Grants:IEG/Visual editor- gadgets compatibility/Midpoint

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Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's first 3 months.


In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.

  • We researched after popular gadgets that would maximize the impact of the project on editors.
  • We converted some of the most useful gadgets to support VisualEditor.
  • We created a documentation of our work and how to hack the VisualEditor.

Methods and activities[edit]

How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?

  1. mapping all the gadgets (in any language) and to created a list of all the gadgets in various projects
  2. programmatically understand what of these gadgets are related to editing [Searching the code for common edit interface elements: textarea, WikiEditor api (enhanced editing toolbar) etc] (User:Ravid ziv/gadgets)
  3. Rate gadgets by popularity across projects. Included in the above list, based on toolserver database.
  4. We converted some of the most popular editing gadgets to support the new VisualEditor. We created a documentation, based on our experience, which describes in details how to extend the VisualEditor (mw:VisualEditor_gadgets)

Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.

  • background research - VisualEditor: We learned the VisualEditor internals (there is no formal documentation for it) by debugging, and exploring the code repository.
  • Community feedback: To select important gadget, to understand what are the most important features and to validate our gadgets are useful for Wikipedians we disscuessed with the community in Village pumps: Ctiation gadget (en), Intro editing (es), spell checker (es), spell checker (he)
  • Metrics based: We based our selection or gadgets also based on popularity based database reports

Midpoint outcomes[edit]

What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?

Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.

  • We mapped all the gadgets (in any language) and created a list of all the gadgets in various projects, with popularity rating across projects
  • We disscussed with some gadgets developer about their gadgets, and how can we convert them to VisualEditor. Sometimes we got good hints, and sometimes we didn't get response [1], [2]
  • Based on this list we select key gadget, the most popular editing gadgets, and rewritten them to support the new VisualEditor:
    • Spell checker (Rechtschreibpruefung) - Spell checking for common errors. Spelling mistakes are highlighted in red online while writing!
    • Reftoolbar - help editors add citation templates to articles.
    • Directionality tool - Adds button to add RTL mark useful in RTL languages such as Arabic and Hebrew
    • Common summaries - Add two new dropdown boxes below the edit summary box in save dialog with some useful default summaries
  • Based on our experience with writing VE gadget, we created a guide for VE gadgets writers, which should help them extend the VisualEditor with custom features. May help develop support for Visual Editor by making it more integrated with existing tools.


Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.

Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.

We spent the funds according to plan so far, and our expectations for second half of our project is according to our initial budget.


The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.

What are the challenges[edit]

What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • Community adoption of our gadgets - we still have to publish our gadgets and improve our communication with more communities, that will install and use our gadgets.
  • VE documentation/infrastructure - The VisualEditor is complex system with many classes and features, and there are no many users (developers out of WMF) that use it, therefore there is less documentation than other "core" features.

What is working well[edit]

What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.

  • Let the community know
    • Users - after publishing our gadgets, we got good hints that improve them and make them more useful for users.
    • Developers - the lack of sufficient documentation for VE required us to get into the code, hence we created a guide for visual editors hackers and published it in mediawiki wiki.

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this IEG at the end of your project, please also mention this here.

  • more gadgets - we looking forward to create more useful gadgets for VisualEdiotr and in particular search and replace feature
  • extend gadgets adoption - one of the next opportunities is to publish our gadgets to different wikipedia projects
  • JavaScript deprecations - we would like to develop tools to discover broken gadgets that are using obsolete functions
  • List of gadgets - we want to give useful statistics on gadgets and to let users to select gadget for installation.
  • Documentation - on going improvements to our guide
  • renewal - we are considering applying for renewal and to expand our project to include some new powerful tools that aren't available in the classical editor

Grantee reflection[edit]

We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an IEGrantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?

The monthly talks with Siko, helped us to understand all the perspective points of the community. She gave us good hints and tips and helped us to communicate with WMF staff (VisualEditor team) and how to publicize our project.