As a Wikidata tool author, I often need to render a lot of entity ID references to the user, in a readable form (e. g. using their labels).
Currently, I have two options for this, each with advantages and drawbacks.
- I can use the wbgetentities API to fetch the relevant information for all the entities I need. The big advantage of this API is that it lets me retrieve information for up to 50 entities at once, which cuts down on a lot of network requests. But all I get is raw entity data, nothing I can directly show to the user: this is bad enough if I’m just interested in items and properties (it means I have to go through the labels and implement language fallbacks myself) and even worse if I want to support all entity types (which means I need to rebuild Wikibase’ logic to render lexemes using their lemmas, forms using their representations, senses using their glosses and their lexeme’s lemmas (did I even download these?), etc.).
- I can use the wbformatvalue API to render a single datavalue into wikitext or HTML. Here, Wikibase does all the work for me – I just have to deal with the slightly baroque input format (provide a full datavalue instead of a plain entity ID), and I still need to know which entity type the ID refers to in order to provide the datatype argument. But the big problem with this is that I can only render one entity ID per API call: if I want to render 100 entity IDs, I need to make 100 network requests.
I think a combination of these – an API that accepts a list of entity IDs and formats them like entity ID data values – would be useful to a lot of tools.
(wb_terms is another option for server-side Toolforge-based tools, but we’re migrating away from that anyways, see T198866.)
Tools that I think could benefit from this include:
- QuickStatements (batch view)
- Wikidata Graph Builder (graph node labels)
- Wikidata Recent Changes (“title” of changed pages)
- Wikidata Vandalism Dashboard (ditto)
- Wikidata Reconciliation / OpenRefine (reconciliation results)
- TABernacle (entity ID cells)
- Wikidata Image Positions (depicted items)
- possibly some other tools that currently use wb_terms for this, see T197161
- Should this API also support mass-rendering other types of datavalues (quantities, dates, etc.)? But I don’t see how to accommodate that with a simple API.