Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-01-24/Technology report

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File licensing metadata; Multimedia Usability project; brief news

File licensing metadata support on the way

On Wikimedia wikis, most important information about files (such as author and copyright information) is buried within the file description page itself, and is difficult for automated tools to extract. Last week, a new development project aiming to separate elements of that data into a separate database table, and exposing it via the MediaWiki API, was announced (wikitech-l mailing list). Developer Bryan Tong Minh described the project:

Technical issues were discussed on the mailing list, as was the possibility of expanding the scheme into extracting other forms of data from pages, on a par with Semantic MediaWiki. Michael Dale suggested that it could be discussed at the forthcoming Data Summit. In the mean time, contribution on the current project talkpage was requested.

"Indisputable improvement" in multimedia uploading

The finished licensing tutorial, an SVG that has been translated into more than 25 languages since its publication in November

Also last week, the Multimedia Usability project published a report about its achievements. The project, funded by a $300,000 grant from the Ford Foundation from October 2009 to November 2010, created the new "upload wizard" and a cartoon-based licensing tutorial (see previous Signpost coverage). With these in place, the report heralded an "indisputable improvement" in users' experiences of the upload process:

In brief

Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for many weeks.

  • Wikimedia Germany (WMDE) has decided not to hold a developer meetup around its international Chapters' conference in March (as it had done last year), but will instead run a hackathon in May, in addition to the combination of technology presentations and programming sessions available at Wikimania 2011 in August (wikitech-l mailing list).
  • Developer Magnus Manske posted a series of updates on how his WYSIFTW editing tool: development is progressing, but at the cost of processing time, particularly on older browsers, though even this is being improved rapidly (wikitech-l mailing list, see also previous Signpost coverage for context).
  • Ryan Lane noted that his integration of OpenStack - software which allows users to test their code changes on various browser/operating system configurations without actually possessing them - into MediaWiki has been successful in generating an alpha-release extension (wikitech-l mailing list).
  • The JSMin JavaScript compressor has been retired in favour of more free alternative compressors after it was determined that JSMin's condition that it "be used for Good, not Evil" rendered it incompatible with MediaWiki's General Public License (GPL), which does not restrict reuse in any way (wikitech-l mailing list).
  • WMF developer Robert Lanphier posted a report into the revisions that still need to be reviewed before the release of MediaWiki version 1.17 (wikitech-l mailing list).
  • Single user login (SUL) was broken briefly on Saturday as the result of developer error. The problem is in the process of being fixed permanently (wikitech-l mailing list).
  • A job opening for an Operations Engineer has been posted. The position reports to the (recently hired) Director of Operations, and is tasked with "designing, developing and optimizing the technical infrastructure and operations of the Wikimedia Foundation projects and maintaining the security, scalability and availability of the web properties".
+ Add a commentDiscuss this story

In addition to allowing MediaWiki to be used for evil, JavaScriptDistiller is also quite a bit faster than JSMin. As Trevor Parscal reported on bug 26791:

Library Time (sec) Minified (bytes) Compressed (bytes)
JSMin (MediaWiki) 1.71 105990 29087
JavaScriptDistiller 0.87 110178 29987

As you can see, distilled evil provides great performance improvements. Reach Out to the Truth 02:18, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

(I've hidden all but the two main rows of your table for the benefit of those who wouldn't know which they were supposed to be comparing. Hope you don't mind.) Yes, it's quicker on the server - so fewer server kitties will perish compressing the files after updates - but at a slight cost to the first time visitor. - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 17:48, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Indisputable improvement ...

As well as an indisputable number of copyvios still being uploaded. We must add a "not sure" and/or "all rights reserved" option to the upload wizard. I simply do not understand how this idea has been rejected multiple times. When will the WMF request a copyvio study to augment this usability study? /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 22:02, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


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