Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Google Amsterdam

When Tom learned that Douwe Osinga was in the Netherlands, it was a great opportunity to seek a meeting and learn what the time line is for Wave.

If one thing is clear, it is that by the end of September 100.000 people will gain access to the Wave environment. Beyond that a lot of hard work is still to be done to make Wave ready. For us in the MediaWiki Wave project, it is clear that we will not wait for the APIs that will be ready in "two weeks". What we can do is sanitise the existing code, and include new functionality like the syntax highlighter written by Kim. There are plenty of things we can add to our code, using MediaWiki authentication is one of them and we will.

When you meet people like Douwe, it is a great moment to ask and inform about the issues on our end as well. There are two key show stoppers that will prevent adoption of Wave in the Wikimedia Foundation they are:
  • Wave must be published open source
  • Wave must include internationalisation infrastructure
In the way Google is developing Wave, they want to provide a stable product that will provide people a stable basis for further development. Some of the software provides this basis and this allowed for our project while other parts are just not ready. This is a reasonable rationale but it is equaly understandable that the WMF will not adopt software that is not published open source.

Given that there are Wikipedias in over 250 languages, all software has to be internationalised. At this time, the core Wave functionality includes the message structures that provide the basic building blocks for internationalisation. It is not clear how these building blocks are to be used in our software. It is not yet clear how we will interface with the Wave data; in MediaWiki we distinguish between the language of the content and the language of the interface. Wave does allow for multiple languages in the content.

What will be interesting is how we will resolve the issues we have with projects that use incorrect language codes. This is an issue that the WMF should address anyway. The easiest option would be to support only those projects with advanced software that conform to the relevant standards.

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