One of the most important and challenging software development projects at the Wikimedia Foundation right now is VisualEditor: a rich-text editor for Wikipedia that does not require users to learn MediaWiki’s markup syntax. Today, we need your help to make it more robust and reliable.
The alpha version of VisualEditor enabled on the English Wikipedia in December was focused on basic functionality. We’re now moving toward supporting more complex editing operations, notably involving non-Latin characters and character sets.
In order for all language editions of Wikipedia and its sister projects to benefit from VisualEditor, we need to test it extensively, and we need your help to break it (and fix it) before we enable it everywhere.
Non-Latin characters (like math symbols: ⟂) and scripts (like Chinese: 嘗試, and Hebrew: סה) can be more difficult to support than the set of Latin characters we use for example in English.
Starting today (Monday, January 28th, 2013) and continuing all week long, we need your help to test how VisualEditor functions when working with non-Latin characters. We’re relatively confident that VisualEditor can reliably load a wiki page and save that page without losing any information. What is less clear is whether it behaves properly when manipulating non-Latin text, special characters, and other less common aspects of the greater set of Unicode characters.
If you care at all about VisualEditor, internationalization and localization, accessibility, or you simply enjoy hunting down bugs in software, join us this week to identify those issues! You’ll help to improve VisualEditor before it’s enabled more widely.
Our test plan should tell you everything you need to know to get started. We’re also available on IRC for real-time collaboration; all the details are in our coordination page.
The Wikimedia Foundation’s software development model is iterative: we release software early, get feedback, improve it, get more feedback, etc. We’ve set up a dedicated group for this kind of testing that you may want to join. At this time, thoughtful feedback about how VisualEditor manages non-Latin characters is crucial to the next steps of our new editor. We hope to take these steps with you.
Chris McMahon, QA Lead