a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

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a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

William Le Ferrand-2
Dear all,

I've started to develop a simple wysiwyg editor that could be useful to
wikipedia. Basically the editor gets the wiki code from wikipedai and builds
the html on client side. Then you can edit the html code as you can imagine
and when you are done another script converts the html back to wiki code.

There is a simple demo here :
http://www.corefarm.com:8080/wysiwyg?article=Open_innovation . You can try
other pages from http://www.corefarm.com:8080/  (type the article name).
It's far from being really usable now but do you think that such a tool
would be useful ? The global structure is ok, most of the buttons are
working (even if there are no special images to figure out what they
actually do); it's just a matter of filling the gaps and support all the
wikipedia syntax.

You comments are welcomed!

All the best,

William
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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

David Gerard-2
On 31 May 2010 22:53, William Le Ferrand <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've started to develop a simple wysiwyg editor that could be useful to
> wikipedia. Basically the editor gets the wiki code from wikipedai and builds
> the html on client side. Then you can edit the html code as you can imagine
> and when you are done another script converts the html back to wiki code.
>There is a simple demo here :
>http://www.corefarm.com:8080/wysiwyg?article=Open_innovation . You can try
>other pages from http://www.corefarm.com:8080/  (type the article name).
> You comments are welcomed!


What you're working on is a *hard* problem a lot of people have
attempted, with varying success. There's been some discussion of this
of late on mediawiki-l.

The default editor on new wikia.com wikis is WYSIWYG-only. This works
tolerably well (a bit buggy, but actively worked on).

The common WYSIWYG solution for MediaWiki is FCKeditor, which works
*almost* pretty well but:
(a) falls down badly when you try to mix WYSIWYG editing with wikitext
editing and chews up the wikitext
(b) doesn't cope very well with the weirdest stuff done on English
Wikipedia, where wikitext is tortured horribly to squeeze out every
possible emergent side-effect for editor's use
(c) is not actually being worked on at the moment. (Though one
mediawiki-l contributor says he's been using it to good effect on his
work intranet and is seeking permission to release back his changes
under GPL.)

http://mediawiki.fckeditor.net/
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:FCKeditor_%28Official%29

FCK+MediaWiki discussion recently:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/mediawiki-l/2010-May/thread.html#33896
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/mediawiki-l/2010-May/thread.html#34061

You may care to have a look at FCKeditor+MediaWiki and see if you've
just reinvented the wheel and can help get that up to scratch. Or,
alternately, if your approach is different enough and better enough to
pursue nevertheless ;-)


- d.

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Aryeh Gregor
In reply to this post by William Le Ferrand-2
On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 5:53 PM, William Le Ferrand
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've started to develop a simple wysiwyg editor that could be useful to
> wikipedia. Basically the editor gets the wiki code from wikipedai and builds
> the html on client side. Then you can edit the html code as you can imagine
> and when you are done another script converts the html back to wiki code.

Wiki syntax is too complicated for this to be feasible.  It also
doesn't have a one-to-one mapping to HTML.  It's been tried before,
but what you end up with is that it doesn't round-trip: if you open in
the WYSIWYG editor and save with no changes, it saves totally
different wikicode, confusing anyone who's using actual wikitext.  The
only feasible solutions are to either drastically simplify wikitext,
or switch to WYSIWYG only, and those would both be very disruptive.

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

David Gerard-2
On 31 May 2010 23:31, Aryeh Gregor <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Wiki syntax is too complicated for this to be feasible.  It also
> doesn't have a one-to-one mapping to HTML.  It's been tried before,
> but what you end up with is that it doesn't round-trip: if you open in
> the WYSIWYG editor and save with no changes, it saves totally
> different wikicode, confusing anyone who's using actual wikitext.  The
> only feasible solutions are to either drastically simplify wikitext,
> or switch to WYSIWYG only, and those would both be very disruptive.


... and the problem with the wikitext being mangled is that diffs show
a 100% text change for any alteration whatsoever and become useless.
Even if the content isn't semantically mangled.

FCK+MW is so *almost* there it's frustrating how close it seems. But
then, this is a problem where the last 5% of the list is the last 95%
of the work.

(Will *this* be what tempts me to take up coding? Be afraid ... I have
the algorithmic insight of a sysadmin and only know about force and
brute force ...)


- d.

