find and report bugs while using the software or lend a hand in many other tasks, such as:

  • Updating help pages – All Wikimedia Foundation projects have help pages to make contributing easier for new editors. Unfortunately, the full launch of VisualEditor will make obsolete the screenshots and tutorials in these help pages, because they describe how to edit using the markup editor. Therefore, the VisualEditor development team needs help updating help pages. The user guide to VisualEditor is a starting place for text for the new help pages.
  • Adding TemplateData to templates – VisualEditor features an interactive template editor—described in more detail in the user guide—and as you'll see if you use it on Wikipedia, some templates have named parameters and nice descriptions that make it easy to use. However, other templates lack them because they need "TemplateData" before this feature will work. If you're interested in adding TemplateData, then read the guide to it and the list of the most important templates to add it to.
  • Help new users – The successful launch of VisualEditor might result in many more new editors than usual, and even though editing may be easier, learning policies and guidelines and how to interact with the community will still be challenging. Please try to spend some time at the appropriate venues: the Help desk, the Teahouse and the help chatroom. Additionally, please feel free to monitor the Category of Wikipedians looking for help.

Newsletter

  • Click here to sign up for the VisualEditor newsletter! Just add * {{#target:User talk:Your username}} to the end of the list.
  • Prior issues of the newsletter can be found here. Updates are sent out every few weeks on average.
  • You can unsubscribe at any time by removing your name from this list.

External links

References

  1. ^ Pages for which VisualEditor is an option carry roughly 2% more JavaScript, which is about 0.5% of the total page load. Furthermore, this only has to be loaded once and is cached for use on all pages (until your cache expires, usually once a week).