Major news in October include:
- A report on the Open Access Media Importer, a tool that transfers multimedia files from scientific publications to Wikimedia Commons;
- A request for proposals for a new datacenter in the continental US, published by the Operations team;
- The creation of the Autonym Font, which allows language names to be displayed properly without degrading page loading time.
Note: We’re also providing a shorter, simpler and translatable version of this report that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
- 134 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki.
- The total number of unresolved commits went from around 1020 to about 1122.
- About 35 shell requests were processed.
- 1 Upcoming events
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Technical Operations
- 4 Features Engineering
- 5 Mobile
- 6 Language Engineering
- 7 Platform Engineering
- 8 Analytics
- 9 Kiwix
- 10 Wikidata
- 11 Future
Work with us
Are you looking to work for Wikimedia? We have a lot of hiring coming up, and we really love talking to active community members about these roles.
- Software Engineer – Fundraising
- Software Engineer – Growth
- Software Engineer – Core Features
- Software Engineer – Language Engineering
- Software Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer – Team Lead
- Software Engineer Data Analytics (Back End)
- Dev-Ops Engineer – SRE
- Ops Engineer – Labs Contractor
- User Experience Designer
- Ori Livneh transitioned to the Platform Engineering group as Senior Performance Engineer (announcement).
- Gergő Tisza joined the Platfom Engineering group as Software Engineer on the Multimedia team (announcement).
- Leslie Carr and Ryan Lane were both promoted to the position of Senior Operations Engineer (announcement).
- Rummana Yasmeen joined the Platfom Engineering group as Software Test Engineer on the QA team, working primarily on VisualEditor (announcement).
- Vibha Bamba was promoted to the position of Senior User Experience Designer (announcement)
- The team continued to heavily refactor the Puppet configuration: manifests for MySQL, nginx, SSH, puppetmaster, and several others are now properly organized as modules. Alexandros Kosiaris has made considerable progress towards supporting multiple puppetmasters on our cluster, which will greatly improve Puppet performance.
- Andrew Bogott has been working with Yuvaraj Pandian to get the new proxy system properly deployed; this will greatly reduce our need to hand out public IPs to labs users. We’re close to hiring a contractor to help with the upcoming migration of Labs from Tampa to Ashburn.
Editor retention: Editing tools
We started redirecting ineligible access attempts against subdomains zero.wikipedia.org to a unified warning page; this will reduce residual content in search engine caches, and reduce charges for users accidentally visiting zero.wikipedia.org subdomains while off participating networks.
We added support for partner self-management of configuration for JSON-oriented users; this will be enhanced with stage gating before any actual push to production.
Last, we nearly finalized IP address zero-rating lists (with the support of the Operations team), and we’ve also started working on Wikipedia Zero support for all Wikimedia projects.
Feature highlights from the past month include: a better AbuseFilter support for mobile editing, early experimentation around integrating VisualEditor with MobileFrontend for tablets, client-side performance enhancements, the ability to ‘thank’ from the watchlist, and Captcha support for mobile editing.
In beta, ‘Near this page’ is now available, as well as user profiles and ‘Keep Going’ (a series of calls to action for new editors).
- The Language Engineering team worked on building a new Main Page for translatewiki.net, the primary translation platform for MediaWiki projects. This includes a new sign-in screen and project displays. A special feature is also being introduced for new translators through which they can provide a limited set of translations for evaluation.
- As part of the enhancements towards Universal Language Selector (ULS), a new font has been developed for displaying Language Names in their own scripts. This is known as the Autonym font and contains only the characters needed for the language names. Significantly small in size, this font will soon be deployed on Wikimedia projects. The team also worked on fixing a font inheritance issue for the edit area (bug 53734).
- The monthly release of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB) was also completed.
- The team prepared for the open-source language summit to be held in Pune, India on November 18−19 in collaboration with Red Hat and other open-source internationalization developers.