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Angela-5
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> The default editor on new wikia.com wikis is WYSIWYG-only. This works
> tolerably well (a bit buggy, but actively worked on).

It's not WYSIWYG only. You can switch between that and regular
wikitext whilst you're on the edit page using the "source" button, or
you can select which you want to use in your preferences. A new
version was released a couple of weeks ago, so many of the older bugs
are now resolved. There are some new ones of course, but it's
improving all the time. :)

Angela

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

David Gerard-2
On 31 May 2010 23:50, Angela <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> The default editor on new wikia.com wikis is WYSIWYG-only. This works
>> tolerably well (a bit buggy, but actively worked on).

> It's not WYSIWYG only. You can switch between that and regular
> wikitext whilst you're on the edit page using the "source" button, or
> you can select which you want to use in your preferences. A new
> version was released a couple of weeks ago, so many of the older bugs
> are now resolved. There are some new ones of course, but it's
> improving all the time. :)


:-D

How installable and workable is this on, say, any random work intranet
with a fairly generic MW 1.16 installation? I may give it a go at work
...

[cc to mediawiki-l]


- d.

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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Angela-5
On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 8:55 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> How installable and workable is this on, say, any random work intranet
> with a fairly generic MW 1.16 installation? I may give it a go at work

As far as I know, the problem right now is that Wikia's rich text
editor requires core changes, rather than simply being an extension
you can install. The code is all available at
https://svn.wikia-code.com/ but it still needs to be packaged up to
make it easier for third-party use.

> ... and the problem with the wikitext being mangled is that diffs show
> a 100% text change for any alteration

Luckily this is now a rare bug, and not the norm. Work is ongoing to
resolve the remaining causes of this. The aim is for diffs to work in
exactly the same way as they do with wikitext-only.

Angela

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Conrad Irwin-3
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 31 May 2010 23:37, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 31 May 2010 23:31, Aryeh Gregor <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Wiki syntax is too complicated for this to be feasible.  It also
>> doesn't have a one-to-one mapping to HTML.  It's been tried before,
>> but what you end up with is that it doesn't round-trip: if you open in
>> the WYSIWYG editor and save with no changes, it saves totally
>> different wikicode, confusing anyone who's using actual wikitext.  The
>> only feasible solutions are to either drastically simplify wikitext,
>> or switch to WYSIWYG only, and those would both be very disruptive.
>

The other solution is to use a proper MVC framework, and define
everything in terms of modifications to the wikitext (and you can then
constrain what those modifications are to avoid mangling) and run that
through a parser to generate the html preview. Alternatively, if your
wikitext modifications are constrained enough, it is possible to
implement modifications as a pair of functions, one of which edits the
wikitext and the other edits the HTML (this is the method used by
English Wiktionary for the translation adding interface - and makes
undo/redo really easy). Building such a thing is time-consuming -
particularly if you have to ensure that the wikitext modification and
the HTML modification are the same - as there's  a pretty large number
of things people would like to do with wikitext. That said, it's
pretty possible to use a wysiwyg for editing the contents of a
paragraph, so you could have one action for "change the content of" in
addition to actions for inserting/deleting and moving things around
(in a perfect world, a wysiwyg would trigger constrained actions based
on user-interaction - that is the "hard" part of this - the rest is
just complicated). As there's already a javascript thing for general
template arguments modifications (based on xml somehow), so this would
be extendable to work with templates too.

Conrad

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Jacopo Corbetta-2
In reply to this post by Aryeh Gregor
On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 00:31, Aryeh Gregor
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wiki syntax is too complicated for this to be feasible.  It also
> doesn't have a one-to-one mapping to HTML.  It's been tried before,
> but what you end up with is that it doesn't round-trip: if you open in
> the WYSIWYG editor and save with no changes, it saves totally
> different wikicode, confusing anyone who's using actual wikitext.  The
> only feasible solutions are to either drastically simplify wikitext,
> or switch to WYSIWYG only, and those would both be very disruptive.

Another solution would be to identify a "simple" subset of wikitext
for which the mapping to XHTML is one-to-one and refuse to work on
anything else (i.e. revert to the standard editor). The rationale here
is that a visual editor would (probably) be aimed at new editors, and
they should probably avoid complicated syntax anyways. That's the
approach we took on MeanEditor
<http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:MeanEditor>.

