add etherpad-like functionality to our wikis

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8 years ago
4 years ago

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(Reporter: k0scist, Unassigned)

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(Reporter)

Description

8 years ago
Our wiki has editing conflicts and is slow.  You can't see if anyone else is working on the same page or not.  Ideally, all editing areas would be like etherpad: everyone would be able to simultaneously edit, changes would be saved on key-send.  etherpad.mozilla.org could still be used for scratch notes, or not. 

Ingenuity would have to be used to ensure this worked well with markup that needed to be displayed.  MediaWiki markup is....not necessarily a good choice anyway.  So perhaps a format could be used that would be more display-friendly while editing (such as ReST, markdown, or a JS WYSIWYG).

Comment 1

8 years ago
A million times yes! I find the wiki software to be a massive bottleneck to editing, and believe this is why our developer documentation (the stuff we write for newbies and other Moz developers) to be so out of date.

On a previous project, we used latex, then docbook, then finally restructuredText. It wasn't until we used ReST that it actually became simple enough to write documentation that people actually did it.
See http://htmlpad.org for an example of hooking up etherpad and markup editing. It's run by Atul Varma, and uses Moz's etherpad behind the scenes, so maybe he'd have some info here.
(Reporter)

Comment 3

8 years ago
(In reply to comment #2)
> See http://htmlpad.org for an example of hooking up etherpad and markup
> editing. It's run by Atul Varma, and uses Moz's etherpad behind the scenes, so
> maybe he'd have some info here.

This looks really nice.  Personally, I'd prefer editing restructured text or markdown than a GUI editor, but unless we're going to support *all* of the text-dialects that people want (ReST, md, mediawiki which I consider atrocious), I think WYSIWYG is probably the way to compromise.  This is somewhat an orthogonal issue, but since this would be a big rollout it might be smart to do at the same time.
When I was helping out Aza's new startup in January I set up a really simple htmlpad-like wiki that used Markdown. One neat thing about it is that intra-wiki links were just relative hyperlinks--there was no special kooky syntax or anything.

The wiki template was actually just another etherpad, too, though that might not be great in a public setting where a malicious dude could inject a XSS attack or something weird in there.

The other hard part is that Etherpad is notoriously hard to change because it's a mix of Java, server-side JS, and Scala. And I think we might need to change Etherpad if we want some niceties like "real" user accounts and so forth. I'm not very familiar with the way Etherpad's "pro" accounts work, though, and they may offer some features we'd need.
The Etherpad Lite extension for MediaWiki might be a good fit here.

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:EtherpadLite

Mozilla has planned to move to Etherpad Lite, anyway, because of the maintenance trouble :atul mentions.
(Reporter)

Comment 6

6 years ago
(In reply to Michael Burns [:mburns] from comment #5)
> The Etherpad Lite extension for MediaWiki might be a good fit here.
> 
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:EtherpadLite
> 
> Mozilla has planned to move to Etherpad Lite, anyway, because of the
> maintenance trouble :atul mentions.

Once we'd move to EtherpadLite (blocking bug?), this would probably be a good thing to have (especially if we added a button or whatever front end). What I'd really want, though, is a real etherpad(like) wiki. This seems like a good step forward and interim solution, but not really a streamlined fix, as I see it (though feel free to disagree).
Depends on: 831448
(In reply to Jeff Hammel [:jhammel] from comment #6)
> (In reply to Michael Burns [:mburns] from comment #5)
> > The Etherpad Lite extension for MediaWiki might be a good fit here.
> > 
> > http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:EtherpadLite
> > 
> > Mozilla has planned to move to Etherpad Lite, anyway, because of the
> > maintenance trouble :atul mentions.
> 
> Once we'd move to EtherpadLite (blocking bug?), this would probably be a
> good thing to have (especially if we added a button or whatever front end).
> What I'd really want, though, is a real etherpad(like) wiki. This seems like
> a good step forward and interim solution, but not really a streamlined fix,
> as I see it (though feel free to disagree).

It's also possible to embed etherpad-lite and it has a mediawiki output plugin, so it may be possible to get something closer to what you want with that.

If you wanted to go deeper, one could build a wiki on top of etherpad-lite or by embedding something like http://sharejs.org/ ... both of these use the same algorithm that classic etherpad (aka SubEthaEdit) uses to sync changes (operational transform)

Also, the Wikimedia folks have been experimenting with etherpad (and now etherpad-lite) for some time, I will poke some folks over there and see what the status is.
See also the (alpha) VisualEditor project:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:VisualEditor

You can see it in action at http://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=VisualEditor:Test&useskin=vector ("VisualEditor" tab at the top next to Read/Edit)
(In reply to Robert Helmer [:rhelmer] from comment #8)
> See also the (alpha) VisualEditor project:
> 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:VisualEditor
> 
> You can see it in action at
> http://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=VisualEditor:Test&useskin=vector
> ("VisualEditor" tab at the top next to Read/Edit)

Note that this is not exactly etherpad-like, in that it doesn't show real-time edits AFAICT - it's just a WYSIWYG replacement for hacking wikitext in a text area.
Assignee: mitchell → nobody
Component: Miscellaneous → wiki.mozilla.org
Product: mozilla.org → Websites
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