WMDE Technical Wishes/Templates

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Make working with templates easier[edit]

How can working with templates become easier? That's the question the Technical Wishes team at Wikimedia Deutschland will focus on for two years. This focus was set by the 2019 Technical Wishes Survey on German Wikipedia.

The team sets out to find solutions for different problems that people on the wikis encounter when they work with templates. Improving individual templates is not part of the project. Instead, it's about finding concepts that generally make it easier to work with templates.


Based on the research results, feedback on the prototypes, interviews with Wikipedians and further input from the communities, we started the first projects in September 2020.

Project Status
Bracket Matching done

(Green tickY) deployed to first wikis on Jan 27, 2021

Improved Color Scheme of Syntax Highlighting done

(Green tickY) deployed to first wikis on March 24, 2021

Suggested values for template parameters done

(Green tickY) deployed to all wikis on April 29, 2021

Line Numbering done

(Green tickY) available for the template namespace on all wikis using CodeMirror

Finding and inserting templates in preparation

deployment on initial wikis planned for April 2021

Removing a template from a page using the VisualEditor in preparation

deployment on initial wikis planned for July 2021

VisualEditor template dialog improvements in preparation

deployment on initial wikis planned for July 2021

TemplateData editor improvements in preparation

deployment on initial wikis planned for July 2021

We plan to deploy these changes in batches, and the process will differ depending on the feature: By June 2021, one change after the other will be deployed to a set of initial wikis – some smaller changes, will however be deployed to all wikis right away. If your wiki wants to get all the changes as soon as they are available, let us know. In any case, deployment of all changes to all wikis is planned for later this year.


  • Yes check.svg Done Research of problem areas, presented on Meta and dewiki
  • Yes check.svg Done First ideas for solutions are presented and discussed on Meta and dewiki
  • Yes check.svg Done Ideas are revised, and tested in usability tests
  • Yes check.svg Done September 2020: Start of development work

For the status of the individual projects, see the table above.

Identifying the projects[edit]

Over several months, an interdisciplinary team did intensive research into potential problems and improvement requests associated with templates, as seen from both a technical point of view and from that of a user. In the box below you can see a summary of that research:

Following this first phase, further research was done to determine the improvements that could be implemented. We examined a number of improvement ideas for their feasibility, effort, potential value and any possible disadvantages. The goal was to have improvements for both template users and for template creators & maintainers. Based on that examination, we created basic prototypes to share and further discuss possible projects, which you can see in the following box:

Based on the feedback we received on the foregoing, as well as all our previous investigations and discussions, we improved on the ideas and evaluated them as to

  • their impact (how beneficial are they?),
  • the effort required (how hard would they be to implement?), and
  • risks (are there negative side effects? might the project fail or be blocked by other teams?).

For those projects we deemed most valuable and doable for our team, we conducted further investigations, and developed more elaborate prototypes. The idea of a standalone Template finder, for instance, was dismissed; instead, ideas for better findability were integrated directly into the template editors. These high-fidelity prototypes were tested in usability tests with newcomers, casual editors, power users, template users and template creators & maintainers, to make sure our contributions would serve all types of users. We also made sure to have testers with diverse backgrounds (home wiki, including RTL wikis, age, gender, color blindness). The tests showed that some project ideas would create confusion or additional problems, or just wouldn’t help as much as we thought. Those ideas were dismissed or significantly revised. Other ideas generated a lot of excitement and were further improved by constructive feedback from the testers. Those are the ideas that will now be implemented.


As always, feedback is very welcome. The best place for it is the talk page.