Wikipedia Mobile October Update

Translate this post

We have a lot of cool stuff that got pushed out today. I’m really excited to tell you about it. First of all, Derk-Jan Hartman (github: hartman) has been hard at work bringing us NetFront support. NetFront is the HTML rendering backend to many devices. Here is a list of the devices that Derk’s hard work has given us blessed access to.

  • Most SonyEricsson Phones
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Sony PS3
  • Sony PSP

He’s also working on Opera Mini support and has done a lot of awesome refactors on the code. Fixing many an embarrassing lines of code for me. Its great to see other people chipping into the project and I know for me personally, its a big inspiration to see people giving their time to help this project out!
subcategoryNow, on to a small tweak that we made to the subcategory expansion system. Its a really small change, but should make using the app even easier. If you want to expand a subcategory, clicking on the title of the category gets the job done. No more having to aim your finger at the “Show” button. Obviously, it also hides if you do it when the section is visible. Its these types of changes that are my favourite. Someone might not even notice it, but it should make their usage of the site a litttttle bit easier.
We’ve also done various and sundry internal changes. We got a patch from Jacques Crocker to use Bundler to manage our Gems. Getting the capistrano part right on that was a bit difficult and so we had a little downtime today while I was working out those kinks. But, from now on, it should be much, much easier to get a local copy of Wikimedia Mobile up and running on your system.
We’ve also expanded the number of supported languages recently. All of this is thanks to the tireless work of Niklas Laxström and others from the TranslateWiki project. They were very helpful in building an API for us to import new languages. I wrote a couple rake tasks and Ruby bits to make it all go. So, now all you have to do is type `rake lang:import` and it will download the freshest strings you’ve ever parsed.
Here is an updated list of all of the languages we support: af, ak, ar, az, bg, bn, br, bs, ca, cy, de, dsb, el, en, eo, es, eu, fi, fr, gl, gv, he, hi, hr, hsb, hu, ia, id, is, it, ja, ka, km, kn, ko, ksh, kw, lb, li, lv, mg, mk, mt, nl, no, oc, pl, pms, ps, pt, ro, ru, sah, sh, sk, sl, su, sv, te, th, tr, uk, vec, vi, wo, and xal. I really have no idea what most of those languages are, but I’m also super happy to support them. And, I’d like to welcome the newest member to our class: Akan (ak), comes to us from Ghana! I know, cool right? Technically, its not a language but an Ethnologue. (Must stop myself from reading too much about this on Wikipedia… and finish this post)
Well folks, that’s it for the moment. Now that I’ve completed my move to another continent you should be seeing a lot more updates coming through on the mobile site. I’m really excited about where we are going and I’m also excited to reveal the results of our survey in the next couple weeks. Some really interesting and exciting things in there!
Hampton Catlin, Mobile Development Lead

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

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

why not zh? plese add zh wap

It seems that these changes break other iPhone apps, which try to load URLs. In my particular app I am getting an WebKitErrorFrameLoadInterruptedByPolicyChange error in the UIWebView delegate. If I try to load the very same URL in MobileSafari everything works perfectly. Also patching the HTTP User-Agent field to simulate Safari/Mac solves the issue. Any ideas?

@carsten: We’ll get this taken care of. I think I know what the problem is. Right now, we’re only paying attention to JSON requests that come from native iphone apps… I’m fixing this at the moment so that it can also do HTML for your app. Our app specifically says ?format=json, so the assumption isn’t required.
@shizhoa: We’re working on it. The problem we’re having with zh is that we have 3 types of translation strings for the one zh wikipedia. I have no idea which one to use!

@carsten: This should correct the problem. Deploying atm.

Wow, you’re really fast! Your change solved my issue. Thanks much for your help!
While I have your attention, may I ask you another related question?
I have noticed that header search bar is not included when loading a mobile Wikipedia page into an UIWebView, which is great. However, the message notice (e.g. “Tip! Click the “W” above to get access to extra features”) is still being displayed, which doesn’t make much sense when there’s actually no “W” button. Do you have any ideas how to suppress this notice, too?
Thanks much for your help again!

@carsten: I’ve also already fixed this issue. That’s a very good point. I guess it made more sense before. Notices currently removed from native apps. However, we do reserve the right to inject those in the future for fund raising and etc.

Wonderful. Thanks much again!

@carsten: Email me anytime at
Also, we are often working in #wikimedia-mobile on
Feel free to hang out in there.

FYI, the text input for the search at the very top of the page is somewhat broken in my Android powered HTC Hero (webkit).
It’s a bit to wide, so it doesn’t float next to the Wiki logo but rather floats below the logo, wasting a little space. Also, it has no borders, so it’s a bit hard for n00bs to actually realize it’s a input field there.

Oh, and the search looked perfect before the October update.

Thank you very much for an update …

What URL can this be accessed with?
Just the regular mobile.wikipedia ?

Also Nintendo Wii doesn’t use net front, they use Opera’s web browser

penubag :
What URL can this be accessed with?
Just the regular mobile.wikipedia ?

And indeed, Nintendo Wii uses Opera. That is not entirely clear from the blogpost I guess.

Derk-Jan Hartman :

penubag :
What URL can this be accessed with?
Just the regular mobile.wikipedia ?

And indeed, Nintendo Wii uses Opera. That is not entirely clear from the blogpost I guess.

Not really clear effectively…

Hey … thanks for this post… well.. i gonna buy Sony Ericsson W760i – red from
has the phone resolved da issue? please lemme know…
Best regards