UserBase development

Anne Wilson annew at
Tue Oct 27 14:03:41 UTC 2009

Some of you may have read my recent blogs, "Announcing #userbase" and 
"UserBase looks to the future".  I invited people to come along and chat about 
what needs changing in UserBase.  Several people did, and it was decided that 
we would cooperate using a googledoc, then follow it up with an IRC meeting.  
Here is a summary of what we discussed:

    * Style issues
          o Anne pointed to
          o was agreed to be a suitable 
          o A good half of pages are consistent with that, a significant 
number are not
          o The_madman and annew agreed to plough through existing pages, with 
the aim of making all consistent.
          o annew asked for help in identifying which applications need the 
third-party symbol
          o There are far too many empty pages
          o Nightrose agreed to nag developers to write about developer tools 
(it was agreed that this should only be a short description, for 
identification of a tool, and a link to relevant techbase pages)
          o There is a need to find people with an interest in the 
accessibility applications
          o Mogger and irina_r both felt that it was too difficult to find a 
good beginners' guide to style

this led on to thinking about

    * What do new contributors most need to see?
          o We currently have three pages -
          o irina_r said the link at the top of the pages to Help:Contents was 
          o Guidelines are linked from the Welcome page and from
          o That third link is probably unhelpful - Guidelines makes necessary 
statements, but a new contributor would find that link more useful if it 
pointed to Help:Contents.
          o Nightrose pointed out that not everyone arrives via the Welcome 
page.  It was decided that Help in the Navigation panel must point to a 
beginners' page.
          o irina_r pointed out that it must not make any assumptions.  It 
should start with whether an account is needed, and how to get an account
          o Mogger, irina_r and Bou all felt that the available help is too 
scattered around, and must be easier to find.
          o Mogger suggested that it should have sections, too on topics like 
edit articles, add new articles, add translations
          o Bou and Mogger are going to try to put together an outline page 
for this.
          o It is likely that we'll want to make changes to the Navigation 
panel to make these pages more visible

    * Format translation - mediawiki to docbook
          o Burkhard Lück's request for an extension to help with this was 
          o yurchor was strongly against it, apparently feeling that docbook 
should be the one and only form of documentation.  It was explained that some 
people wanted to use wiki for drafting, prior to docbook.
          o tstaerk looked at the mediawiki to docbook bridge extension 
document, and said it was difficult to understand, and might need some 
specialist knowledge as well as considerable time.

    * Language translation
          o yurchor is concerned about the frequency of changes in userbase 
making translations difficult
          o tsdgeos is concerned that pages, once translated, may not be kept 
in sync with English updates.  He would like to see a system where
                + a tool is used to extract pages to .po syntax
                + putting them into svn
                + when the translator uploads his finished work
                + userbase is automatically updated from that
          o we need to see whether such an extension actually exists
          o irina_r offered to try translating some pages into Dutch.  It was 
suggested that she should look at Special:PopularPages, concentrating on pages 
that have been marked Consistent on Different_Style_Pages, as they are less 
likely to need an imminent update.
          o tstaerk repeated his conviction that moving to namespaces for 
languages would be a big improvement.  It would enable searches to always 
return results in the correct language (say, English plus locale language).  
Apparently it would also make the language suffix in pagenames unnecessary, 
too.  However, this is not a trivial task.

    * Other tools considered
          o Three people would like to see a last-changed-date on pages.  
There was not time to consider how that should be done
          o tstaerk would like to see a visitor counter on pages - these 
numbers are already stored, it seems, for the statistics pages, so it's a 
matter of finding the tool to display them.
          o Page rating had been considered in the document above, but was not 
discussed at the meeting

There have been some developments since then.  Bou and Mogger are consulting 
about requirements for re-writing the Help pages, with Irina being consulted 
as a user coming new to editing pages.

The forum team have set up a mediawiki sandbox for me to explore and hopefully 
find some answers to resolving some of the problems we've had with UserBase.  
We intend to install some extensions there for testing.

We realise now that userbase and techbase share the same skin, so that some 
changes are impossible without affecting techbase.  We hope to set up some 
discussions with the techbase maintainer(s) once we are clearer about the 

The first extensions that we will look at are concerned with documentation and 
translation.  'Translate' ouputs a .po file, which should help language 
translators.  There are tools for both export and import.  Any generated pages 
that are considered suitable for official documentation could then be exported 
via the mediawiki2docbook bridge.  We are looking at the possibility of making 
most of this into an automatic system.  Sayak Banerjee (of the forum team) has 
offered to do any scripting necessary to link the parts of the process.

If any one is interested in reading the whole of the discussion document, it 
can be found at

The document is open for editing, so please do add comments and suggestions.  
I'll apologise now for the look of it.  It's a bit messy by now, since there 
is two weeks' worth of talk.

Anne (annew)
New to KDE4? - get help from
Just found a cool new feature?  Add it to UserBase
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 198 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part.
URL: <>

More information about the kde-www mailing list