Google Summer of Code/2009

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This page is only to be edited by student and mentors. *All* other changes will be reverted, however well meant. Use the talk page instead :)

Project plan

In this Summer of Code 2009 project, I will focus on the most relevant bugs and the most promising new features. Efficiency of the work flow both for the localisers and the administrators will have priority. In (2) and (3) the title of each task is used, and in (4) there is a detailed description of each task.

Translatewiki.net has its source code in the Wikimedia Foundation's SVN repository, and is licensed "GPL V2 or later".

Overview

I have divided the task into groups according to the effect they will have for better overview. Each feature also has a priority and estimated size in hours. Legend: F = feature, B = bug, C = check. The total amount of work is estimated 302 hours, which is two months of work 37.6 hours a week.

Translation performance and tools (154h)

  • P1 B (4h): Sometimes the edit area is filled with some translation, sometimes it is not
  • P2 F (20h): Basic language independent translation memory
  • P2 F (4h): User defined assistance languages
  • P2 F (40h): Editing of messages using AJAX
  • P2 F (18h) Fix plural handling in Gettext support
  • P3 F (2h): Add translation hint to fuzzy messages
  • P3 F (12h): Enable Gettext po file upload and submission through web UI
  • P3 F (2h): Add links to extension pages in mediawiki.org at Special:Translate.
  • P4 F (8h): Quotation consistency checking on language level
  • P4 F (24h): User defined fallback languages in MediaWiki
  • P4 F (20h): Edit message in multiple languages

Administration performance and tools (74h)

  • Done Done P1 F (10h): Export core special page aliases from command line
  • Done Done P1 F (10h): Check for conflicting special page alias translations
  • Done Done P1 B (1h): Special:Magic export fails when local underlying page is not present. Gives HTML output in form.
  • P2 F (40h): Tool to track changes in English messages with web processing to enable fuzzying and “incompatible with lower branch” tagging
  • Done Done P2 B (1h): Core-mostused group does not work on Windows
  • P4 C (4h): Audit the parsing of files in the extension for problems with newlines
  • P3 F (8h): Make extension message file parser output more informative error messages than just “failed”

Moving i18n forward (60h)

  • P2 F (20h): Add standard support for localisation of Magic words in MediaWiki extensions
  • Done Done P2 F (12h): Make it possible to blacklist messages from sanity checks, as some just should not be reported
  • P3 F (8h): Export for pages using tag translate, so that they can be copied to another instance of MediaWiki easily.
  • P4 F (20h): We should pull more data out of CLDR (time zone translations, country name translations)

General performance (14h)

  • Done Done P1 F (10h): Make message translation status checks fast
  • Done Done P2 F (2h): Fix the FIXMEs in Special:LanguageStats and make it faster
  • P2 F (2h): Create a special page with run-time statistics for a message group.

Schedule

The purpose of this schedule is to assign tasks to each week. It is used to track that project stays on schedule. Currently I aim to finish at least all non-P4 tasks.

Week 1 (36h)

  • 2h 2h P1 B (4h): Sometimes the edit area is filled with some translation, sometimes it is not
  • 4h 4h P1 F (10h): Export core special page aliases from command line
With namespaces and magic words free
  • ~33h ~33h P1 F (10h): Make message translation status checks fast
  • ~2h ~2h P2 F (2h): Fix the FIXMEs in Special:LanguageStats and make it faster
With help of Siebrand
  • P2 F (2h): Create a special page with real-time statistics for an extension group.
Still not fast enough. Postponed until we can fill the cache from command line scripts or something
  • P3 F (8h): Make extension message file parser output more informative error messages than just “failed”
Postponing this too. According to Duesentrieb we need a new parser for PHP message files. Fixed one case with wrong newlines, which is the hardest to detect.

The two above should be re-checked after Tim's work.

Week 2 (38h)

  • 10h 10h P2 F (20h): Add standard support for localisation of Magic words in MediaWiki extensions
A bit slow but works.
  • 20h 20h P2 F (12h): Make it possible to blacklist messages from sanity checks, as some just should not be reported
  • 0.5h 0.5h P1 B (1h): Special:AdvancedTranslate export fails when local underlying page is not present. Gives HTML output in form.
  • 15min 15min P2 B (1h): Core-mostused group does not work on Windows
  • ~4h ~4h P4 C (4h): Audit the parsing of files in the extension for problems with newlines

Week 3 (40h)

  • 20h 20h P2 F (40h): Editing of messages using AJAX
Prototype at least... could of course be improved further

Week 4 (38h)

  • 10h 10h P2 F (20h): Basic language independent translation memory
Just very basic, but currently I have no idea for improvements, except to automate the database creation
  • 3h 3h P2 F (18h): Fix plural handling in Gettext support
Needs manual intervention when plural is used for the first time, because I don't want to build a database of plural rules

Week 5 (34h)