In our experience, the biggest obstacle is to get the different
browsers to reliably make the same changes to HTML. The editor
interface is non-standard, and browsers sometimes disagree on encoding
rules, escaping, choice of tags, etc.

Anyways, there is a survey of existing approaches at
<http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/WYSIWYG_editor>. This might be useful
to new editor developers, and if you find a cool idea it would be nice
to contribute to the page. The usability project also did a survey
last year: <http://usability.wikimedia.org/wiki/Environment_Survey/MediaWiki_Extensions/Results>.
In the end, I think the FCKeditor developers did an amazing work, but
I am still convinced that a simple (and hopefully reliable) HTML-based
solution would have a purpose. Also, it's nice to be able to compare
different designs.
Bye,
-- Jacopo

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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Danese Cooper-3
In reply to this post by Angela-5
Just noting that we at WMF have been talking to Wikia about taking a
look at their code to see if it can be made useful for WMF properties.
Expect to hear more about Rich Text Editing soonish.

Danese

On 5/31/10 4:00 PM, Angela wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 8:55 AM, David Gerard<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>    
>> How installable and workable is this on, say, any random work intranet
>> with a fairly generic MW 1.16 installation? I may give it a go at work
>>      
> As far as I know, the problem right now is that Wikia's rich text
> editor requires core changes, rather than simply being an extension
> you can install. The code is all available at
> https://svn.wikia-code.com/ but it still needs to be packaged up to
> make it easier for third-party use.
>
>    
>> ... and the problem with the wikitext being mangled is that diffs show
>> a 100% text change for any alteration
>>      
> Luckily this is now a rare bug, and not the norm. Work is ongoing to
> resolve the remaining causes of this. The aim is for diffs to work in
> exactly the same way as they do with wikitext-only.
>
> Angela
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>    


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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Dmitriy Sintsov
Hi!
Another approach is to reduce the complexity of wikitext editing by
using syntax highlighting and javascript dialogs. There is wikEd editor
which is being developed with such approach in mind:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cacycle/wikEd
I does diffs, too.
Dmitriy

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Marco Schuster-2
In reply to this post by Jacopo Corbetta-2
On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 4:09 AM, Jacopo Corbetta
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> In our experience, the biggest obstacle is to get the different
> browsers to reliably make the same changes to HTML. The editor
> interface is non-standard, and browsers sometimes disagree on encoding
> rules, escaping, choice of tags, etc.
We could do the really hard way, like Google did with Google Docs
(http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/05/whats-different-about-new-google-docs.html):
make *everything* via JS by capturing keystrokes and mouse movements.
This way a consistent and reproducible user experience on all
platforms can be achieved. And by doing it all in JS, the editor could
also generate a wikitext-delta right away and doesn't need to transfer
the whole page's wikitext.

Marco

--
VMSoft GbR
Nabburger Str. 15
81737 München
Geschäftsführer: Marco Schuster, Volker Hemmert
http://vmsoft-gbr.de

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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Danese Cooper-3
On 1 June 2010 07:03, Danese Cooper <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Just noting that we at WMF have been talking to Wikia about taking a
> look at their code to see if it can be made useful for WMF properties.
> Expect to hear more about Rich Text Editing soonish.


:-D :-D

Weeks, months?


- d.

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Tei-2
In reply to this post by William Le Ferrand-2
On 31 May 2010 23:53, William Le Ferrand <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Dear all,
>
> I've started to develop a simple wysiwyg editor that could be useful to
> wikipedia. Basically the editor gets the wiki code from wikipedai and builds
> the html on client side. Then you can edit the html code as you can imagine
> and when you are done another script converts the html back to wiki code.
>
> There is a simple demo here :
> http://www.corefarm.com:8080/wysiwyg?article=Open_innovation .

This is a nice approach,  It will be really helpfull for no-geek
people, and theres millions (literally) of no geek people you may want
to be able to edit a MediaWiki based wiki.

"Beyond this place, there be dragons!"

I like your implementation, because feel almost fullscreen. Too bad
theres two scrollbars. Are these two scrollbars needed? Maybe the
whole "page" can scroll, and the toolbar be stuck on the top of the
screen.
I suppose your implementation still pretends is a textarea, because
that way the toolbar is always visible. But this is not needed if
theres some CSS magic that can make the toolbar visible.. floating.

