[MediaWiki-l] MediaWiki-l Digest, Vol 147, Issue 21

Ray Paseur ray.paseur at armedia.com
Thu Dec 17 14:50:06 UTC 2015


Requirements: a simple installer and a one click maintainer for all!
<snip />

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,
Ray


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