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Technical Update: July 31, 2012

Sactage July 31, 2012 User blog:Sactage

We're back with weekly technical updates. Sorry for the early summer holiday, but as many of you know we have been working hard on a project to update all our wikis to MediaWiki 1.19, which has meant that other changes have not been happening as frequently. Now that most of the upgrade work is complete and we're focusing on fixing related bugs, we're ready to bring back our weekly Technical Updates.

Keep in mind that our system updates happen every Wednesday, so we’re posting this on a Tuesday to give you advance notice. Also note that we change hundreds of tiny details every week, so these are just the highlights.

MediaWiki 1.19 update

We started migrating wikis to 1.19 towards the end of June, and here we are at the end of July with around 12,000 individual wikis now on MediaWiki 1.19. The update script, now up to full speed as the biggest issues have been resolved, will continue to operate until all of Wikia's wikis (more than 200,000) are on the 1.19 platform.

As many tech-savvy users have noticed, upgrading from MediaWiki 1.16.5 to MediaWiki 1.19 has been a bit bumpy. While any upgrade is bound to lead to a few bugs, ResourceLoader (introduced in MediaWiki 1.17), the introduction of HTML5 (1.18), and a number of renamed functions made this upgrade especially difficult. As if it couldn't get any more fun, MediaWiki 1.19.1 was released due to a security bug, so we had to apply that patch as well.

All told, our engineers have fixed over 500 bugs affecting performance, functionality, and design. Our entire engineering team is pulling together right now to annihilate the remaining 1.19 bugs.

We will list some of the major known 1.19 bugs below. As always, please make sure bugs are reported properly to Wikia Staff, which usually means filing a quick report at Special:Contact

New Features

  • Last week we announced we're working on a new version of our Forums, and we have set up an early demo version. Please use that demo forum for any specific feedback or comments about the new forums -- which will of course give you the chance to check out how it works!
RCFilter

A screenshot of the new Recent Changes filter.

  • We have added the ability for you to choose which namespaces you would like to see in recent changes. You can pick your favorite namespaces or select all of them, via a drop menu at the top of the Recent Changes page. This preference will be remembered, and applied to all wikis you visit.
  • Video thumbnails wider than 230 pixels will now have the video title and duration overlaid on the image, in addition to the play icon.

Major Bugs Fixed

  • In MediaWiki 1.18, MediaWiki introduced a new article count method. Because of this, page counts on 1.19-migrated wikis suddenly dropped. We have tweaked the configuration of the article count method and page numbers should be back to where they were previous to the upgrade.
  • The rich text editor was adding the align in table generation, which was a removed attribute in HTML5 and thus in MediaWiki 1.19. After a few weeks of tweaking the editor's methods, we have come up with a complete solution to this issue. Please remember if you are coding tables by hand to use the float attribute of CSS. See here for more details.
  • Custom badge images for achievements were not being properly saved and thus displayed.
  • Users who have selected "Wiki Activity" as their landing page in Special:Preferences are landing on the wiki home page regardless.

Other Notable Changes

  • Our Design team has improved the spacing and edging for the right rail.
  • The Recent Photos module is seeing some changes. Previously videos counted toward the "number of photos on this wiki" number and the number was not always live due to caching. The module will now display the exact number of photos/images only on the wiki at the moment viewed.

Select Known Issues

  • For MediaWiki 1.19 wikis, the Visual Editor link creator is ignoring highlighted words in the editing window.
  • Another major 1.19 bug currently being worked on is that the Wikitable class is applying dark text on dark wikis, making the table unreadable. Expected behaviour is that lighter text should appear on dark wikis.
  • "Undo" links are not appearing on Special:RecentChanges and History pages, in some cases, for 1.19 wikis.
  • Remove and Delete links for the message wall are not working in Monobook.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave them below. And if you have additional bugs to report, please send them to us via Special:Contact.

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