Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wikimedia Berlin Hackathon 2012


Better late than never:) Exactly one month ago I had a chance to be present at Wikimedia Berlin Hackathon 2012. To be short - the event was really great. If you have ever tried to do some programming for Wikipedia or to MediaWiki in general, I'm sure you would find interesting talks for you. And you may find them now - videos from some of those talks are available on the Vimeo channel of Wikimedia Deutschland. Later they should appear on Wikimedia Commons also.

First presentation that was the most interesting for me was about using Lua for developing templates. Now MediaWiki (and thus Wikipedia) uses own domain-specific markup language for creating reusable parts (templates) of pages (articles, help pages, whatever). Being declarative language, it puts some restrictions for template creators. Lua introduces imperative programming instead. I already can see how some quite complex templates can be simplified a lot. Cannot wait when the Lua support will be included into the new MediaWiki release and deployed to Wikipedia:)

You can watch videos of the Lua presentation here or here. Try it at

Other very interesting talk for me was about new features of ResourceLoader (the delivery system in MediaWiki for the optimized loading and managing of modules). Better management, better localization, better code sharing. Of course, I doubt that it could be exciting for you, if you have never dealt with development of gadgets for MediaWiki. If you did, check the presentation slides. Too bad that the video recording is still not available. I hope it will.

I was unlucky to catch a cold in Berlin, so I didn't attend all talks at the event. You know, the weather in Berlin with about 15°C, cold wind and sometimes rain was too cold for a guy who came there from sunny Crete:) Still I managed to do also some sightseeing in Berlin, including the huge Berlin Zoo and the also huge German Museum of Technology. Last one was right near the Berlin Hackathon venue and definitely worth visiting. Check it if you will ever be in Berlin, you will find a lot of exciting stuff there.

At last I was to thank Wikimedia Foundation and Sumana Harihareswara in particular for the invitation to attend the event and for the travel support as well. Thank you for the great time in Berlin!