[Foundation-l] Why is MediaWiki so low-tech?

Virgil Ierubino virgil.ierubino at gmail.com
Sat Jan 6 16:30:47 UTC 2007

Why is MediaWiki so low-tech?

I understand the imperitive for maximal accessibility, but is it not also
true that, these days, fewer and fewer people are using browsers that can't
handle advanced features? The fact of the matter is that a website's
*usability* is improved by taking advantage of the higher-tech architecture
that modern browsers allow you to use. Can't MediaWiki default to its
current state, but offer a per-user preference to turn on advanced options?

Look at a site like Facebook, (http://www.facebook.com), for example, which
is possibly one of the most beautifully constructed websites I have ever
encountered. It is simple in layout and ridiculously easy to use on account
of very good design, and the use of advanced code generating popups,
immediate editing, etc. Furthermore their code is pristine; I have never
seen an error, even in the advanced features, on any browser.

The kind of MediaWiki advanced features I'm talking about could be something
like instant editing. Think about if you're reading a long section of an
article, and midway down there's a spelling error. There are so many reasons
to not fix it: you'd have to scroll up to click the edit link on that
section, you'd have to wait for it to load, you'd have to find the place
again in the edit box, you'd have to wait for it to load again, and all this
time you won't be able to continue reading your article, and you'll have
lost your place. What if you could just click next to the relevant
paragraph, turning it into an edit box on the same page - no loading - edit
it, save it, and never once have to switch page. Something similar to the
way you can edit posts in vBulletin without having to change pages. I know
for sure that a feature like this would double the speed at which (and the
likelihood of which) articles are improved.

Obviously once you accept the usage of advanced elements like this there's
no stopping how much easier you can make the site, and how user friendly. If
the only grounds to not include this kind of feature are accessibility, just
put each feature on a switch in user preferences.

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