Site performance and architecture
mw.inspect, a library for inspecting static asset metrics. We configured stable URLs and improved cache headers for font resources, and rolled out a localStorage module caching to test wikis and the beta cluster.
Security auditing and response
integration/jenkins.git:/bin; editing the scripts doesn’t require updating Jenkins jobs. The second slave server has been added to production and is successfully running PHPUnit tests. The packaging of dependencies required to upgrade Zuul has been completed, and Antoine Musso now has a version working in Labs. Finally, we investigated the possibility of running the browser tests whenever a change is submitted in Gerrit; that work is still in progress. Thanks to Carl Fürstenberg‘s work during the Summer, we are now able to build some Debian packages straight into Jenkins using a dedicated instance and the Jenkins Debian glue scripts. The jobs are listed in Jenkins under the Ops-DebGlue view.
Engineering community team
Volunteer coordination and outreach
We also completed development on the Beta Features program, which invites users to try out new features before they are released for everyone. A first version of both products is now ready for testing by logged in users on MediaWiki.org (to try new features, click on the small ‘Beta’ link next to your ‘Preferences’).
We plan to release the Beta Features program in coming days to Wikimedia Commons and Meta-Wiki, then to all wikis worldwide at the end of November. Fabrice Florin managed the development of both projects, and updated our multimedia plans to prepare for roundtable discussions with community members next month.
Bryan Davis started work on improving the thumbnail pipeline and guided the development of an upcoming GLAM Toolset for batch uploads by museum curators. To discuss these features and keep up with our work, we invite you to join the new multimedia mailing list. We are also recruiting for a senior software engineer position on our team.
We analyzed active editor trends to determine whether the September 2013 total active editor data represented an anomalous change from seasonality and the long-term trend, and concluded that this was not the case. The results of this analysis call for the need to apply time series analysis and forecasting methods to other key performance indicators that the Foundation publishes on a daily or monthly basis.
We continued to work with the analytics engineers to provide requirements for Wikimetrics (with a particular focus on UserMetrics feature parity), and to perform data QA and validate the output of the application for metrics that were recently implemented.
We completed a round of consultations with internal stakeholders to identify research needs of each team in the organization and determine their priority. We presented a review of our activities for Q1 and plans for Q2 at the Analytics Quarterly meeting. We identified “metric standardization” as one of the goals the team will focus on in this quarter.
We organized and announced the inaugural Wiki Research Hackathon, a global event hosted in 8 locations in 5 countries, bringing together Wikimedia researchers, academics and community members to work on wiki research projects. The hackathon — the first event organized in the context of the Labs2 initiative — will take place on November 9, 2013.
The Kiwix project is funded and executed by Wikimedia CH.
- We have released a new version (1.4) of Kiwix for Android; besides other improvements, we have introduced a localized user interface. We continue our efforts to speed-up the ZIM throughput; Wikipedia is now available offline in more than 60 languages. The last flash drives from our Deaddrops & Geocaching pilot were sent; we hope to get them walled up before the end of the year. We have also submitted a few proposals about Kiwix for Android for the Google Code-In program.
The Wikidata project is funded and executed by Wikimedia Deutschland.
- At the beginning of the month, Lydia Pintscher took over the product management for Wikidata. In a blog entry, she elaborated her goals for the future. The developers continued their work on the numbers datatype, sorting of statements and simple queries. In addition, a prototype for a multilingual picture dictionary was published, as well as a tool to visualize time and location data from Wikidata and another one to build lists based on data in Wikidata.
- October was also the month to celebrate Wikidata’s first birthday. Enjoy some essays, interviews and more from the community.
- The engineering management team continues to update the Deployments page weekly, providing up-to-date information on the upcoming deployments to Wikimedia sites, as well as the annual goals, listing ongoing and future Wikimedia engineering efforts.
This article was written collaboratively by Wikimedia engineers and managers. See revision history and associated status pages. A wiki version is also available.
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