This year, the MediaWiki community again participated in Google Summer of Code, in which we selected nine students to work on new features or specific improvements to the software. They were sponsored by Google and mentored by experienced developers, who helped them become part of the development community and guided their code development.
Congratulations to the eight students who have made it through the summer of 2012 (our seventh year participating in GSoC)! They all accomplished a great deal, and many of them are working to improve their projects to benefit the Wikimedia community even more.
- Ankur Anand worked on integrating Flickr upload and geolocation into UploadWizard. WMF engineer Ryan Kaldari mentored Ankur as they made it easier for Wikimedia contributors to contribute media files and metadata. Read his wrapup and anticipate the merge of his code into the main UploadWizard codebase.
- Harry Burt worked on TranslateSvg (“Bringing the translation revolution to Wikimedia Commons”). When his work is complete and deployed, we will more easily able to use a single picture or animation in different language wikis. See this image of the anatomy of a human kidney, for example; it has a description in eight languages, so it benefits multiple language Wikipedias (e.g., Spanish and Russian). Harry aims to allow contributors to localize the text embedded within vector files (SVGs), and you can watch a demo video, try out the test site, or just read Harry’s wrapup post. WMF engineer Max Semenik mentored this project.
- Akshay Chugh worked on a convention/conference extension for MediaWiki. Wikimedia conferences like Wikimania often use MediaWiki to help organize their conferences, but it takes a lot of custom programming. Under the mentorship of volunteer developer Jure Kajzer, Akshay created the beta of an extension that a webmaster could install to provide conference-related features automatically. See his wrapup post.
Ashish Dubey worked on realtime collaboration in the upcoming Visual Editor (you may have seen “real-time collaborative editing” in tools like Etherpad and Google Docs). Ashish (with WMF engineer Trevor Parscal as mentor) has implemented a collaboration server and other features (see his wrapup post) and has achieved real-time “spectation,” in which readers can see an editor’s changes in realtime. Wikimedia Foundation engineers plan to integrate Ashish’s work into VisualEditor around April to June 2013.
- Nischay Nahata optimized the performance of the Semantic MediaWiki extension. In wikis with unusually large amounts of content, Semantic MediaWiki experiences performance degradation. With the mentorship of head Semantic MediaWiki developer Markus Krötzsch (a volunteer) and Wikidata developer Jeroen De Dauw, Nischay found and fixed many of these issues. This also reduces SMW’s energy consumption, making it greener. Nischay’s work will be in Semantic MediaWiki 1.8.0, which is currently in beta and due to be released soon. Wikimedia Labs uses Semantic MediaWiki and will benefit from the performance improvements.
Aaron Pramana worked on watchlist grouping and workflow improvements. Aaron wants to make it easier for wiki editors and readers to use watchlists, and to create and use groups of watched items to focus on or share. Aaron worked with volunteer developer Alex Emsenhuber. The back end of the system is done, but Aaron wants your input about the user interface. Folks on the English Wikipedia’s Village Pump have started discussing it.
- Robin Pepermans worked on Incubator improvements and language support, mentored by WMF engineer Niklas Laxström. If you’ve ever thought of using Wikimedia’s Incubator for new projects, it’s now easier to get started. Read Robin’s wrapup post for more.
- Platonides worked on a desktop application for mass-uploading files to Wikimedia Commons. The application will eventually make it much easier for participants in upload campaigns like Wiki Loves Monuments to upload their photos (and it’ll work on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS). I mentored Platonides, who delivered a beta version.
As further progress happens, we’ll update our page about past GSoC students. Congratulations again to the students and their mentors. And thanks to volunteer Greg Varnum, who helped me administer this year’s GSoC, and to all the staffers and volunteers who helped students learn our ways.
Sumana Harihareswara, Engineering Community Manager
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