A few weeks ago, we rolled out a feature to allow users to generate PDF files, OpenDocument word processor files, and on-demand printed books in one of our smaller sister projects, Wikibooks. This same technology has now also been experimentally enabled on the German Wikipedia (thanks to Frank Schulenburg for creating a beautiful help page). Essentially, you can compile a wiki-book from any number of Wikipedia articles, download a PDF or OpenDocument version, or order a printed version from our technology partner, PediaPress. And if you like your book remixes, you can save them for others to use and share.
If you want to take your favorite Wikipedia articles with you on the go, or if you want to have a nicely formatted PDF version, or you want to edit them further in a word processor, this technology is for you. The reason this is being tested on the German Wikipedia, in case you were wondering, is that PediaPress is a German company, and they will be able to respond quickly to feedback directly from the German Wikipedia community. With more than 1.4 billion pageviews a month, the German Wikipedia is also the second most viewed language edition, right after English with 5.2 billion pageviews. We’ve dedicated some hardware to this feature, and testing it on the German Wikipedia will give us a good idea how it behaves under high traffic characteristics.
It should go without saying that all the code developed through this partnership is open source. In other words, if you want to set up your own wiki with PDF support, OpenDocument support, or connectivity to the PediaPress on-demand printing service, you can install the Collection Extension and enable it on your wiki. When we say free, we mean it.
If all goes well, this feature will become available in all Wikimedia projects where it makes sense. This technology has been developed with the generous support of the Commonwealth of Learning and the Open Society Institute.
Erik Moeller, Deputy Director Wikimedia Foundation
PS: In unrelated tech news, our CTO Brion Vibber has blogged about the AbuseFilter extension, an important tool whose development we’re supporting, which will help Wikipedians to deal more effectively with spam, vandalism, and other destructive user behavior. And if you haven’t seen it, also note his recent post about the Drafts feature that’s being tested, and which should help against accidental loss of edits.
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