MediaWiki at FOSDEM

I’ll be speaking at FOSDEM in Brussels in February… be a good chance to meet up with many of our European volunteer devs. (Hi guys!) Come out and have a beer with us, or other coding beverage of your choice!

I’ll also be bringing along Tomasz Finc, one of our staff devs here in San Francisco. Tom did a lot of the technical work on our fundraiser campaign, and is now going to start poking at patching up our monitoring and testing infrastructure so we can smooth out the development process.

Here’s the abstract for my talk:

MediaWiki was born in 2002, when Wikipedia’s editing activity outgrew the concurrency limits of its original wiki engine. The first 6 years of this open-source wiki platform’s development were largely devoted to scaling and performance, ensuring that the world’s most editable online encyclopedia could keep up with the number of articles, visitors, and changes that come with being an insanely popular user-written site. But the user interface hasn’t changed much since 2003; if anything, packing in more features has made many aspects of the wiki harder to use over time.

In 2009, MediaWiki developers are turning their eye towards usability and design issues. As with the scaling problems we’ve tackled before, we have to be able to target anything from a tiny personal or intranet wiki to the massive Wikipedia sites, making a range of different use cases with different needs… It’ll be fun!

I’ll be going over some of the particular UI and workflow issues in editing, media uploading, and other areas that we intend to tackle, summarize some of the existing work toward those ends, and give a preview our upcoming Wikipedia Usability Initiative.

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