Wikitex usability review

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This review was written by a design university student wanting to support WikiTeX. dildo see

Main Issues[edit]

If there should ever be a Wikipedia: Usability guide for future developements the first rule should be:

Never mixup what's designed to be read by humans and what's designed to be read by computers

and the someone should add: No matter how easy to read your code is, it is still a code.

The importance in this rule is to always welcome new users, no matter who they are. Imagine an old but open-minded musician who spent twenty years studying Prussian baroque music, so today he feels uneasy with his computer and has to constantly call his grandson to ask, again, how we attach a file on an email. Now suppose this grandson decides to show him what is this Wikipedia thing. If when he first clicks 'edit this page' he see something as:

	\notes \relative c' { 
		e16-.->a(b gis)a-.->c(d b)c-.->e(f dis)e-.->a(b a)
		gis(b e)e,(gis b)b,(e gis)gis,(b e)e,(gis? b e)

Even if this is the award-winner simpler code the programmer could get, He'll probably feel he's too old to learn this complicated thing and never come back.

So it would be smart to separate the wikitex source from the article's source. This way our old fellow there would be comfortable to contribute to the article, and would only stumble upon the music plugin after he had learned the basics of wiki.

First of all a small change would be needed on Wikipedia's toolbar. The toolbar should be kept always the simpler possible and every addition to it should be thought carefully.

In this review only three wikitex are suggested for implementation: baktik, music and chemistry. Baktik, the SVG reader does not need an icon as it is suggested that he be called by the image tag. Then only two new buttons are needed.

But the button horizontal rule could be cleaned out. The button itself suggest it should be used sparingly and it's tag ---- is easy enough to remember as to make the icon unnecessary.

If other wikitex diagrams shall be aproved for implementation maybe it would be best to leave only one button, the most commonly used for the user. The other buttons would be accessed by either clicking on the lower right corner of the icon or by holding down the mouse button. Adobe has used this succesfully on it's products for a long time.

Clicking on the button would put a tag like [[Music:Asa branca]], or [[Chemistry:Water]] . If there was no music with that name, an imaqe would indicate this and invite the user to edit that link. If the music existed, it would be shown.

Clicking on an existing music link takes you to a page identical to the existing image page, and clicking on edit takes you to the lilypond source code. This code should also accept other wiki tags, like redirect (so China's anthem redirects to People's Republic of china national anthem) or other templates like copyrights tag, votes for deletion, featured music etc...

The wikitex tag could also have some information on how the thing will be dysplayed. For example an article on bethoven might want to add just the overture of his songs, and maybe an article on musical endiong might want to dysplay only the end of the song. Something like

[[Music:Asa branca | 2 ]] would dysplay only the second (verse? Compass?) o the music and [[Music:Asa branca | 9 to end ]] would dysplay from the ninth till the end.

Music: Lilypond[edit]

One of lilypond's most important features is the midi output. But Wikipedia is way more than a website. Although in an multimedia environment the possibility of hearing the music is always desirable, this makes no sense in a printed media and certainly should work differently when accessed in voice mediums, like some special softwares for the seeing impaired accessing wikipedia.

So musical output should be a flexible feature, changing according to the environment, cannot be a manual link saying click here to listen.

On a typical wikipedia paqe, lilypond would show the song image in the bottom there shall be the song's title and to it's right an icon like 'play'

A non-crucial improvement would be adding written lyrics. That's very important to anthems and some opera's piece. Of course, this takes us to further complications with non latin alphabets, so this feature could be implemented later.


The SVG implementation should be completely invisible, along with the image tag, indistinguishable from uploading a GIF, PNG or JPG. The only difference would be a link on the image page for downloading the source code. (Because as in a bitmap what you see is already what you get, you do not need a link to download it)

Simply like: [[Image: Butterfly.svg]]


No special comments


Adding special plugins for games have some political implications. Games are from local cultures, and wikipedia’s policy on internationality would mean that adding a chess or go engine should be along with another for shant-sy, chinese chess and etc. The danger is that there will be created many closed gardens inside wikipedia.

Wikipedia encourages everyone to set up your personal wiki for any game, like for example Sensei's Library, but should not be one itself.


A good rule of thumb for addinq a special enqine would be: how many articles need this? It is a universal subject or a too narrow one? Won't this feature be better implemented with svg images?