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Darwin

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  • Kirkburn

    Good morning Wikia,

    Today we're bringing you an update on the VisualEditor (VE) - what's happened in the last few months, where we're at now, and where we're going next.

    Over the past few months, our team has been hard at work adding features, fixing bugs, and improving the general feel of the editing experience. A combination of the work at the Wikimedia Foundation and our own work means the VE is now faster, has better media and template tools, a reorganized toolbar, better theming, and much more. We've also updated the editing preferences, allowing users more control over their experience.

    More recently, we have started rolling VE out as the default editor for anonymous users - starting at the smallest wikias, and working our way up. At th…

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  • BertH

    An important part of Project Darwin is feedback from the Wikia user community. December's release of fluid layout brought Darwin's responsive design to everyone, and gave us a chance to hear from even more of you as some communities updated their skins.

    In the new year, we've already made two changes to Theme Designer that make creating a background a bit easier:

    • The maximum file size for background graphics increased from 150KB to 300KB, to allow for better image quality.
    • It’s now possible to use the "no split" option for backgrounds that are 2000px wide (previously available at 2100px). This was done to accommodate many existing background images that were created with a width of 2000px.

    Also check out the new Help page focusing on backgroun…

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  • BertH

    Fluid layout has arrived

    December 5, 2013 by BertH

    The first stage of Project Darwin — fluid layout — has arrived! All of your favorite Wikia communities now have fluid layout enabled.  As we've discussed over the past few months, this update optimizes Wikia's layout for different display sizes. If you're using a larger monitor, you'll be able to see the article space increase in size. On a tablet, you'll get a reading experience tailored to the smaller screen, that keeps the focus on the article content.

    Feedback from the community has helped to make this update a successful one. We received lots of questions and suggestions regarding fluid backgrounds and how certain types of images would be handled. Those discussions helped us develop additional settings in Theme Designer to address thos…

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  • BertH

    For the last few months we've been talking about fluid layout, giving users a chance to try it out, listening to your feedback and fixing bugs. Now it's time to bring this update to everyone! On Wednesday, December 4, fluid layout will be released to all Wikia communities.

    Also included with the release are: Fluid editor preview, Special:CSS and the recently-added updates to Theme Designer. We're very excited to bring these improvements to all Wikia users and wrap up the first stage of Project Darwin.

    You can review the details of these updates on the Darwin Help page, and you can read our suggestions for preparing your community on these forum threads:

    • Preparing your main page for fluid layout
    • Preparing your background for fluid layout
    • Fluid l…
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  • BertH

    The Road to VisualEditor

    October 29, 2013 by BertH

    It's been exciting to see all of the comments and feedback about VisualEditor, and encouraging to hear that so many of you think it will be beneficial for newer users on Wikia communities. Be assured that source editing will remain available to users who prefer it, and we're working hard to make sure that VisualEditor can serve the needs of a wide range of contributors. Today I'd like to highlight some of the challenges and achievements on the road to creating this update to the WYSIWYG editing experience on Wikia. We'll also touch upon the next steps of the beta release that we have coming up.

    Wikia engineers Christian and Inez have been part of a long-term collaboration with the talented folks at the Wikimedia Foundation. Together they de…

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  • BertH

    In the beginning, there was wikitext. Way back at the end of the last century, who might have suspected that this novel markup language would one day be the framework for the amazing array of fan communities that comprise Wikia, or the vast repository of human knowledge that is Wikipedia? As platforms for collaboration grow and evolve, the tools we use to contribute to them have to do the same. For almost two years, Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation have been working together on an editing experience that's elegant, intuitive and most importantly, shows the user what the published page will really look like. Today we're excited to announce the first beta release of the VisualEditor feature on Wikia.


    Making a first edit on a Wikia community s…


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  • BertH

    We're happy to announce the release of the final element of Darwin's "Fluid" stage, Fluid Editor Preview. This tool allows a contributor to see what the published page will look like at the minimum and maximum fluid sizes, as well as his or her own screen size.

    The option is available in the upper left corner of the preview modal, on any community with Fluid Layout enabled. Check it out on the Community Test Wikia. As noted in the Darwin Webinar and on the Forum, we're currently working on bug fixing and evaluating user feedback about Fluid Layout and Special:CSS. So let us know what you think of all aspects of the "Fluid" stage!

    We're looking ahead to determine when Fluid Layout and its related features will get a wider release, and we'll al…

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  • BertH

    Darwin Webinar and Feedback

    September 26, 2013 by BertH

    Project Darwin continues to generate lots of conversation and discussion around Wikia. Thanks to all who have provided feedback thus far, and to all of the communities who've written in and volunteered to be early adopters.

    Last week we conducted a webinar about Darwin, and the recording is available to view for those who were not able to attend.


    As noted in the webinar, we're still hoping for more feedback in a few areas, to inform decision making.

    • How important is the option to have an image visible behind the content area (by using transparency)? The current fluid background treatment places a solid-color gap in the center of the background image, at larger browser sizes.
    • Should the right rail modules move to below the content area, when d…

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  • Susanolivia

    As we began to define Project Darwin and discuss potential changes in site layout, one thing became clear: the ever-growing number of users on tablets demands a tablet experience that lives up to its use. In August 2013, almost 8% of the total traffic on Wikia came from tablet devices. 6 months ago, that number was just slightly over 6% and current trends point to a steady increase in tablet page views over the coming months.  

    Currently (without fluid layout), tablets get what looks like a "zoomed out" version of what you see on desktop computers. This makes an article tiny and hard to read, while links and buttons are small and hard to click. Readers usually need to use multitouch gestures to zoom in on the article content area in order t…

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  • BertH


    Wikia communities are evolving every day: fresh content is added, new fans participate for the first time, and seasoned experts find different ways to share their knowledge. Change and growth is at the heart of Wikia, and the platform for all of this amazing collaboration must also keep evolving. We’ve been listening to your feedback and collecting usage data about what works in our current product, and where we can make improvements to Wikia's look and feel. After taking a hard, honest look at all of this information, it’s time to start bringing those improvements to life with an initiative we’re calling Darwin.

    Darwin will be an ongoing project to improve on a set of goals that are important to all of us: optimizing the user experience no …


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