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Placeholder task for skins work
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Tnegrin raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.
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Mainframe98 changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Mar 25 2021, 12:54 PM
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@Tnegrin Has anything been accomplished? This task has laid dormant for over five years and I cannot access the mailing list archive to confirm any progress has been made.

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For those who have access the subject is [reading-wmf] Future work idea: skin system and in the e-mail @bd808 describes a skin system and points to us doing T483 (which is now done) with replies from myself and @Tgr .

This placeholder task is probably not helpful, so being bold and resolving, but I would welcome @bd808 and @Tgr taking a fresh look at the skin system as it is now (maybe trying the tool at for some inspiration) and opening any new tasks on reflection of that email conversation compared with where we are now. :)

Nothing secret in what I wrote in the email that @Jdlrobson mentioned, so I'll happily share it here for others:

From: Bryan Davis <>
Date: Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 9:58 AM
Subject: Future work idea: skin system
To: Internal communication for WMF Reading team <>

I added these bits to the Q1 brainstorming etherpad today:

* Begin researching skin system revamp with primary goal of describing
a "better" skin system that allows easier skin creation and responsive
** Better support for extensions adding widgets to skin in a manner
that gives the skin control of presentation (eg Echo, watchlist
enahancements, etc)
** Better support for template based skin layouts
** Easier to make and distribute a skin in general
** Better support for layouts that aren't just Monobook/Vector with a
small amount of CSS/JS added on
** (perfect world) Ability to replace MobileFE with a non-traditional
devices skin
** Will require collaboration with other teams and the community
** At least one RfC would be needed

I haven't tried making a new skin in ages (like 7 years?) and I'm not
familiar with the guts of the Mobile Frontend extension. I have heard
lots of smart people talk over the last couple of years about how hard
making a skin can be and how useless it it to make a skin that doesn't
start off as a fork of Monobook/Vector as many/most/all? extensions
that introduce new UI components will not know how to add themselves
to your skin. On Wikimiedia properties and industry wide the page view
trend is skewing more and more to non-traditional devices (eg
"mobile"). Lila made several speeches over the last year that declared
that we should be thinking mobile first across the movement. Having an
ability to create responsive skins that expose the full functionality
of the wiki seems to me to be a necessary component of such a push.
The current process of implementing UI features in 4 places (Vector,
MobileFE, Android, iOS) doesn't scale.

A related but separate project would be to start serious work on (RfC: Allow styling in
templates) which could unblock community transition from tables to
semantic markup for many widely used templates. Moving away from
tables to semantic markup that can be styled by the skin for infoboxes
and other Template:Sidebar content would be another huge leap forward
for responsive presentation. It would be technically possible to do
this without per-template CSS, but I think adoption would go easier
and greater flexibility would be achieved if CSS styling was available
when work on this was begun by the community.

Bryan Davis              Wikimedia Foundation    <>
[[m:User:BDavis_(WMF)]]  Sr Software Engineer            Boise, ID USA
irc: bd808                                        v:415.839.6885 x6855