Major news in May include:
- changes to the mobile site to better show the editors behind the curtain;
- the announcement of CyrusOne in Dallas as the location of the new Wikimedia data center;
- the Zürich hackathon and Lila Tretikov’s perspective on it;
- experiments by the Growth team to encourage more contributors to register;
- the one-year anniversary of the launch of Tech News;
- the launch of Wikipedia Zero in Nepal in partnership with NCELL;
- the launch of a second request for proposals for the release management of MediaWiki for third-party users.
Note: We’re also providing a shorter, simpler and translatable version of this report that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
- 154 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki.
- The total number of unresolved commits went from around 1305 to about 1440.
- About 15 shell requests were processed.
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.
- VP of Engineering
- Software Engineer -Frontend Developer (VisualEditor)
- Software Engineer – Services
- Software Engineer – Internationalization
- Software Engineer – Frontend
- QA Tester
- Full Stack Developer
- Product Manager – Language Engineering
- Operations Security Engineer
- Filippo Giunchedi joined the Operations team as Operations Engineer (announcement).
- Rob Moen moved from the VisualEditor team to the Growth team (announcement).
- Bernd Sitzmann joined the Mobile App Team as Software Developer (announcement).
- Mukunda Modell joined the new Platform Engineering team as Release Engineer (announcement).
- Alex Monk joined the Features team as a contractor (announcement).
- Abigail Ripstra joined the User Experience team as User Researcher Lead (announcement)
- Rachel diCerbo joined the Wikimedia Foundation as Director of Community Engagement (Product) (announcement).
- Dan Duvall joined the Release and QA team as Automation Engineer (announcement).
New Dallas data center
- Planning for the new Dallas data center has continued in May, and basic data infrastructure components such as racks, PDUs, network equipment and various supplies have been ordered. About 140 servers have been sent from our Tampa data center, to be installed in Dallas. Racking and configuration work in our Dallas data center will commence in June.
- Number of projects: 162
- Number of instances: 392
- Amount of RAM in use (in MBs): 1,618,432
- Amount of allocated storage (in GBs): 17,860
- Number of virtual CPUs in use: 795
- Number of users: 3,259
- Labs has been upgraded to use Puppet version 3; Ubuntu Trusty (14.04) is now available for instances, and Tool Labs now features 787 tools from 508 maintainers.
Editor retention: Editing tools
GSoC 2014 also kicked off in May; we have one student working on a wikilint project to detect broken/bad wikitext in wiki pages.
We also started planning and charting goals for 2014/2015.
Back-end improvements include optimizations on UUID handling and standardized URL generation. We also merged Special:Flow for release; it’s a community-created improvement that makes it easier to create redirects to Flow boards. We also made no-JS fixes for topic submission and replies.
Bug fixes include: Firefox errors, WhatLinksHere fixes, special characters in topic titles, topic creation on empty boards, curr and prev links in board history for topic summaries, and cross-wiki issues with user name lookup.
This month the Growth team launched its A/B test of two methods for asking anonymous editors to sign up on English, German, French, and Italian Wikipedias. Full analysis of the test results is expected in June, though preliminary data strongly suggests a positive impact on new registrations. We finished the mw.cookie module, assisted by Timo Tijhof. Matt and Aaron participated in the Zürich hackathon. Last but not least, Growth released two smaller enhancements to our data collection regarding article creation, including adding page identifiers to MediaWiki core deletion logs and tracking page restorations across all wikis.
Wikipedia Zero (partnerships)
- In May we launched Wikipedia Zero with Ncell in Nepal, Sky Mobile (Beeline) in Kyrgyzstan and Airtel in Nigeria. We also added Opera Mini zero-rating in Umniah in Jordan. We served roughly 67 million free page views in May across 30 partners in 28 countries. Adele Vrana attended the Wikipedia Education Hackathon in Jordan, where she collaborated with community members from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Jordan. While there, she visited Umniah, our local operator partner. Adele also went to Brazil, where she met with prospective partners. We kicked off the carrier portal UX design with Noble studios.
