Today, I'm delighted to say that we at the Wikimedia Foundation have
launched a new prototype “visual editor” for MediaWiki. The visual
editor will be a new editing environment that won’t require everyone
to learn our special markup language in order to contribute to our
Though it’s possible to learn what wikitext means and use it
powerfully, many of our editors, and especially new editors, want to
contribute content, not learn technical formatting. We identified the
difficulty in learning wikitext as a key inhibitor to growing our
editor community in the Wikimedia movement’s strategic plan.
We want the process of learning how to edit to be trivial, so our
volunteers, both new and experienced, can devote themselves to what
they edit. That’s why we’re building the visual editor, so that
contributing to a wiki is as easy and natural as other modern editing
systems, and new editors are not dissuaded from making their changes.
You may remember a similar announcement in December 2011, when we
revealed a developer prototype of our “visual editor", but after a
great deal of feedback, we've reworked it so that it's more useful to
our our community of users.
We learned a lot from building our first prototype. It was great how
many of you helped with feedback, bug reports and comments about how
we were doing. In the months since then, based on your feedback and
technical issues we encountered, we’ve overhauled the entire editor.
We changed the technical design and how it works, rewriting its
components so that we can support more editors more easily. We’ve also
integrated it into the MediaWiki platform, so now it can load and edit
wiki articles, and not just sit separately.
To build this iteration of our open source visual editor, we have been
working with some of the team from Wikia, a collaborative publisher
that operates the largest network of video game, entertainment and
lifestyle wikis in the world. We both believe that this kind of tool
should be built not just for the Wikimedia wiki projects, but for
everyone using MediaWiki software, and when it’s done we look forward
to including the visual editor “out of the box” for anyone setting up
a wiki with our software.
Thanks to all this, our new prototype is now live on mediawiki.org.
This is just a demonstration, and very far from a finished product —
for example, we haven’t yet added image or table handling. It’s
currently locked down to only work on a self-contained area of the
wiki, so that it doesn’t encounter any unsupported content or break
anything else. We intend to work on small pieces of the overall story,
releasing a new version every two weeks or so, and adding features
one-by-one until the editor is good enough to deploy for everyone (and
release in MediaWiki’s core).
Over the next few weeks and months, we will be working with you in the
community to find bugs, to focus on what our priorities should be, and
most importantly, to make sure that what we’re building is right for
you and that it supports your “workflow”.
So please, try out the prototype, see our frequently-asked
questions, and tell us what you think.
 - https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Movement_Strategic_Plan_Summ…
 - https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/VisualEditor:Welcome
 - https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Visual_editor/June_2012_release_FAQs
 - https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Visual_editor/Feedback
On behalf of the Visual Editor Team:
Trevor Parscal, Inez Korczyński, Roan Kattouw, Rob Moen, Subramanya
Sastry, Brion Vibber, Gabriel Wicke, Christian Williams.
James D. Forrester
Product Manager for Visual Editor and Flagged Revisions
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
jforrester(a)wikimedia.org | @jdforrester | +1 415-839-6885 x6844