Incremental dumps help mirrors, full screen search helps mobile visitors, and two MediaWiki releases help external sites
November engineering report published
The Wikimedia Foundation's engineering report for November was published last week on the Wikimedia Techblog and on the MediaWiki wiki, giving an overview of all Foundation-sponsored technical operations in that month. Many of the projects mentioned have been covered in The Signpost, including the India and Brighton hackathon, the end of the Coding Challenge, and progress on the Visual Editor project. Other activities mentioned in the report were the ongoing infrastructure work to improve performance and reliability, the Wikimedia Labs project, as well as very recent developments such as the final release of MediaWiki 1.18.0 and an update to the Feedback Dashboard (see In Brief for coverage).
Among developments to have received less publicity, there was also news on work to improve database dump functionality, with the unveiling of "a new experimental service this month, daily adds/changes dumps for all projects. No information about deleted/undeleted/moved pages from previous dumps is included, but it does include all new content since the run of the previous day". The WMF is also "talking with another organization interested in mirroring them".
The Commons Upload Wizard also received "important improvements" during the month, including "multi-file selection for browsers which support it, custom wikitext licenses, an improved licensing workflow, basic support for location data extraction, and more", the report described. VIPS, a new scaler that handles large PNG files and TIFF files much more efficiently than the existing ImageMagick scaler was also tested during the month.
Scheduled for December are substantial code review work for 1.19 (which has already crept substantially behind that forecast) and the deployment of the WebFonts extension, which will fix character displays of scripts for which there is no native browser support.
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.
It is now possible for more experienced users to respond to MoodBar messages directly from the Feedback Dashboard.
- MediaWiki 1.18.0 released: The first version of MediaWiki 1.18 has been released to external sites (wikitech-l mailing list). A number of issues have since been discovered, prompting thoughts about a quick point release for the branch. However, it was later decided to hold until the issues could be more fully discovered and resolved (separate wikitech-l thread). In related news, MediaWiki 1.17.1 was released to resolve two security concerns (bugs #32616 and #32276) relating to private wikis (also wikitech-l).
- Mobile search goes fullscreen: The new mobile site interface has been updated to include fullscreen search. The change was made to reflect usability concerns that the existing search function, which mimicked the screen real estate ratio of the desktop site, was unsuitable for small, touch-based screens (Wikimedia blog).
- Resolved: LATER? There was a substantial discussion on the wikitech-l mailing list surrounding the "LATER" resolution that has been applied to 339 bugs filed on the MediaWiki-Wikimedia Bugzilla since it was established in 2004. 80 have since been moved off the designation and onto more suitable resolutions. In unrelated news, WMF Lead Architect Brion Vibber announced updates to his "BugTender" mobile Bugzilla interface.
- FeedbackDashboard and replies: As reported on the Wikimedia blog and mentioned in this week's Engineering Report, it is now possible for more experienced users to respond to MoodBar messages directly from the Feedback Dashboard. The dashboard is intended to "make it easier for experienced users to lend a helping hand to new users, guiding them through their initial experiences editing Wikipedia".
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