The report covering Wikimedia engineering activities (including upcoming
events, new hires, and open positions) in March 2013 is now available.
Thanks to Guillaume Paumier and Tilman Bayer and the engineers who
helped me put this together.  I'm sorry for delaying and sending out this
announcement a few days after the blog posting.

Wiki version:
Blog version:

We're also providing a shorter, simpler and translatable version of this
report that does not assume specialized technical knowledge:

For this particular announcement email, I'd like to experiment with
giving you the summary instead of the full report -- please see
below for the HTML text of that summary.  I think that might be a better
fit for this particular audience.  Let me know what you think.

As always, feedback is appreciated about the usefulness of the report
and its summary, and on how to improve them.

Sumana Harihareswara
Engineering Community Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

*This content is prepared for inclusion in the March 2013 Wikimedia
It is a shorter and simpler version of the full (and English-only) Wikimedia
engineering report for March
does not assume specialized technical knowledge.

VisualEditor <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/VisualEditor>

*(Accessible introduction to what the Visual Editor

In March, part of the team worked on infrastructure for the major new
features that they'll be adding in the coming months. We aim for
VisualEditor to be the default way all users edit our sites by July 2013,
so it needs to let everyone edit the majority of content without needing to
use the usual "wikitext" editor. This will mean adding support for
references, (at least) basic templates, categories and images, each of
which is a very large piece of work. This month the team primarily worked
on draft designs and initial code to ensure users can edit categories and

The Visual Editor team undertook its first ever "Quarterly
these designs, the work done to date and expectations for the near
future. The alpha version of VisualEditor on mediawiki.org and the English
Wikipedia was updated twice, adding better input and selection support,
fixing a number of bugs, and restructuring the back-end so that the new
features will be simpler to create.

The Parsoid <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Parsoid> team (who are creating
the parsing program <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsing> that translates
plain wikitext into HTML annotated for easy editing, and *vice-versa*)
continued writing specifications, fixing bugs, and improving how Parsoid
deals with different human languages, newlines and whitespace, and
transclusion. And late in March, C. Scott Ananian joined us as a
contractor. Welcome!
 Editor engagement <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/New_editor_engagement>

In March, the editor engagement features team worked on three projects:
Notifications <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo_%28Notifications%29>,
Feedback <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Article_feedback/Version_5> and
Flow <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Flow>.

For Notifications
called 'Echo'), we developed a range of new features, including:
and 'user 
notifications, as well as HTML email
We also started to collect our first
metrics<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo/Metrics>and prepared a
socialization plan for our upcoming release on the English
Wikipedia later this month. You are welcome to test our work-in-progress here
on MediaWiki.org <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo/Testing>.

For Article Feedback<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Article_feedback/Version_5>,
we deployed a new version of the tool on the and, for evaluation by their
communities. Final features include 'discuss on talk
The tool was temporarily turned off on the English Wikipedia, where we
expect to re-deploy it on an opt-in basis as soon as practical, as
described on this talk

Design work continued on Flow <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Flow>, the
upcoming user-to-user discussion system. We continued creating a 'Portal'
that will engage discussion about Flow at three locations
meta, and the English Wikipedia), and performing

The Editor Engagement
largely placed other projects – such as guided
tours <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Guided_tours>,
and others – on hold to focus on two key initiatives: the "Getting
process for onboarding new
and on making the redesign of account creation and
permanent, internationalized part of MediaWiki core.

For the Getting Started project, the team launched a new version on English
Wikipedia, which included a new landing page with additional types of tasks
suggested for brand new editors to try. The list of tasks is now generated
by a basic recommender
by Ori Livneh, which gathers, filters, and delivered a fresh list of
tasks automatically for every editor. This new backend paves the way for
releasing the "getting started" feature on other projects, after we've
completed data analysis and testing to understand which kinds of tasks are
ideal for first time editors. Additionally, Matt Flaschen collaborated with
the Editor Engagement Features team to build
notifications<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Echo>to welcome new
editors and invite them to contribute via the Getting

For the account creation and login work, S Page, Munaf Assaf, and the rest
of the team rebuilt our design to work with MediaWiki core, and solicited
reviews from outside the team. We currently plan to launch both interface
redesigns on an opt-in basis in April, to have editors test the
localization and other functional aspects of the forms via a URL parameter,
before we enable them as default.
 Mobile <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Mobile_engineering>

We have a stable version of the mobile-optimized website, which everyone on
a smartphone uses by default, and we have a beta version that logged-in
Wikimedia users can opt to use to see features we're still building. When
functionality is polished enough, we promote it from the beta site to the
stable site. In March, we added the ability to easily
articles that lack one in the stable version of the mobile site. We
helped users by giving them a temporary fix to an issue we discovered that
made logging in hard or impossible for some users of newer mobile web
browsers; that problem had prevented a number of users from being able to
upload photos via the mobile site. We are now well on our way to reach our
goal of 1000 unique uploaders/month by the end of June 2013. Check out the
mobile app dashboard <http://mobile-reportcard.wmflabs.org/> to see mobile
contributions via the website and via apps.

Also: we've added thumbnails of lead images from articles in the mobile
watchlist view, as well as a "last modified" timestamp on articles in the
stable version of the mobile site. We are currently focusing on some
performance enhancements for the mobile site. In April we will graduate the
"uploads dashboard" feature from beta to stable, will further refine our
photo upload features, and will let beta site users see and use a feature
to identify articles on subjects near your current location.

The Mobile team that makes dedicated Wikimedia mobile apps have created an
initial version of the Commons photo uploader app for Android; it is
available for download in Google Play. The iOS version is still in beta,
but should be available in the Apple app store next month.

In March, Wikipedia Zero
added new telecom partners (such as Axiata Group
fixed some technical problems, and helped teach new staff how we do things.
We also won an SXSW Interactive "Activism" award for Wikipedia

Max Semenik, Arthur Richards and Faidon Liambotis held an OpenStreetMaps
mini-hackathon at Open Source Days 2013 in
During the event, they agreed on an implementation strategy for a future
WMF mapping cluster. The cluster would serve OSM "tiles" and thus help
integrate OSM functionality better into Wikimedia sites, and help with our
mobile apps which already make use of OSM data.
 Other useful engineering news

   - Lua 
launched on all WMF wikis, making templates faster and making pages
   more flexible. You can read that post to understand what to do on your wiki
   to take advantage of this, and you can also read about the implications
   for Wikimedia's
   - We redesigned the Translate
translation and language-related tools.
   - We have fresh, friendly instructions on reporting a technical
   you to help prioritize problems to
   - Our designers are collaborating with the Noun
creating an "Encyclopedia Collection" of free icons.
   - Our Operations group (the systems administrators who keep our servers
   running) has started a twice-monthly meeting with other engineering teams,
   to keep communication flowing about requirements and possible upcoming
   problems or server needs.
   - The User Metrics API
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User_Metrics>launched; it's a service
that allows researchers to perform cohort
   analysis <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cohort_study> on various data
   sets, making it easier to measure the effects of programs and platform
   experiments among discrete sets of users. The Analytics
   which works on software to make statistics about Wikimedia available, is
   currently working on improving the web-based user interface, to make it
   available for use outside of Wikimedia Foundation staff in the coming
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