SVN update on Wikimedia sites, questions on branching

I’ve got MediaWiki on the live Wikimedia sites all up to date at r43514 now.

We’d been updating some extensions individually over the last couple weeks, but full updates were held back as general code review got a little behind during the lead-up to the fundraiser and our staff meeting last week… I’m hoping to get us on a regular weekly update schedule, probably Tuesdays since my experience is that Mondays end up totally unproductive. :)

I did have to pull back the Special:Search redesign for the moment; it’s looking *awesome* but has a few glitches still, which I’m hoping we can resolve before putting it live.

See my comments on issues I noticed in the revert.

I’m thinking we should start making more active use of branches for experimental/iterative development like this, where existing features in core are majorly refactored and need some iterations of testing before going live.

We try to keep our trunk code ready-to-run at all times, so when something in trunk is not quite ready yet we end up rolling it back (which requires tracking down multiple changes and reverting all of them) or else rushing fixes so we can get an update pushed out.

The SVN server was updated to 1.5 a while ago, which is apparently a little handier at branch merging, but branching still is kind of awkward in SVN. Any good recommendations on SVN-friendly DVCSs? I know some folks use SVK or a GIT-SVN bridge for doing various local development, but how easy is it to share a development branch among multiple developers over time this way?

4 thoughts on “SVN update on Wikimedia sites, questions on branching”

  1. I was pretty rough on the WikiMedia search functionality, but that’s because I’m involved in a content wiki and I can’t find anything — so frustrating. So in the wiki spirit, I would very much like to help with whatever changes you make in search, Special:Search or otherwise.


  2. Avi, thanks for the feedback on the search. We know that in particular the MySQL backend has some pretty crappy default limitations, and we always appreciate help in fixing those up. Some of those limitations may be difficult to transcend (eg the ranking algorithm), others can be hacked around (crappy stopwords and default word length minimum in MySQL).

  3. Avi, also note that two of your complaints are incorrect, or refer to older versions of MediaWiki:

    “can’t exclude terms from search results” — use of “-” in front of a term to exclude it works fine for this.

    “No truncation or wildcards” — use of “*” as suffix of term is available for wildcard searches.

    These both work in at least 1.12 and later. (Current stable release in 1.13)

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