Though the deployment of MediaWiki 1.19 was problematic, it is now running on all Wikimedia wikis except Wikipedias.
After a long and difficult week for developers, all Wikimedia wikis except Wikipedias are now running MediaWiki 1.19. Unfortunately, every deployment uncovered new problems that required fixing. Some deployments had to be reversed just minutes after they went live.
The hustle and bustle of the 1.19 deployment did not end at Commons. Spanning February 23–24, the Wikinews wikis were switched over to the new version, then switched back, then switched over again. Wikisources suffered a similar fate. Finally, all other non-Wikipedia wikis (Wikiquotes, Wiktionaries, Wikiversities, and the others) installed the version new later on February 24.
The deployment of 1.19 is likely to yield many useful lessons. Given the proximity of the deployment to fundamental changes in the MediaWiki release cycle, these lessons are likely to have an immediate impact. Most strikingly, several new and important bugs came to light at every turn over the past week, a stress no one will want to repeat during the more rapid future deployments planned for later in the year. Nor is the stressful period over yet: at the time of writing, 14 bug reports and one tracking bug are set to require fixing before the final deployment to the English Wikipedia, currently scheduled to finish in the early hours of March 1[nb 1]The list includes problems with the Wikimedia Commons Upload Wizard, Oversight-related issues, and a serious bug in the ProofreadPage functionality upon which a number of Wikisources depend. Given the importance of the March 1[nb 1] date, it will be another intense week for developers.
^ abAn earlier version of this article incorrectly carried the date of March 2, repeating an error made on the MediaWiki roadmap article for the deployments.
SUL convergence: yea or nay?
SUL, also known by its extension name of "CentralAuth", permits users to "call dibs" on their chosen username on all wikis simultaneously.
A discussion was started this week on Meta regarding the current implementation of the SUL ("single user login") system used to prevent cross-wiki confusion or imitation. The system, in use across Wikimedia wikis and also known by its extension name of "CentralAuth", permits users to "call dibs" on their chosen username on all wikis simultaneously rather than just the wiki(s) where they officially register. The duplicate accounts themselves are only registered if and when the user visits the foreign wiki whilst logged in.
SUL itself has been around since late 2006 but despite this, username "conflicts" – where different users have registered the same username on different projects – still persist. To ease the problem, in 2009 the SUL configuration was changed so that any username registration automatically detected as conflict-free was automatically made a globally unified login. However, usernames that had been registered already were not retrospectively made global even if they were conflict-free at the time—a decision the proposal on Meta seeks to overturn.
One potential problem in the pipeline is that no system for global renames has yet been devised, making it tricky for users who do visit numerous other wikis to change their username whilst preserving their contribution history. Proposers say that despite the downsides, the move is justified because of its potential to spur the development of global watchlists and other much-requested technical improvements of a global nature. The proposal, which had garnered a small but significant amount of support as the Signpost went to print, has not received much comment on technical feasibility thus far.
A mockup from the Wikimedia Android App project, showing the Save Article facility; version 1.1, of which a second beta was release this week, includes a "Clear saved articles" button among its new features
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.
Short URLs demystified: A new tool has been created by web development company Redwerks, aimed at helping system administrators navigate the complex world of setting up short URLs. The feature, which ensures that URLs of the form /wiki/Foo can be used interchangeably with URLs of the default format (/w/index.php?title=Foo), is one of the features most demanded by technicians installing MediaWiki for the first time and yet defies a single general solution, a problem the new tool is aimed at resolving (wikitech-l mailing list). In unrelated news, Wikimedia India announced this week the creation of http://live.wikimedia.in, an "instant search" provider for Wikimedia wikis (also wikitech-l).
Chinese and Japanese PDF generator: There was a discussion on the wikitech-l mailing list this week regarding the limits to the "Download as PDF" functionality developed by external company PediaPress and deployed on a variety of wikis, including the English Wikipedia. According to Chinese Wikimedian Ziyuan Yao, the software will need additional development to handle Chinese and Japanese characters properly.
"Git"? "Gerrit"?: WMF Volunteer Development Coordinator Sumana Harihareswara will be giving two talks this week for developers wanting to get up to speed with the new Git-based development workflow, which is due to be implemented next weekend. The interactive training sessions, scheduled for February 27, 22:00 UTC and February 28, 21:00 UTC, are open to any and all MediaWiki developers wishing to "feel [more] comfortable with Git, git-review, and Gerrit" (wikitech-l mailing list).
Android app v1.1 beta 2 released: WMF mobile team member Yuvi Panda used a mailing list post to announce the release of a second beta of version 1.1 of the Wikimedia Android app. Version 1.0 saw a rapid climb to prominence when it was released last month; developers have since added numerous new features (including full text search and "Did you mean...?" functionality) and fixed a number of bugs. The team is also on the lookout for users willing to test the beta release and report bugs that they find.