The annual Wikimedia Hackathon brings people with different skillsets together to improve the software that powers Wikimedia websites. This edition took place at the Prague National Library of Technology and provided an opportunity for volunteer technologists to meet in person, share ideas, have fun, and work together to improve the software that Wikipedia and its sister projects depend on to ensure free knowledge is available and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Each year the Wikimedia Hackathon takes place in a different location. This year, volunteers with WMCZ—an independent, nonprofit affiliate organization—did the work of planning and hosting a diverse group of attendees, who ranged from long term contributors to Wikimedia projects, to brand new members of the community.
Natalia, WMCZ’s event organizer, describes her experience: “It was both challenging and exciting to work on organizing this technical event. Our ultimate goal was to ensure the best working conditions for participants so they could focus on what they came to Prague for. This would not have been possible if I had not had an amazing team which was well organized, proactive and deeply involved.”
The planning was worth it! For three days, we saw people who are used to collaborating in online spaces working together in a physical one. Attendees shared their knowledge and skills in real time. They discussed and informed each other about ongoing projects. Experienced community members enthusiastically mentored and helped newcomers to get their hands on code.
As Jon describes it, “Everywhere I look, someone is helping somebody solve the latest problem, or sharing a laugh, or furiously coding to wrap up their project so they have something to show.”
It was truly inspiring to observe and participate with others in a real space. Whether people spent their time one-on-one, attended organized sessions on software development, or gathered together in front of their laptops at tables in the hacking area, we know that every collaboration has a real effect, and that we were able to help facilitate that. What happened at the Prague Hackathon will make the life of readers, editors, translators, multimedia creators, open data enthusiasts, and developers easier.
It’s especially inspiring to see new attendees. Nearly half of this year’s were at their first Wikimedia Hackathon!
Gopa, who attended his first Wikimedia Hackathon and works on an online tool which will allow users to cut videos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, shares that “hacking through the code for 3 continue days and developing something productive is a great learning experience.”
More than 300 software projects, trainings, discussion sessions and activities proposed by attendees took place over the three days of the Hackathon, and hundreds of code changes were made to improve the user experience on Wikimedia websites.
On the last day, dozens of achievements were presented by attendees in a showcase session. This includes:
- With help from Chicocvenancio and Zhuyifei1999, Waldyrious made Primerpedia available on Toolforge, Wikimedia’s hosting environment (see image above). Primerpedia offers you an easy way to get short summaries of Wikipedia articles.
- Six Wikimedians joined forces to experiment on a user-friendly way for galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) to share their content to both Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons. Mahuton says that “Joining this project initiated by Lena, and working with others contributors has been of a valuable experience for me.“
- Tonina worked on improving the search function (see screenshot above). She added a new feature which allows you to sort your search results on Wikimedia websites by date edited or date created of a wiki page.
- Florian wrote an extension called PasswordlessLogin. His proof of concept allows you to log into a Wikimedia website with your smartphone without having to enter your password.
The next large gathering of Wikimedians to work on Wikimedia software will take place at Wikimania Stockholm in August 2019.
Andre Klapper, Developer Advocate (Contractor), Technical Engagement
Sarah Rodlund, Technical Writer,
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