Wikipedia's new editing system, and how you can use it too

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B201


Learn about Wikimedia's new OSS Javascript visual editor for HTML, how it works and how you can use it in your Web projects


Wikipedia is “the free encyclopædia that anyone[citation needed] can edit”. We know from research, however, that most people can’t edit, and so we, a team from the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikia, are building a visual editor to bridge the gap. This is particularly challenging because MediaWiki’s syntax, wikitext, is a superset of HTML and Wikipedia’s content is so complex.

In the two years that we have been working on this project, we have encountered some unique challenges posed by creating an editor for wikitext and deploying it to an enormous corpus of existing articles have led us to push the limits of Web browsers, JavaScript, parsers and our own creativity.

At OS Bridge 2013, we will be a few days away from having VisualEditor be the default way people edit all Wikipedias in all languages. It has come a long way since the demonstration version we showed at OS Bridge 2012. It provides a simple way to create and edit articles, from tiny stubs to mature and complex articles, while still allowing experienced editors to use the old wikitext editor if they want to. With an eye to the future, we have also been carefully preparing the way for the later addition of real-time collaborative editing.

One of the key objectives of the VisualEditor has been to de-couple the Javascript editor from MediaWiki. We want VisualEditor to be the best possible HTML editor out there, so great that other Web applications want to use it too. To achieve this there are extensive possibilities for plugins to edit new forms of content, and how it can integrate with other platforms.

Trevor and Roan will talk about and show off the work we’ve done, the decisions we made and the issues we worry about. We will ask you what you think, how you might use it, and what more we can do to make VisualEditor the best HTML editor on the Web, whilst making editing Wikipedia – and all our wikis – truly open to everyone.

Speaking experience

Roan and Trevor both spoke about the VisualEditor at OS Bridge 2012. They have extensive experience at presenting on technical development subjects, having spoken at events around the world.