Wikidata is go: well, almost
ContentHandler merge sets stage for Wikidata test
Wikidata developers and support staff celebrated the successful merger of over 10,000 lines of their code with the baking of a special cake.
A trial of the first phase of Wikimedia Deutschland's "Wikidata" project—implementing the first ever interwiki repository—may soon get underway following the successful passage of much of its code through MediaWiki's review processes this week.
At the heart of those developments of its "ContentHandler" branch, which comprised some 10,000 lines of code targeted at introducing alternative page formats to the vanilla "wikitext" variety (wikitech-l mailing list). This is required by Wikidata to allow it to serve editable pages that use its own structured data format rather than wikitext, but has potential applications for a number of projects such as that to introduce Lua code to MediaWiki. The merger of the branch was marked by a small number of (fortunately resolvable) bugs, although users are asked to be vigilant for more as the code hits larger wikis.
Also merged was the Wikidata-developed "Sites" facility. Initially running in parallel to existing processes, the "Sites" code takes the form of a not inconsiderable upgrade to MediaWiki's existing support for interwiki links. Pertinently for readers looking forward to the rollout of Phase I, review of both of these headline features (as well as a number of smaller patches also merged this week) had been the main items on the pre-trial to-do list for several weeks. That trial—scheduled for the Hungarian Wikipedia—is now expected to get underway early next month should no major bugs be found in the meantime.
"We're thrilled that this huge amount of work we've done over the last 6 months has finally made its way into MediaWiki core." Lydia Pintscher, Wikidata's communications chief, told the Signpost. "It's a huge step towards getting the first deployment done and at the same time allows a lot of great stuff unrelated to Wikidata to happen in the future."
The Wikidata project is currently looking for suggestions about how its main page should look and technical comment on its proposed update system. Discussions about how ContentHandler-aware extensions ought to be are also ongoing.
- Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for several weeks. Although there is no poll this week, you can still give your opinion on the topic "Which of the following best reflects your view about the desirable relationship between WMF staff and non-WMF-deployed extensions?"
- MediaWiki 1.21wmf2 begins deployment cycle: 1.21wmf2—the second release to Wikimedia wikis of the 1.21 cycle—was deployed to its first wikis on October 15 and will be deployed to all wikis by October 24, taking in the English Wikipedia on October 22. Because it incorporates all the Wikidata-based work referred to above, some 700 changes to the MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia are included in all, making it the largest fortnightly deployment to date. Among the changes not covered above is the introduction of "hi-res" images for those with screens and browsers that support it plus an overhaul of the CologneBlue skin to make it more future-proof.
- MediaWiki 1.20 release and beyond: In related news, a first release candidate of MediaWiki 1.20 was also released to external sites this week, suggesting a final release is not far off. (Volunteer) release manager Mark Hershberger also gave his thoughts on a possible twice-yearly timetable for future releases if the WMF continued its policy of releasing to Wikimedia wikis fortnightly. The schedule suggested the introduction of "LTS" (Long Term Support) releases suitable for organisations that could not risk frequent updates; the number of versions of MediaWiki that developers should be expected to keep their extensions compatible with remains a contentious issue.
- Gerrit 2.4.2 patched, but 2.5 not yet ready: Posting an update on the state of Wikimedia code review system Gerrit, developer Chad Horohoe described a new patch for the currently installed version (2.4.2) that improves Gerrit's support for "continuous integration" methods such as automated testing. 2.5 would not be deployed until a major authentication problem with it had been fixed by Gerrit developers, however (wikitech-l).
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