Requirements: a simple installer and a one click maintainer for all!
Completely agree. I think some of the issues we confront here are artifacts of the age of
MW (not to be age-ist - I'm an old coot myself). Like PHP, MW has been around a long
time, and during that time the principles and paradigms of software development have been
advancing. Nobody was thinking about encapsulation or dependency injection in the old
days; today nobody would write software without holding those principles in high respect.
Some of ttoday's complexity issues arise from our insistence on backward
compatibility. Even at PHP 5+ most of the PHP code we wrote in the 1990's will still
run, and I find that amazing. I've replaced appliances and automobiles more recently
that some of my ancient computer code! So how do we move forward toward a simpler and
more elegant design?
First, we ought to learn from our colleagues who are pushing the technology successfully.
To this end, I would like to gently nudge the Foundation in the direction of the PHP-FIG.
You can't get more smarts in a room than you can with the fellows of PHP-FIG. They
are thinking about packaging and deployment issues all the time, across a wide range of
platforms and applications, and they have good ideas to share. Jeroen is represented
among them, and I believe that the Foundation should be represented, too.
Second, we should be present and engaged at the major PHP conferences. At PHP World 2015
we had Laravel, Drupal, Cake, Magento, Symfony, Joomla, Zend, WordPress and others, but
not us. MediaWiki and Wikipedia are towering influences on knowledge management in the
21st century. There is no reason to hide our light under a bushel; we should be "out
there" in a manner commensurate with our world importance. WordPress correctly notes
that it accounts for 25% of all internet traffic. I would suggest that Wikipedia accounts
for more than 25% of the _useful_ internet traffic!
Third, we should at least consider the idea of a one-time breaking change, when it enables
true progress. The PHP community has done this with the release of PHP7. The most
egregious language artifacts of bygone days have been cast aside. All new PHP software
has an improved chance to be more secure and performant, and to avoid the propagation of
antipatterns and antipractices. If we can put such an idea into the conversation about
MediaWiki, we would want to approach it with a crystal clear vision of the value we seek
to achieve. A simple installer and maintainer would be worth such a change. I would also
add that we could improve our Extension management, and this could be considered in
concert with a simple installer and maintainer.
Fourth, we can learn a lot from the Code-Is-Poetry group at WordPress. Like MediaWiki,
WordPress is an old software platform. But they have somehow kept a freshness in their
community. I think we share a lot of their values and may be able to emulate some of
their successes. They've got the simple install thing nailed!
Best regards to all,