WMDE Technical Wishes/Bracket Matching

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Bracket Matching
Status Deployed
Focus area Templates
Responsible Technical Wishes Team


Summary[edit]

Bracket matching is a common feature of text editors for writing source code currently missing from Wikipedia's wikitext editors. The feature highlights pairs of brackets, so that an editor can more easily navigate through source code and find mismatched bracket pairs. It’s particularly useful for nested statements, which are very common in template source code.

Background[edit]

Using syntax highlighting[edit]

Syntax highlighting can be turned on and off in the 2010 wikitext editor using the highlight icon in the toolbar:
Turn on the syntax highlighter in 2010 wikitext editor.png

Syntax highlighting is available in the 2017 wikitext editor under the ‘hamburger menu’ and is turned on by default:
Turn on the syntax highlighter in 2017 wikitext editor.png

In 2019 the community of the German Wikipedia voted the topic area “Make working with templates easier” as most urgently needing technical improvement. As a result, the Technical Wishes team of Wikimedia Deutschland have been working on improvements in this area for two years. More background and further projects can be found here.

Wikitext syntax for writing templates has grown over a long period of time and contains a lot of curly braces ({{}}), making it hard to read and very difficult to work with. Onwiki source editors mainly support writing articles in wikitext and lack features to help programmers write source code. Bracket matching is one step towards making complex syntax work in these editors easier; it has been repeatedly requested by members of the community and is a proven feature that's comparatively easy to implement.

Implementation[edit]

Bracket matching in a nested template

This feature will be integrated into the existing syntax highlighter provided by the CodeMirror extension. The syntax highlighter is already available in both the 2017 wikitext editor and the classic 2010 wikitext editor. The functionality currently highlights text in different colors based on the type of content. Bracket matching will be active in both editors when syntax highlighting is turned on in any namespace using these editors.

Features[edit]

When the cursor is next to a bracket, both matching brackets are highlighted with a gray background. When the cursor is inside any bracket pair, the innermost pair of the surrounding brackets is highlighted (section highlighting).

Based on feedback, the team will make the gray background more subtle while leaving the font color of the highlighted bracket pairs unchanged. This ensures that the cursor next to the highlighted brackets is clearly visible.

The highlighter will act on curly, round and square brackets: {}, () and [].

Related gadgets and scripts[edit]

Some community-developed tools also provide wikitext highlighting. When you use the following editors (and other similar ones), you will not see this new bracket matching feature. This includes:

Limitations[edit]

  • Bracket matching does not work on right-to-left wikis, because CodeMirror is not supported on RTL wikis. (T170001)
  • Bracket matching requires JavaScript, because the existing syntax highlighter itself requires JavaScript.

Status and Roadmap[edit]

  • Yes check.svg Done: Development started in September 2020.
  • Yes check.svg Done: January 27, 2021: Deployment on
    • German Wikipedia
    • Catalan Wikipedia
    • Turkish Wikipedia
  • Yes check.svg Done: March 18, 2021: Refinement of bracket matching styling
  • Yes check.svg Done March 24, 2021: Deployment on
    • group 0 (incl. mediawiki.org and testwiki)
    • Wikitech
  • Yes check.svg Done: March 9, 2022: Deployment on all remaining wikis except English Wikipedia
  • Yes check.svg Done: March 16, 2022: Deployment on English Wikipedia

Links[edit]

Feedback[edit]

We are interested in any and all feedback! Please post it on the discussion page.