Language Engineering Communications and Outreach
Site performance and architecture
Security auditing and response
In May, the multimedia team released Media Viewer v0.2 on more large wikis (Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian Wikipedias), with over 10 million image views daily. This multimedia browser has been well received: 70% of survey respondents find this tool useful; based on this favorable feedback, we plan to deploy Media Viewer on all wikis in June. Gilles Dubuc, Mark Holmquist, and Gergő Tisza fixed more bugs and features during this development cycle, with design help from Pau Giner.
The team has switched its focus to new projects, starting with the UploadWizard, our main user-facing feature this year: this month, we collected metrics, reviewed user feedback, created new designs, fixed bugs and refactored code as part of a major upgrade of this important contribution tool. We also allocated a third of our time to technical debt and bug fixes for other multimedia tools, with an initial focus on improving image scalers, GWToolset and TimedMediaHandler.
Fabrice Florin managed product development, hosting an annual planning meeting to define our goals for 2014−15: this year, we aim to engage more users to contribute media to our sites through tools like UploadWizard, while implementing structured data on Commons and continuing to address our technical debt and fix critical bugs. Keegan Peterzell and Fabrice also continued to engage our community partners throughout the release of Media Viewer. We are planning new discussions in coming weeks to improve our plans together. For join these conversations and keep up with our work, we invite you to subscribe to the multimedia mailing list.
Engineering Community Team
- Tools for mass migration of legacy translated wiki content
- Wikidata annotation tool
- Email bounce handling to MediaWiki with VERP
- Google Books, Internet Archive, Commons upload cycle
- UniversalLanguageSelector fonts for Chinese wikis
- MassMessage page input list improvements
- Book management in Wikibooks/Wikisource
- Parsoid-based online-detection of broken wikitext
- Usability improvements for the Translate extension
- A modern, scalable and attractive skin for MediaWiki
- Automatic cross-language screenshots for user documentation
- Separating skins from core MediaWiki
- Chemical Markup support for Wikimedia Commons
- Improving URL citations on Wikimedia
- Historical OpenStreetMap
- Welcoming new contributors to Wikimedia Labs and Tool Labs
- Evaluating, documenting, and improving MediaWiki web API client libraries
- Feed the Gnomes – Wikidata Outreach
- Template Matching for RDFIO
- Switching Semantic Forms Autocompletion to Select2
- Catalogue for Mediawiki Extensions
- Generic, efficient localisation update service.
Volunteer coordination and outreach
Architecture and Requests for comment process
- 2014-05-14 — Discussion of Performance guidelines draft
- 2014-05-21 — Discussion of Typesafe enums and Square bounding boxes
- 2014-05-30 — Discussion of Extension registration
- 2014-06-02 — Discussion of Grid system.
The Kiwix project is funded and executed by Wikimedia CH.
- The Hackathon in Zürich was our highlight for May. There, most of the team met, and a few new people joined the development effort during the 3 days in common with the Wikimedia hackathon. Most of the work done focused on preparing the final Kiwix 0.9 release, to be released in June. It was also necessary to release a new minor release (1.2) of libzim. Work on Kiwix for Android continues with the integration of a content/download manager. On the offline content side, 6 ZIM files with all TED talks were also released; it’s the first time we provide files with so much multimedia content. 50 USB flash drives with Kiwix and the Wikipedia for schools were prepared and sent to WikiIndaba; 15 Kiwix-plug are also going to be prepared for Afripedia. Finally, in the scope of the Malebooks project, work to prepare an offline version of the Gutenberg project, with its 45,000 public domain books, has started.
The Wikidata project is funded and executed by Wikimedia Deutschland.
- It has been a busy month for Wikidata. The development team made significant progress on a number of important features. These include simple queries, the mono-lingual text datatype and redirects. We’ve also done a lot of research for the upcoming user interface change and started making mockups for it. Lydia Pintscher held an office hour on IRC and answered a lot of questions. Two interns (Anjali Sharma and Helen Halbert) started working with the team. They will improve the user documentation and social media outreach around Wikidata. Wikidata was also well represented at the MediaWiki hackathon in Zürich. Last but not least, Magnus Manske developed a number of games around Wikidata that help improve the data in it and add more. It’s a resounding success so far.
- 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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