Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts by Amir Sarabadani

Pywikipediabot moving to git on July 26

Wikipedia isn’t written just by humans! Bots have made great contributions to Wikipedia and other wikis like Wikidata (where bots have made over 90 percent of the edits so far). “Bots” are automated editing programs that can do anything from archiving discussions to reverting vandalism and  creating articles. Some bots even patrol new pages and report to Wikimedians.

How can you operate a bot? There are several ways and frameworks to run a bot, but the most popular is Pywikipediabot. It’s written in the Python programming language and has been in use since 2003. Pywikipediabot contains scripts for moving categories, creating articles, checking new images, working with Wikidata items and many other tasks. Besides the existing scripts, you can also create your own bot using generic scripts and classes (like “Page,” which handles Wikipedia pages in general).

Pywikipedia is now joining many other Wikimedia-related software tools and taking a big step forward by changing its version control system from SVN to Git. After July 26, developers will be able to easily submit their patches directly to Gerrit to help maintain the code.

If you’re already a bot operator, you should know that after that date, SVN checkouts won’t be updated and you’ll need to switch to git; we’re providing a manual to help with the process.

If you’re interested in working with us, there are several help pages in different languages. You can also contact us through our mailing list and the IRC channel.

Amir Sarabadani (User:Ladsgroup), editor on the Persian Wikipedia and pywikipedia developer

Test features in a right-to-left language environment

Wikimedia sites are facing many technical changes, like VisualEditor, Wikidata, Flow and Echo, just to name a few. As an ordinary Wikipedian, I like it very much and I’m pretty excited, but sometimes change is scary, especially for people who are working on “small” wikis. People constantly ask “Is this feature localized for my wiki?” or “Will it work properly?” and if you’re using a right-to-left (RTL) language (like Persian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.), an otherwise great feature can quickly become a nightmare.

Sadly, it is difficult to test these features in your language before they are enabled on Wikipedia. Even if you’re an experienced MediaWiki developer, and you can install a wiki on your own server and add these features to test them, reporting bugs is hard because a locally-hosted wiki isn’t accessible to the rest of the world.

This is why we’ve set up a public test wiki dedicated to RTL languages. Wikimedians can come and test upcoming features, and see which interface messages are translated incorrectly. They can report bugs easily, communicate with other Wikimedians who are working in RTL languages, and work with them on features. Maybe you want to be sure a feature works properly in your language, or maybe you’re just curious and you want to know what Wikipedia will look like in the future. In both cases, the RTL test wiki can help you.

You can visit the RTL test wiki at http://tools.wmflabs.org/wikitest-rtl/w/ ; we have already installed some upcoming features, but if you think something is missing, feel free to contact me or Amir Aharoni and ask us to add it. This wiki uses the Universal language selector, which means that when you open it, the language of the interface is automatically set to the one your browser requests, and you can easily change it.

We hope to see you soon on the RTL test wiki.

Amir Sarabadani (User:Ladsgroup), editor on the Persian Wikipedia and pywikipedia developer