You can even have different toolbar in different regions, like a
"Close / Save " toolbar on the North-Right that only show if the mouse
is near that location.

--
--
ℱin del ℳensaje.

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Roan Kattouw-2
In reply to this post by Conrad Irwin-3
2010/6/1 Conrad Irwin <[hidden email]>:

> The other solution is to use a proper MVC framework, and define
> everything in terms of modifications to the wikitext (and you can then
> constrain what those modifications are to avoid mangling) and run that
> through a parser to generate the html preview. Alternatively, if your
> wikitext modifications are constrained enough, it is possible to
> implement modifications as a pair of functions, one of which edits the
> wikitext and the other edits the HTML (this is the method used by
> English Wiktionary for the translation adding interface - and makes
> undo/redo really easy). Building such a thing is time-consuming -
> particularly if you have to ensure that the wikitext modification and
> the HTML modification are the same - as there's  a pretty large number
> of things people would like to do with wikitext. That said, it's
> pretty possible to use a wysiwyg for editing the contents of a
> paragraph, so you could have one action for "change the content of" in
> addition to actions for inserting/deleting and moving things around
> (in a perfect world, a wysiwyg would trigger constrained actions based
> on user-interaction - that is the "hard" part of this - the rest is
> just complicated). As there's already a javascript thing for general
> template arguments modifications (based on xml somehow), so this would
> be extendable to work with templates too.
>
This is quite close to the approach we usability devs were throwing
around some time ago: constantly work with the wikitext version of the
article to avoid problems inherent in round-tripping between wikitext
and HTML. Recently, however, Trevor's been playing around with a
different concept called block-level editing; I'll leave it to him to
elaborate on that.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Trevor Parscal-2
On 6/1/10 8:24 AM, Roan Kattouw wrote:

> 2010/6/1 Conrad Irwin<[hidden email]>:
>    
>> The other solution is to use a proper MVC framework, and define
>> everything in terms of modifications to the wikitext (and you can then
>> constrain what those modifications are to avoid mangling) and run that
>> through a parser to generate the html preview. Alternatively, if your
>> wikitext modifications are constrained enough, it is possible to
>> implement modifications as a pair of functions, one of which edits the
>> wikitext and the other edits the HTML (this is the method used by
>> English Wiktionary for the translation adding interface - and makes
>> undo/redo really easy). Building such a thing is time-consuming -
>> particularly if you have to ensure that the wikitext modification and
>> the HTML modification are the same - as there's  a pretty large number
>> of things people would like to do with wikitext. That said, it's
>> pretty possible to use a wysiwyg for editing the contents of a
>> paragraph, so you could have one action for "change the content of" in
>> addition to actions for inserting/deleting and moving things around
>> (in a perfect world, a wysiwyg would trigger constrained actions based
>> on user-interaction - that is the "hard" part of this - the rest is
>> just complicated). As there's already a javascript thing for general
>> template arguments modifications (based on xml somehow), so this would
>> be extendable to work with templates too.
>>
>>      
> This is quite close to the approach we usability devs were throwing
> around some time ago: constantly work with the wikitext version of the
> article to avoid problems inherent in round-tripping between wikitext
> and HTML. Recently, however, Trevor's been playing around with a
> different concept called block-level editing; I'll leave it to him to
> elaborate on that.
>
> Roan Kattouw (Catrope)
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>    
First off, I try not to get involved in these threads because they are
almost always the same circle of "Why not?" -> "Because!" and "What if?"
-> "No!", etc.

In Berlin I gave a quick demo in the UX working group of a new parser
I've been writing that understands the structure and meaning of
Wikitext, rather than just converting it on the fly into HTML like the
current parser (actually a hybrid parser/renderer) does. To be fair, the
current pre-processor does properly parse things into a node-tree, but
only for a small subset of the language, namely templates. My
alternative approach parses the entire wikitext document into a
node-tree, which can then be rendered into HTML (or any format for that
matter) or back to wikitext. By having a unified data-structure for an
entire article, we can do all sorts of things that were never before
possible.

What we need is to be looking at building a first-class wikitext-editor,
rather than adapting a buggy HTML editing system (ContentEditable).
Wikitext deserves an editor that thinks in wikitext. Wikitext is a round
peg, and ContentEditable is a square hole. It doesn't matter how much
you try and force it in, it will never fit properly. Google has come to
this conclusion after years of struggling with buggy browsers and poorly
designed APIs. I would prefer not to go down a long road of hardship and
struggles just to come out with a similar conclusion.

