Last week I collaborated with some local hackers on putting realtime
collaborative editing into MediaWiki. That is, where a number of people
can be editing the same article at once, and seeing each others' changes
in real time.
We've been using Etherpad a lot at the WMF so we wanted to see what
would happen if this style of editing were brought to wikis.
I had some friends of friends who have an Etherpad-derivative startup
called Hackpad. We got together and decided to do a sprint for a couple
of days on this idea.
The resulting interface is good proof of concept! Check out their blog post.
We learned a lot, particularly about where the points of agreement and
disagreement are between the Etherpad and MediaWiki ways of thinking
FYI: parts of Hackpad are integrated with Facebook. One of Hackpad's
innovations was to add authentication to Etherpad, particularly
Facebook's auth. You won't have to log in to use this demo but it still
pings their servers. This doesn't herald any new turn of Wikimedia
towards Facebook. Also, the article may be bunched onto one line and be
all in bold -- this is an artifact of Hackpad using the first line of an
article as the headline.
Hackpad has promised to me they'll be publishing some relevant changes
they made to Etherpad for this project, so other Etherpad hackers can do
the same thing.
I've been talking with Trevor & Brion about doing an extension+gadget to
make it easier to invoke a "remote" web-based editor with MediaWiki. The
current WikiEditor sort of has an iframe-crossing API already built into
it, so that might be a place to start.
Neil Kandalgaonkar ) <neilk(a)wikimedia.org>