Forum:Summer 2015 Product Discussion
Now that we're well into the second quarter of 2015, it's a good time to look back and see what we've achieved, as well as plan the future.
- Code quality — improving the codebase is a never-ending task, given that MediaWiki is a constantly evolving platform. As such, it's important to keep the codebase up-to-date and ensure that all extensions use the correct functions and conform to modern coding standards. This also helps with the MediaWiki upgrades, which we do once a new stable version is out (more about that later on).
- Bug fixing — while we try to be as careful as possible when committing code, mistakes do happen because to err is human, and as such, user-submitted bug reports are tremendously important to us! We've fixed all sorts of issues, ranging from simple coloring errors (white text against white background is bad!) to bigger, architectural issues.
- Open source work — ShoutWiki's dedication to open source is unlike that of any other instance using MediaWiki (excluding the Wikimedia Foundation, which is a primary contributor to the MediaWiki codebase). We publish almost all of our extensions and skins under a free and open source license, and in addition to that we contribute to the core MediaWiki codebase as well as the codebases of several extensions used on ShoutWiki and various other MediaWiki-based sites.
The GlobalUserPage extension, which allows users to use a single user page on all wikis belonging to a wiki farm, is nowadays even used on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites, but it originated on ShoutWiki. We also collaborate with non-ShoutWiki MediaWiki users, such as Uncyclopedia and Brickimedia. Collaboration with these instances has resulted in various bug fixes to the social tools as well as some other extensions (LinkSuggest, WikiArticleFeeds), some of which are not even used on ShoutWiki.
So what's there to improve, then?
- Mobile support — smartphones and tablets are more and more common these days, and we're painfully aware of the fact that our support for these devices isn't there yet.
- Skins! MediaWiki skins are one of ShoutWiki's specialities, and we're very proud of that. Whereas other sites limit the amount of available skins — often forcing you to use the single available, default skin — ShoutWiki doesn't do that. We offer a wide variety of skins and we design our features to be skin-agnostic, so no matter what skin you prefer, everything should work just as you'd expect! (But if you notice that that's not the case, let us know and we'll fix it!)
- Better discussion tools. Communication is vital when it comes to wikis, because the supermajority of wikis are collaborative projects, and as such, we want you to have the best tools available to facilitate discussion between editors and visitors alike. The forums here as well as on many other ShoutWiki sites use the DPLforum extension, which isn't very forum-like, despite the name. DPLforum is mostly just a bunch of ordinary templates and normal wiki pages. It's annoying to have to sign your comments on forum pages with four tildes (
~~~~), since it's something the software should be able to handle automatically for you. We will investigate into improving the forum experience and making it easier to contact other editors.
- Improved bug tracking. As traditional as Bugzilla is, it has its shortcomings. One of these is the fact that Bugzilla, unlike the rest of ShoutWiki, requires a separate registration, and thus it likely discourages users from reporting bugs. We want to encourage users to report any and all software bugs they see, and it's become obvious that Bugzilla might not be the best tool for that.
- Putting back the "media" in "MediaWiki". Videos are nice and they can definitely add a lot to a wiki page, but unfortunately using them isn't as easy as it could be. We want to improve the video experience with a new video tool, which treats videos similarly to other uploaded files (although technically speaking no video files are actually uploaded).
- What else? The list above is hardly exhaustive in terms of what should be done. It details some of the things we'll definitely be looking into, but we're always looking for suggestions on what we can improve on. Please be bold and edit this page to let us know what you think ShoutWiki should focus on!
I agree that you need a mobile skin.
As for the skins, you should probably take advantage of Wikia's nth skin change and upload Oasis onto your servers (as much as I personally hate the skin). Rock-O-Jello (talk) 22:21, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
I just noticed this forum. I saw the link to it only today at the bottom of the long sidebar on my wiki. I suggest adding some icon down there that says **NEW** with some bright shiny color behind it. I appreciate all the bug fixing and open source work you and others do. I sometimes figure out something, and post some how-to info on the help pages at Wikipedia, Commons, Mediawiki.org, etc.. --Timeshifter (talk) 18:54, 20 June 2015 (UTC)