  • 16h 16h P3 F (12h): Enable Gettext po file submission through web UI
  • 3h 3h P2 F (4h): User defined assistance languages
  • 2h 2h P3 F (8h): Export for pages using tag translate, so that they can be copied to another instance of MediaWiki easily.
There is now link in the toolbox, which links to Special:Export with all the pages. May be problems with GET-limit, but should work otherwise. – Nike 12:30, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 6h 6h P1 F (10h): Check for conflicting special page alias translations inside and between languages

Week 6 (36h)

  • P3 F (2h): Add translation hint to fuzzy messages
I've hesitating whether this is good solution at all, and to which problem.
  • 4h 4h P3 F (2h): Add links to extension pages in mediawiki.org at Special:Translate.
  • P4 F (24h): User defined fallback languages in MediaWiki
Would require massive changes even with the new localisation system. Unlikely to happen in this project.
  • P4 F (8h): Quotation consistency checking on language level

Week 7 (40h)

  • P2 F (40h): Tool to track changes in English messages with web processing to enable fuzzying and “incompatible with lower branch” tagging
Partly done, branch support missing.
Buggy. Does not work when trying to fuzzy

Week 8 (40h)

  • P4 F (20h): We should pull more data out of CLDR (time zone translations, country name translations)
  • P4 F (20h): Edit message in multiple languages

Detailed description

Translation performance and tools

The faster a translator can translate the more he can achieve in the same time. Even though quantity can make an effect, we should also support processes that ensure that the results are of good quality. This includes translation memories and term banks as well as a review process.

P1 B (2h) Sometimes the edit area contains some default text and sometimes it is empty when translating new messages. This causes confusion and conflicts with Google translation gadget.
Implementation plan: Decide or research what the default text should be or if it should be empty.
Deliverables: When translating new messages, the text area is consistently empty or contains some type of default value in all message groups.
P2 F (20h) Basic language independent translation memory. Translation memory should help with the fully or almost identical messages.
Implementation plan: Check up Pootle's translation memory tools. If they are suitable, integrate those into translation platform. Look for alternative pre-made solutions if needed. If nothing suitable is found, drop the task.
Deliverables: Automatic or semi-automatic creation of translation memory database for messages in given groups or all messages in one language. An interface which automatically or on request suggests translations from the database for message under translation. It does not need to understand anything about syntax, morphology or punctuation.
P2 F (4h) User defined assistance languages. These are the languages that are shown besides the definition of a message. The knowledge of languages vary from translator to translator and so does their preferences.
Implementation plan: Provide a global user setting and a way to set list of languages in Special:Preferences. Use this setting to choose the shown languages.
Deliverables: A new setting in the preferences page. When translating messages, this setting must be honoured if translations exist.
P2 F (40h) Editing of messages using AJAX. The major grieve in the current system is the need to jump of from the message list to a new edit page when translating a message. There is no easy way to get back to the message. Using AJAX there is no need to move users away from the message list.
Implementation plan: Consult if needed with MediaWiki developers a way to provide way to get edit page without extra stuff. Use AJAX to get this stuff and show it in a popup or similar on top of the current page.
Deliverables: Special:Translate does not throw users away from the list, if JavaScript is supported.
Risks: This needs changes in MediaWiki core, which needs to pass tight review for code quality and correctness. JavaScript is not a very strong language of the coder.
P2 F (18h) Fix plural handling in Gettext support. Plural entries need to be parsed and presented to the user.
Implementation plan: Edit Gettext handler to read plural entries. Then combine all plurals into one message. Edit Gettext handler to write plural entires in correct format, expanding them into multiple entries from one message.
Deliverables: Gettext files containing plural can be read, edited and exported without problems.
P3 F (2h) Add translation hint to fuzzy messages. Fuzzy messages are marked with a string “!!FUZZY!!”. New translators may be confused about the concept. Adding a helpful message should aid translators to act in desirable ways.
Implementation plan: Check if the edit area contains !!FUZZY!! and if it does, add a message to the existing information area.
Deliverables: A message shown for fuzzy messages, which describes the fuzzy concept and instructs how to update the message. The message should be translatable.
P3 F (12h) We currently allow exporting a message group into special po file for off-line translation using dedicated translation tools. It should be possible for trusted users to submit modified files using the web interface. Currently those files need first to be emailed and then an administrator with shell access imports the changes.
Implementation plan: Check if MediaWikis existing file uploading framework can be used. Provide a way for a privileged user to specify uploaded file or upload file which is then imported to the database. Because it is easy to accidentally cause a lot of damage, for example if the file is very old export, it should be restricted to certain users. Alternatively, allow anyone to upload the file, but require that someone privileged checks if the file is OK and then applies it trough the web interface.
Deliverables: Possibility to upload the special Gettext po files that are exported from the translation system. Possibility for check what is changed in the files and way to apply those changes. Invalid files or files not in the special format should be detected.
P3 F (2h) Add links to extension pages in mediawiki.org at Special
Translate. As the *-desc messages are used for message descriptions, there is no place to add links to mediawiki.org. In the message listing, the header contains message name and it could be made a link.
Implementation plan: Make a way for message groups to provide link with more information and display it somewhere in the interface.
Deliverables: Link to the mediawiki.org pages if any for MediaWiki extensions.
P4 F (8h) Quotation consistency checking on language level. Consistent quotation helps in consistency and gives a better touch. The quotation can vary between languages and even inside languages.
Implementation plan: Check if there is database of quoting styles used by languages, for example in CLDR. Estimate the number of quotes in messages that should not be localised. If the amount is low enough for this feature to be useful as-is, or with the help of the ability of blacklisting individual checks per messages, do it. Otherwise document the problems and why it is not feasible to do at this point of time.
Deliverables: A manual or extracted database of quoting styles, and warnings when other style of quotes are used in a translation.
P4 F (24h) User defined fallback languages in MediaWiki. Even though there is a tendency that Finnish speakers can understand Swedish – because it is a national language of Finland – there is variation between the skills and preferences of individuals. For example, KDE allows user to set their preferred fallback chain for missing translations.
Implementation plan: Make a user preference for fallback languages. Make the message getting functions to prefer this chain over the predefined.
Deliverables: A user setting and documentation.
Risk: This needs changes in MediaWiki proper and its message getting functions, which are very critical. The code needs to pass tight review for code quality and correctness.
P4 F (20h) Allow editing one message in multiple languages. This is a feature for people working in multiple language variants which differ mostly in script like latin or cyrillic.
Implementation plan: Provide a primary or an alternative interface to Special:Translate for editing one message in multiple languages simultaneously.
Deliverables: A way to edit one message in multiple languages simultaneously.

