Get introduced to Internationalization engineering through the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle

The MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB) is a collection of MediaWiki extensions for various internationalization features. These extensions and the Bundle are maintained by the Wikimedia Language Engineering team. Each month, a new version of the Bundle is released.

The MLEB gives webmasters who run sites with MediaWiki a convenient solution to install, manage and upgrade language tools. The monthly release cycle allows for adequate testing and compatibility across the recent stable versions of MediaWiki.

A plate depicting text in Sanskrit (Devanagari script) and Pali languages, from the Illustrirte Geschichte der Schrift by Johann Christoph Carl Faulmann

The extensions that form MLEB can be used to create a multilingual wiki:

  • UniversalLanguageSelector — allows users to configure their language preferences easily;
  • Translate — allows a MediaWiki page to be translated;
  • CLDR — is a data repository for language-specific locale data like date, time, currency etc. (used by the other extensions);
  • Babel — provides information about language proficiency on user pages;
  • LocalisationUpdate — updates MediaWiki’s multilingual user interface;
  • CleanChanges — shows RecentChanges in a way that reflects translations more clearly.

The Bundle can be downloaded as a tarball or from the Wikimedia Gerrit repository. Release announcements are generally made on the last Wednesday of the month, and details of the changes can be found in the Release Notes.

Before every release, the extensions are tested against the last two stable versions of MediaWiki on several browsers. Some extensions, such as UniversalLanguageSelector and Translate, need extensive testing due to their wide range of features. The tests are prepared as Given-When-Then scenarios, i.e. an action is checked for an expected outcome assuming certain conditions are met. Some of these tests are in the process of being automated using Selenium WebDriver and the remaining tests are run manually.

The automated tests currently run only on Mozilla Firefox. For the manual test runs, the Given-When-Then scenarios are replicated across several web browsers. These are mostly the Grade-A level supported browsers. Regressions or bugs are reported through Bugzilla. If time permits, they are also fixed before the monthly release, or otherwise scheduled to be fixed in the next one.

The MLEB release process allows several opportunities for participation in the development of internationalization tools. The testing workflow introduces the participants to the features of the commonly-used extensions. Finding and tracking the bugs on Bugzilla familiarizes them with the bug lifecycle and also provides an opportunity to work closely with the developers while the bugs are being fixed. Creating a patch of code to fix the bug is the next exciting step of exploration that the new participants are always encouraged to continue.

If you’d like to participate in testing, we now have a document that will help you get started with the manual tests. Alternatively, you could also help in writing the automated tests (using Cucumber and Ruby). The newest version of MLEB has been released and is now ready for download.

Runa Bhattacharjee
Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

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1 Comment on Get introduced to Internationalization engineering through the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle

summ3r 11 months

Hi!
If you’re interested in a tool to collaboratively localize web software, PC software, mobile software or any other type of software, I suggest you give https://poeditor.com/ a shot. It’s a very user-friendly online translation platform that handles multiple popular language file formats. You’ll see that it has a sum of very useful features to aid your localization workflow, like set reference language and translation memory.
Cheers and good luck with your projects!

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