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Grants:TPS/Toniher/SMWCon Fall 2013/Report

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Event name: SMWCon Fall 2013

Description of your participation:

I took care of the first hours of the tutorial day developers track. I ran a hands-on session where I created live an extension that used different hooks and MediaWiki classes. I pointed out some conventions and I tried to emphasize how to look up for documentation and where to find different examples that could help turn into reality your own extension. Generated used materials (slides and extension code) are publicly available here: http://semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/SMWCon_Fall_2013/Introduction_to_MediaWiki_extensions_creation

After that, I stayed in developers track. In the upcoming session, about Semantic MediaWiki (by Jeroen de Dauw), I got a better knowledge of available hooks and classes. I would highlight some interesting guidelines presented about programming taking into account from the very beginning the PHP unit tests to be run afterwards. The next session, by Daniel Kinzler and Tobias Gritschacher, was a very interesting introduction to WikiData programming and about WikiData present possibilities.

During the conference days I could exchange opinions with both academic and business participants and I noticed some of the challenges they face are similar to the ones I normally have in my deployments (such as the need of a more fine-grained access control).

What lessons were learned that could help others in similar events?

Preparing a tutorial is a very recommendable practice. I must tell that by documenting myself, preparing it and presenting it, I gained a better insight of MediaWiki development.

For other people interested in preparing a tutorial I would recommend them to know the location where it's going to take place. For instance, I pre-assumed a larger space with tables so attendees could be organised in groups to design an extension during the last minutes, but the room didn't allow it. This was not a big deal in the end, because I simply adapted to a live coding session with some short-time periods when people with laptops could try themselves what I was showing.

Regarding the conference, specially if you don't present anything, I would encourage anyone to share their concerns during questions time and coffee breaks. That way you can learn more about people in similar situations, which is something that can foster new collaborations in the future.

What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

There were around 25 people in my session. Since I think the level and approach was well-targeted for the participating audience, I'm confident some of the participants may start programming extensions in the upcoming months. I'm actually very proud that many people thanked me for the session. As I commented in previous sections, because of the work involved in preparing the session, I improved my knowledge in MediaWiki. After some necessary cleaning-up, I expect to release some extensions I’ve been working on during the last months.

On the other hand, during next Catalan Wikipedia community meeting I will raise the point about the interest in a technical-oriented day where the some of materials I presented in SMWCon Fall 2013 could be used.

Detail of expenditures:

  • Airplane ticket - 200 EUR