Try the usability beta!

Have you noticed the “Try Beta” link on the top of Wikimedia project sites?  The usability team is proud to introduce the new skin, Vector, and the enhanced toolbar.   Well, they have been available from user preferences over a month now, but we wanted to reach out to anonymous users.  Please check it out and let us know your thought, if you haven’t tried already.  We deployed a bunch of bug fixes since the release on July 1st.  Right-to-left languages are fully supported, and you will see integrated special characters in the tool bar.  If you are a administrator of Wikimedia project sites, we would like to ask you a favor.  Please consider removing the special character menu below the editing dialogue box in edit page.  As special characters are easily accessible from the toolbar, it will be good to reduce the duplication to make the page simplified.  The special character in the toolbar has generic universal set.  If you find missing character sets or have a request, please let us know through the project page or file an enhancement request via bugzilla under User Interface.
Arigato!
Naoko Komura, Project Manager, Usability Initiative

"Try Beta" screenshot
"Try Beta" screenshot

SpecialCharacters
Special Characters screenshot

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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Is this currently available in Mediawiki itself?

Hi, SJML.
Yes, it is available in MediaWiki as an extension.
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:UsabilityInitiative
Check it out, and let us know your opinion.
Best,
– Naoko

Surely it would be a bad idea to remove the special characters until “beta” becomes the default? Otherwise, how will people not using it enter those characters?

As River pointed out, removing the usual special characters is a bad idea because the toolbar isn’t enabled by default for everyone, and currently impossible to enable for anonymous users without creating an account. Removing the old special chars should not be discussed until some time after the toolbar is enabled globally.

I do not understand why this Vector skin is not included in the mediawiki package. Wikipedia foundation is based on great philosophy about “knowledge for everyone, everything opens” but development through Wikipedia are scarcely shared to Mediawiki. Mediawiki is also a big open source community which can benefit to Wikipedia community.
Thx a lot for the extension, anyway.

The Vector skin is being worked on in the development version of MediaWiki and will be part of the 1.16 release. The updated edit toolbar and other bits are not directly tied to Vector, and are so far being developed as extensions, to be merged into core as they mature. All are available from our public SVN code repository.

River Tarnell :
Surely it would be a bad idea to remove the special characters until “beta” becomes the default? Otherwise, how will people not using it enter those characters?

My request was based on the idea that it is possible to hide special characters at the bottom of the edit page just for Vector. If there is no flexibly to hide special characters based on the skin type, yeah it makes sense to wait.
Thanks for pointing out the important point.

Isabelle Ayel :
I do not understand why this Vector skin is not included in the mediawiki package. Wikipedia foundation is based on great philosophy about “knowledge for everyone, everything opens” but development through Wikipedia are scarcely shared to Mediawiki. Mediawiki is also a big open source community which can benefit to Wikipedia community.
Thx a lot for the extension, anyway.

Please see my comment #2. The extension is available publicly under GPL. In addition, work-in-progress code is checked in to the code repository.

It looks a little like youtube…

Yeah, looks similar with Youtube

Arigato!
Naoko Komura.

Looks good. But more things could be improved. I know this is old, but how about a better editor?