UserBase and TechBase: Achievements and Challenges

Finally I took the time to do some long-standing maintenance work on UserBase, our home for KDE users and enthusiasts and TechBase, our page for Admins and Developers, based on MediaWiki technology, for everyone to particilate

  • MediaWiki bumped to v14 (SVN)
  • True MultiHoming, lowers meantime between updates.
  • Case insensitive search for short words (i.e. ‘kde”) works
  • Search-as-you-type works
  • If a site search fails, you can now use other search engines to search the sites in a second pass.
  • TechBase and UserBase can now be added as search providers for e.g. FireFox and IE 8.
  • All wikis have been moved to a centralized unprivileged account on the server, so interested contributors can get shell access.
  • Finally: UserBase now allows normal logins next to OpenID logins

I changed away from exclusive OpenID logins minly because of two reasons: firstly, it seems there are just too many people who reject to the idea of a “unified login provider” (with the chance of their password leaking here and there once in a while). Secondly, not all OpenID providers seem to work perfectly. Interoperability is an important factor, but we are not there yet. Still, OpenID will remain an option for now. KDE support OpenID for a wide range of other sites such as the KDE Dot News or the KDE developers blogging platform.

But there is a lot of challenges ahead, from both the admin and the content side: That is why I renew my call for contributors and web developers to help UserBase and TechBase:

We need more solid i18n: Users should be able to dynamically switch the language of MediaWiki or possible be provisioned with the right language based on their browser settings or their IP (-> Geo IP). Also, the content should be delivered in a native language. Work in the MediaWiki community is on the way, but we need more dedicated people, as I am likely to have less and less time for these things due to my day job at Qt Software. If you are interested, please leave a comment.

Concerning the content, Lydia and the CWG are pushing for more content on UserBase, and TechBase needs more love from the content point of view. That is because although we do have a lot of information, it is not organized in a problem oriented way: Say for example you are an admin who wants to know how to pre set default settings: We do have details on the Kiosk Mode and other facilities, but most people will not know what a Kiosk Mode is. A FAQ style page (“How do I…”) would be helpful and provide more value to its users. If anyone is interested in solving this problem, please also leave a comment.

1 Comment on “UserBase and TechBase: Achievements and Challenges

  1. Following up on my last post, I wanted to note that since a few weeks, KDE Dot News is back on its old server. Just like before the move to Drupal, after a short visit to Immanuel in Munich, it is hosted at Oregon State’s Open Source Labs (OSUOSL), along