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Disable mobile beta mode (for now)
Open, MediumPublic3 Story Points


We should disable the beta mode and its features via a config change to simplify the mobile site going into desktop refresh.


The mobile beta mode currently has 2 features enabled:

  1. jump to top (added Sept 2015 Bug: T98701, Change-Id: I11a8ccb1e701644dcb328bfec9fe346f75ae1b71)
  2. categories (added January 2015, Bug:T86496) available only to logged in users

The last time features were promoted from beta to stable was an addition of the contributions button to the main menu in August 2016 T141787). On top of this a share feature was added in Oct 2018 but never enabled for users.

We should disable the beta for the time being for the following reasons:

  • The addition of the share feature (and it's lack of enabling in production) suggests that the beta is not well understood.
  • The fact two features added in 2015 have not been promoted to stable in 4 years yet are subject to bugs is concerning
  • It's hard to justify maintaining the code for this feature given its lack of use and in particular the addition of the new AMC mode.
  • About 100 people are added to beta a day:
  • We continue to maintain this code and have to take it into account in all bug reports and QA steps.
  • It's not clear when opting into Advanced mobile contributions mode what a user is getting.
  • It's not clear to developers/QA testers how advanced mobile contributions mode differs from stable.
  • We are about to start desktop refresh and potentially freeze the mobile site. Keeping it as simplified as possible going into that project seems sensible.

acceptance criteria

  • Remove back to top code and the associated feature flag wgMinervaEnableBackToTop (it's useful but doesn't really fit AMC and doesn't fit in with our long term plan)
  • Put the categories feature in AMC mode.
  • Disable the beta mode

QA steps

  • A categories button shows at the bottom of all pages. Clicking it opens an overlay that shows the categories on the page.
  • Make sure there is no beta toggle on Special:MobileOptions

Developer notes

This is a config only change

wgMFEnableBeta = false;
wgMinervaShowCategoriesButton['amc'] = true;

Additional notes

  • If we don't want to put the back to top feature in AMC mode, we might want to turn it into a gadget.
  • If wanted, we could later simplify the categories feature to work like desktop (a link of plain links)


Related Gerrit Patches:
mediawiki/skins/MinervaNeue : master[WIP] Discontinue back-to-top feature
mediawiki/skins/MinervaNeue : masterEnable Categories button in AMC

Event Timeline

Jdlrobson created this task.Nov 4 2019, 6:00 PM
Restricted Application added subscribers: Masumrezarock100, Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptNov 4 2019, 6:00 PM
ovasileva triaged this task as Medium priority.Nov 4 2019, 7:16 PM
ovasileva updated the task description. (Show Details)
Krenair renamed this task from Disable beta (for now) to Disable mobile beta mode (for now).Nov 4 2019, 7:28 PM
Krenair added a subscriber: Krenair.

Change 548573 had a related patch set uploaded (by Ammarpad; owner: Ammarpad):
[mediawiki/skins/MinervaNeue@master] Enable Back-to-top and Categories button in AMC

Ammarpad added a subscriber: Ammarpad.

I started working on it

If we don't want to put the back to top feature in AMC mode, we might want to turn it into a gadget.

That would mean we would need to deploy the gadget across all Wikimedia projects. Adding definitions and creating JS pages, too much work, don't you think? Besides gadgets don't work without JS (except CSS only gadgets).

Masumrezarock100 added a subscriber: Johan.

This will likely affect most of the mobile users. @Johan should we announce this in the next Tech news?

Johan added a comment.Nov 5 2019, 11:07 AM

When would this happen?

Made a note in the task description as well. I'm not sure back to top makes sense as a part of AMC (as it's not an editing-focused workflow). That, given the bugs with it overlapping other things make me think that it's best to remove it for now. We'll have a better version of navigation once we get to making the sticky headers work(T151115: [EPIC] Improve in-article navigation), although admittedly that won't be in the near future.

@Ammarpad, @Masumrezarock100 it sounds like the core web team need to chat about this and make some decisions before pushing forward with the change. @Johan I'll let you know when that's happened and move this out the "upcoming" column which allows us to have that discussion.

Jdlrobson moved this task from Inbox to Next up on the User-Jdlrobson board.
Jdlrobson updated the task description. (Show Details)Nov 5 2019, 6:31 PM
ovasileva set the point value for this task to 3.Nov 5 2019, 6:32 PM

@Johan we've had the chat: looks like we will be aiming for the week of 18th November (no train up until then). The user notice should be something along these lines.
"The mobile beta mode has been disabled for the forseeable future, to reduce the maintenance burden of the mobile site, in preparation for the team's focus on the desktop improvements project. Disruption should be minimal - users wanting the categories feature should enable the AMC mode. A jump back to top feature has been removed and should be replaced with [[ | a gadget/user script ]]if necessary."

@Ammarpad the plan is now to remove the back to top code and associated feature flag. You should feel free to continue your patch!

@Ammarpad the plan is now to remove the back to top code and associated feature flag. You should feel free to continue your patch!

Noted. Thanks

Johan added a comment.Nov 7 2019, 1:25 PM

@Jdlrobson Thank you. Simplified the sentence structure and added it to which will be delivered to the wikis on Monday November 18.

Change 549698 had a related patch set uploaded (by Ammarpad; owner: Ammarpad):
[mediawiki/skins/MinervaNeue@master] Discontinue back-to-top feature

Change 548573 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/skins/MinervaNeue@master] Enable Categories button in AMC