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User blog:Sarah Manley/Introducing the Layout Builder -- Open call for community testers


Introducing the Layout Builder -- Open call for community testers

If you are a wiki founder or admin, you may know the pain of creating a consistent look across your wiki pages. At times you may have thought, “I just wish it was easier to make all of the character pages look the same!” or “I have a great new section I want on all episode pages, but adding it manually to each is going to be so annoying.”

To help solve these problems, we are working on a first version of a tool called Layout Builder.

Sample page for character layout

Sample layout a user would see when creating a new character page

The Layout Builder is a tool for administrators that allows you to create page layouts for specific types of pages. For example, let’s say you create a new character layout. Your community members can now create a new character type page instead of a blank one. They just fill in the character name, bio, or whatever else you’ve defined and *boom* -- a new character page formatted according to your layout. Even better, if you decide to switch around your layout later, every page based on that layout will automatically switch around too.

In order to create the best tool possible, we’re going to open the layout builder to testing by the community. This is a great way to provide early feedback and direction to this feature, which you may see on your wiki in the future. You can see the tool in action on our layout builder wiki at Special:Layoutbuilder.

We are very interested in admins testing the layout builder on their wikis, so we (and you) can see the tool in a real situation. If you are interested in participating in testing it on your wiki, please leave a comment below with a link to your wiki. You must be an admin on your wiki to request the feature and we highly recommend discussing this with other admins first. If you are not an admin, you can still test it on the layout builder wiki or read further on this help page. Enabling it will not affect existing pages, and it can be disabled at any time.

Layout Builder is brand new and still under development, so it will likely have some bugs. Please report any you find, and add your feedback in the comments below. We’ll be closely monitoring and responding the comments. We are also interested in general feedback as to whether you think this tool would benefit your wiki and community.

We would like to give all of the layout builder testers a big thanks in advance for your help and please remember, this is just the first version of a brand new product!

Update: Due to the huge response from the community, we now have a ton of layout builder testers. To ensure we can properly assess all of your feedback, we are going to close the testing to new participants on Friday January 14, 2011 at 10am PDT. Thanks!

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