Type of activity: Pre-scheduled session
Main topic: "How to grow our technical community", maybe
We all know that MediaWiki is ideal software for creating massive, open knowledge stores. But there exist various extensions - mostly developed outside the Wikimedia Foundation - that make MediaWiki ideal for other, smaller purposes as well. I collectively refer to such extensions as "Enterprise MediaWiki", since they can be used internally by organizations for various data management purposes. Chief among these, in my opinion, is an extension that I'm the main author of: Page Forms, known until very recently as Semantic Forms, which lets you create and edit wiki pages via pre-defined forms. Another two are Cargo and Semantic MediaWiki, which both let you store and query the structured data within wiki pages. The two are quite similar to one another, though believe Cargo, which is newer (and which I'm also the main author of) is the superior extension.
These extensions, and some others that are often used in conjunction with them, are in use by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of organizations, including major companies (GE, JP Morgan, etc.) and major governmental and quasi-governmental organizations (NATO, NASA, etc.). They're also in use within the Wikimedia Foundation, although to a more limited extent than they could be.
There are various ways that the WMF could be making greater use of "Enterprise MediaWiki":
- Extension management on mediawiki.org: these extensions would make finding extensions (say, notification extensions that work with MW 1.25) simple instead of arduous.
- Viewing events in calendars: this can easily be done in MediaWiki (on mediawiki.org, Meta or both) using these tools.
- Event and conference management: there's no reason the planning for an event like this one needs to be shoehorned into task-management software like Phabricator; using Page Forms would allow for less-hacky custom forms for talk proposals and the like. Similarly, events like Wikimania that already use MediaWiki could benefit from greater structure for data entry and data viewing.
- Others. There's no shortage of other potential uses for these extensions within the WMF. Not to pick on a random project, but one I happen to know about is the Wikipedia Library Card Platform project. I think they should have gone with MediaWiki and some of the extensions I mentioned, but they instead decided to create a custom solution. I believe the project was supposed to be done in February 2016; I don't know what the current status is, but it's not yet done at the time of this writing. I still think they'd be better off switching to MediaWiki, even given all the work that's been put in already.
- Increase ease of data entry, findability, calendaring etc. on Wikimedia sites like mediawiki.org and the Wikimania sites.
- Decrease creation and use of custom, limited-purpose software.
Current status of the discussion
No real discussion about this at the moment.
- https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:External_Data - another potentially useful "Enterprise MediaWiki" extension
- T48704 - discussion of extension management on mediawiki.org
- T1035 - discussion of calendaring for Wikimedia
- T102048 - Wikipedia Library Card Platform project; currently nine months behind schedule?