- Trevor

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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Happy-melon
In reply to this post by Danese Cooper-3

"Danese Cooper" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
> Just noting that we at WMF have been talking to Wikia about taking a
> look at their code to see if it can be made useful for WMF properties.
> Expect to hear more about Rich Text Editing soonish.
>
> Danese

What are we expecting to hear from them?  The code is open source and
available in a SVN repo; the only challenge is working out exactly how it
differs from MW trunk and why.  I can see how some information (like which
revision it was branched from) could be more easily obtained from asking
rather than playing with svn merge, but are they likely to commit real
man-hours into making these features trunk-friendly?

--HM



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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

K. Peachey
In reply to this post by Marco Schuster-2
On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 11:22 PM, Marco Schuster
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 4:09 AM, Jacopo Corbetta
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> In our experience, the biggest obstacle is to get the different
>> browsers to reliably make the same changes to HTML. The editor
>> interface is non-standard, and browsers sometimes disagree on encoding
>> rules, escaping, choice of tags, etc.
> We could do the really hard way, like Google did with Google Docs
> (http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/05/whats-different-about-new-google-docs.html):
> make *everything* via JS by capturing keystrokes and mouse movements.
> This way a consistent and reproducible user experience on all
> platforms can be achieved. And by doing it all in JS, the editor could
> also generate a wikitext-delta right away and doesn't need to transfer
> the whole page's wikitext.
>
> Marco
Google Doc's interface acts like sh*t unless your on a super dooper
decent computer and gives negative views on the usability of a
service.
-Peachey

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Re: a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Marco Schuster-2
On Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 1:42 AM, K. Peachey <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 11:22 PM, Marco Schuster
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 4:09 AM, Jacopo Corbetta
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> In our experience, the biggest obstacle is to get the different
>>> browsers to reliably make the same changes to HTML. The editor
>>> interface is non-standard, and browsers sometimes disagree on encoding
>>> rules, escaping, choice of tags, etc.
>> We could do the really hard way, like Google did with Google Docs
>> (http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/05/whats-different-about-new-google-docs.html):
>> make *everything* via JS by capturing keystrokes and mouse movements.
>> This way a consistent and reproducible user experience on all
>> platforms can be achieved. And by doing it all in JS, the editor could
>> also generate a wikitext-delta right away and doesn't need to transfer
>> the whole page's wikitext.
>>
>> Marco
> Google Doc's interface acts like sh*t unless your on a super dooper
> decent computer and gives negative views on the usability of a
> service.
> -Peachey
I run a 3 year old laptop (Intel C2D though, but near-to-no cpu load
in Firefox, even less in Chrome) and no problems with it, except that
printing always does totally not look like what I see in the
browser... hopefully Google will make proper PDF export for printing.

Marco
--
VMSoft GbR
Nabburger Str. 15
81737 München
Geschäftsführer: Marco Schuster, Volker Hemmert
http://vmsoft-gbr.de

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Re: [Mediawiki-l] a wysiwyg editor for wikipedia?

Danese Cooper-3
In reply to this post by Happy-melon
Hi there Happy-melon (great handle, btw).

Its not quite that straightforward.  We have met with Wikia folks and
they've acknowledged that it will be a fair bit of work to adapt it to
our uses.  Wikia has offered us engineering resources to assist this
effort.  As I say, we are planning to investigate further in the coming
months and of course we'll disclose our findings.

Danese

On 6/1/10 4:37 PM, Happy-melon wrote:

> "Danese Cooper"<[hidden email]>  wrote in message
> news:[hidden email]...
>    
>> Just noting that we at WMF have been talking to Wikia about taking a
>> look at their code to see if it can be made useful for WMF properties.
>> Expect to hear more about Rich Text Editing soonish.
>>
>> Danese
>>      
> What are we expecting to hear from them?  The code is open source and
> available in a SVN repo; the only challenge is working out exactly how it
> differs from MW trunk and why.  I can see how some information (like which
> revision it was branched from) could be more easily obtained from asking
> rather than playing with svn merge, but are they likely to commit real
> man-hours into making these features trunk-friendly?
>
> --HM
>
>
>
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