Note from the editor: the issue of the Signpost in a fortnight's time will be the first anniversary of my time in the role of "Technology Report" lead. In that time, the flavour of the report has not changed greatly: it is much as it ever was. I would like the 6 June issue to include a handful of trial elements, to see if they meet with approval; as such, it would be great to take comments on this issue about what you, Signpost readers, think about the "Technology Report" and what suggestions you may have. Thank you.
Slowness affecting Wikimedia sites
Periods of intermittent slowness (many causing timeouts and consequently edits being lost) intensified this week, prompting a raft of complaints at the English Wikipedia's Technical Village Pump (permalink). The issues were raised on the Foundation's mailing list, prompting WMF Deputy Director Erik Möller to relay suggestions from the Wikimedia operations team as to what might be behind the issues, which have affected users as far apart as the east coast of the United States and Australia:
Not all users are experiencing slowness, but a subset of users are. There's no definite smoking gun, but the most likely cause are ongoing issues with one of our routers in Tampa... My understanding is that the best available maintenance window is Tuesday next week.
There was a software deployment on May 18 which caused an application server overload; it was reverted the same day.
The mobile servers are currently intermittently overloaded...
(The extension deployed on May 18 - cf. bug #21919 - was GoogleNewsSitemap, an extension designed to make wikis, in this case the English Wikinews site, more accessible to the Google News aggregation service.) The problems underline the need for the forthcoming Ashburn, Virginia data centre, through which requests could be rerouted. In his email, Möller also warned against checking the usual reports on Wikimedia uptime at http://ganglia.wikimedia.org, which is "in the process of being fixed".
In unrelated news, this week also saw a fatal error which made Wikimedia Commons unable to accept edits for a period of some minutes (bug #29078).
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.
Wikipedian Tom Morris blogged about his attempts to make Wikipedia more usable on iPads.
Wikimedia's copy of "phpUnderControl", an automated test suite capable of testing every revision to the MediaWiki software as they come in, was made usable once more by excluding tests that take a long time to run (example of Cruise Control in action). The aim is to be able to find and act on deficiencies in code additions more swiftly than has previously been the case (wikitech-l mailing list).
At the "GLAMCampNYC" (a meeting of Wikimedians and representatives of "GLAMs", i.e. cultural institutions, see this week's "News and notes"), Sumana Harihareswara wrote about developers' efforts to facilitate such collaboration projects, specifically a tool for mass upload of audiovisual media and for analysis of their usage (Wikimedia Technology blog).
With the resolution of bug #20699, the API (machine readable) version of the watchlist now includes the log events included on the normal version of the page.
The CLDR extension was deployed to Wikimedia wikis (bug #28176). It allows for language names to be translated into other languages straight from a Unicode repository when they are not already defined in MediaWiki's own lists.