On Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 6:43 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 2:15 PM, Magnus Manske
> <magnusman...@googlemail.com>wrote:
>> Well, you asked for volunteers... ;-)
>> I started a tool that would let you change the CSS easily. Edit your
>> common.js user page and add (pardon the "Leif Ericsson" pun...) :
>> importScript('MediaWiki:Live EriCSSon.js');
>> Once that is done, you can use a URL parameter to use any Wikipedia
>> page with a CSS stylesheet.
>> I also created a demo stylesheet called "explosion" (as in "exploded
>> view"), which, when used on top of vector on a wide (>1600px) screen,
>> uses a 900px central text column, with "floating" infoboxes,
>> thumbnails, and TOC on the side. With "Live EriCSSon", you can
>> test-drive the stylesheet, like so:
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology?useCSS=User:Magnus_Manske/explosion.css
>> And this is what it will look like:
>> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CSS_Stylesheet_explosion_demo_Biology.png
>> All links to other wiki pages will automatically be extended with the
>> URL parameter, so you can browse Wikipedia with the stylesheet without
>> having to re-enter it on every page. Note that the original (vector)
>> stylesheet will initially show briefly on every page :-(
>> If this is something people think useful, I'll add a way to select
>> from pre-defined stylesheet catalogs etc.
>> Cheers,
>> Magnus
> Thanks Magnus, that looks really great. This is exactly the sort of
> alternative page design I was thinking of, and that we should enable people
> to select, especially if they have a large screen -- where the lines of
> text can end up excessively long, pictures become all bunched up, and the
> text flow gets messed up.
> Of course, ideally users shouldn't have to manually edit a .js file to
> obtain this result. They should just have to click a button somewhere that
> will do it for them. Editing .js files is clunky. It's like being back in
> DOS days. A programmer may take something like that in his stride, but most
> people in Wikimedia's target group will baulk at being asked to do
> something like that, and resent it.

If people generate some more CSS files to use with my little tool, it
could be loaded by default. Might need some polishing, though.

There's now a link in the toolbox where you can specify the CSS page
you want in a dialog box; you can even make it "permanent" (no need
for the URL parameter anymore).

> In fact, I had to laugh the other day, when I read a Wikimedia demographic
> survey. It literally said, "two-thirds of Wikipedia editors are not
> programmers". What an odd way of phrasing that!
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File%3AEditor_Survey_Report_-_April_2011.pdf&page=19
> Surely, the interesting fact here that most people would have reported is
> the converse, i.e. that one-third of Wikipedia editors *are* programmers.
> That's far more than in the general population, and a huge demographic
> bias. In fact, the page says that "only" 36% can be classified as techies,
> and that 39% of male editors can program and create their own applications
> (vs. 18% of female editors).
> We need to be a lot friendlier to the non-programming public.

I believe we can do a lot in pure CSS/JavaScript, today, not 2015.
Backend support will, of course, always trump JS hacks in the long
run, though.

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