Wikimedia contributions

All good things come to an end, so new and better things can begin

This will be the last post I will be focusing on my FOSS OPW internship with WIkimedia Foundation. But as Frank Herbert has once said, “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story”, this won’t end my contributions to open source or Wikimedia.

FOSS OPW internship has showed me many directions which I can take after I finish the internship. The career guidance given to the interns is very helpful.

Endings are not bad. They are there because you can start something new, motivated from your success and learn from failures. FOSS OPW is a great program which gave me a heap of experience in open culture. Not only that, but also it helped be to identify myself better, identify what I am good at and what should need improvements. It introduced me a great set of people who will remain as my role models forever.


Towards the end of the internship

Since we are spending the last couple of weeks in the FOSS OPW internship it’s time to wrap up the projects we are doing. Over the summer the FOSS OPW internship has kept me busy with several interesting tasks. Some are yet boring though 😉 However this has given me great opportunity to learn and deal with the open culture and open source community.

Currently my project “Welcoming new contributors to Wikimedia Labs” is in a sort of stable state where the project admins of Wikimidia Labs projects can come and complete their documentation easily and according to the form I made. The waiting phase will be extended while the nagging continues until all the project admins do their part. 

All Magic Comes With a Price


As we are approaching towards the end of the FOSS OPW internship period I thought of having a little flash back additional to my 10th weekly update.

One of the main goals of my project is to complete the project documentation of over 700 projects which are hosted in Wikimedia Labs/Tool Labs. The existing documentation of these projects are not enough for the new comers to decide whether they should join the project or start a new project on their own. It is not even enough for project admins to track the projects and manage them. Therefore completing the documentation will be a very important improvement on Wikimedia Labs.

To complete the documentation of each project we have to get the details from the project admins or ask them to complete their documentation. But to have this documentation edited in a structured manner we have to give the project admins guidelines as well. To do that easily I have used Forms and Templates in Semantic Wiki extensions. First I have formulated a template with discussing with my mentor to decide what are the attributes the project documentation should have. Then add those attributes to the template and make a form fro that template for the project admins to fill such that it will automatically add to the project documentation.

Even though it is easy to say doing that with Semantic Wiki to exactly get the output I want was not easy. I had to go through Semantic Wiki documentation couple of times and other templates and forms many times to determine how these are created. At one point I was really thinking that is is not feasible task. But I didn’t give up. I searched some more and finally I was able to find a way through this.

All magic has a price. If we pay the price of hard work no goal of ours is unacheivable.

PS : If you don’t know Rumpelstiltskin or not familiar with the phrase “All magic has a price” it’s high time you watched “Once upon a time” TV series.

Struggling with Semantic Wiki – 8th Weekly Update of FOSS OPW internship

At first learning to work with semantic wiki was easy. In the beginning of the internship I enjoyed setting up templates and forms very easily with semantic wiki but never thought that much of the data model.

The problem came when trying to integrate the testing templates with the existing templates which are already in the Wiki. I thought this task would be very easy and all I had to do was just copying and pasting. But soon enough it proved very wrong.

The lesson I learned from this was when learning something never learn it such that to do the assigned task only. When you learn something learn it going deeply. It will help you to figure out problems which will appear later easily.

Half way through the Internship with Wikimedia

Since it has been already six weeks passed and this is the seventh week of the FOSS OPW internship from this blog post I thought of speaking my overall experience in during the past weeks.

First let me introduce my background. I am a final year undergraduate from Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa , Sri Lanka. So as you would have guessed final year is not easy. When the internship starts I was having a little bit of free time because my final year has not been started at that time. So I had plenty of time to engage in the internship work. This was new experience for me. For few months I have been engaged with open source communities. So when my internship starts I have a quiet good idea on how the open source communities work. But yet it was a new experience to me.

The assistance I got from my mentor was great. He was always there to guide me and show me the direction where I should focus. After the first few weeks my final year started and I started to get busy. That’s when things become a little bit tough.But however I love doing what I do. So although I have to manage my time more effectively to cover all the work I have at the end of the day I feel happy that I was able to do all the things I supposed to do.

So my advice for all is whatever it is do what you love. It will help you to get through tough times easily.

At the end of the fourth week of the FOSS OPW internship

During the last two weeks my main task was focused on making a FAQ page for Wikimedia Labs.  Adding a FAQ page was one of my suggestions on the proposal which was accepted for this project. Having a well answered FAQ is making things easy with new comers as well as existing contributors. To write an FAQ we must consider all the use cases of Wikimedia Labs. It will not only provide a good guidance and general idea about Wikimedia Labs, it will also provide help when a contributor wants some detail and don’t want to go through all the documents.

Writing a FAQ is not an easy task. You have to understand the whole project and from users perspective and think for the questions they might ask frequently. With the help of the my mentor I was able to create a set of questions as an initial version and improve it by adding and removing questions and adding better answers. When we add answers we have to go through all the documentation. The main problem I had was since this was a wiki there were some outdated data. So with the process of creating a FAQ we had to edit those wiki articles also to make them more updated.

Two weeks with Wikimedia Labs

As I have previously blogged I am doing an internship with Wikimedia Labs for FOSS OPW.  At the end of the two weeks I have learned many things from my internship. The first challenge I got is learning Semantic Form Extension.

Semantic Forms Extension is a highly tied in with Semantic MediaWiki Extension. It will let you easily add , edit and query data using forms in your wiki without any programming.

According to my plan the first two weeks of my internship was dedicated to having the getting started documentation redesigned and we are still discussing about changes done. As soon as  the things get decided we hope to get it all completed and move to the next phase.

Experience you get working with open source community is altogether a different one. You can get help via IRC channels and mailing list and every one is willing to help if you follow the proper etiquette.

FOSS OPW Intership Starts Today

Internship period for FOSS OPW starts today. Being a proud participant for round 8 with Wikimedia Foundation , my project is “Welcome to Labs – Welcoming new contributors to Wikimedia Labs and Tool Labs”.

Wikimedia Labs is a platform to volunteer and experimental development. It is a two part project Dev Labs and Tool Labs. The problem is Wikimedia labs currently face some difficulties in matching new contributors with existing projects. Also their documentation for newcomers needs improvement as well.

Purpose of this project is to have a complete set of newcomer getting started documentation set with complete project landing pages for a each project. Therefore when a new comer comes he/she has a directed guidance to find what are the existing projects and how to contribute to them or how to start a project from scratch. 

I will be blogging my progress throughout the project so await for more details ….