MediaWiki

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MediaWiki is the open source wiki engine that drives all of the Wikimedia projects. It's written in PHP.

Current State of MediaWiki

The MediaWiki platform has been a key to Wikimedia's success, enabling Wikimedia projects to become a top five web site.

MediaWiki is the most popular and successful wiki engine.{{citation needed}} It's also used by Wikia, wikiHow, and internally in many companies (such as Intel)

MediaWiki has some weaknesses:

MediaWiki platform has been key to Wikimedia’s success… *Software supports mass collaboration enabling Wikipedia to become a top five website
* Popular and successful wiki software program
…but software has key weaknesses . . . * Lack of policies and support has led to inconsistent and poorly written code that does not effectively support current Internet trends
*MediaWiki has limited documentation
…which inhibit further development and future potential of software * Efficiency of efforts to improve and add new functionalities to MediaWiki is inhibited by inconsistent and poor code
* Difficult to work with volunteer developers to improve the core platform
  • As with most open source software projects, some of the code contributions are inconsistent and poorly written.
  • MediaWiki's documentation is limited. The lack of documentation makes it difficult to leverage volunteer developers.
    • Code documentation is improving, auto-generated at [1]. MediaWiki.org needs a focused cleanup effort
  • Efficiency of efforts to improve and add new functionality to MediaWiki is inhibited by inconsistent and poor code.

The core user interface has major limitations. See usability for a longer discussion of these issues.

Ongoing development of Wikimedia's software platform has been slowed by gaps in capacity:

Leadership Gap * Foundation currently lacks a CTO to oversee technical staff and set direction for the project
Limited number of paid staff * WMF has 5 core developers plus 5-6 FTEs working on a 1 year usability grant, significantly less than organizations with smaller audiences and contributor bases:
    • Wordpress ~18 core devs.
    • Wikia ~15 core devs.
    • CBC.ca has ~65 devs.
  • WMF has insufficient staff to undertake new initiatives and to push development of the MediaWiki platform
Under-utilized volunteer developers * Insufficient paid staff to review volunteer code
* Insufficient resources and poor process to identify promising extensions and widgets developed by volunteers and make them accessible to casual users
* Don’t effectively attract and retain new volunteer developers

See Also