Administration performance and tools

Administrators run the whole platform. Without administrators translators work is nothing. Translations need to be exported, source definitions updated, external translations imported and many other tasks. It is of very high importance to minimise the time needed for repetitive tasks.

P1 F (10h) Currently exporting MediaWiki's special page aliases is slow manual work, which is away from other things an administrator has to do. Exporting these should be automated like other mass exports.
Implementation plan: Adapt the existing export classes to be able to replace any variable definition in the message files. Write a command line script similar which updates alias definitions.
Deliverables: A command line script similar to the one which exports extensions' aliases.
P1 F (10h) Check for conflicting special page alias translations inside and between languages. If two different pages have a same alias, one of those will not work. It is important to make sure no such errors are committed into version control system. There is already some in-language checks for duplicate translations, but they are only shown as comments on export. Asking translators to fix them is slow and delays updates. It should not be possible to make such errors in the first place.
Implementation plan: Edit the special page to show warnings when such condition is detected or even disallow saving changes until it is fixed.
Deliverables: Translatable warnings and optionally such changes cannot be saved any more.
P1 B (1h) Special
Magic export fails when local underlying page is not present. It gives HTML output in form, which breaks the page source very badly.
Implementation plan: Fix the use of Xml-functions.
Deliverables: The error condition does not appear any more
P2 F (40h) Implement a tool to track changes in English messages with web processing to enable fuzzying and “incompatible with lower branch” tagging.
Implementation plan: Special page could be implemented for listing recent changes to English messages with different actions.
Deliverables: Web-based interface for doing the administration tasks which are needed due to source messages changing. These include fuzzying translations and making sure we do not back-port incompatible changes to older versions.
P2 B (1h) Core-mostused group does not work on Windows. This is probably due handling of newlines, which are different on Windows.
Implementation plan: Check if this is the case and fix it.
Deliverables: Core-mostused group works on Windows platform too.
P4 C (4h) Audit the parsing of files in the extension for problems with newlines. There are multiple places where files are handled.
Implementation plan: Check the occurrences of file handling functions like fopen and file_get_contents, their modes and any regular expressions or other functions that handle the data.
Deliverables: Every instance is checked for correct handling. There is no known bugs due to parsing of newlines.
P3 F (8h) Make extension message file parser output more informative error messages than just “failed”. Currently it is very hard to figure out why the parsing might have failed.
Implementation plan: Edit the code to add sanity checks which can report with higher precision what is wrong with the file.
Deliverables: Improved error messages.

Moving i18n forward

MediaWiki's i18n support is high quality. However as time passes, new requirements are put for the software. This is because new languages are added and people's expectation grow more demanding. We must continue improving our i18n support.

P2 F (20h) Add a standard support for localisation of Magic words in MediaWiki extensions. It is already supported for core. It should be noted that localisation of Magic words is not uncontroversial, but some languages still want to do it, especially right-to-left languages.
Implementation plan: Mirror the implementation of localised extension aliases for extensions. It uses a global for registering translation files. Then add support to this extension for translating them.
Deliverables: A standard way for extensions to register Magic words for translation. Support for translating them in this extension.
P2 F (12h) Make it possible to blacklist messages from sanity checks, as some of them are always false positives. Messages tagged as such will stay on the list of problematic messages and hinder translators ability to find messages which need to be fixed. There two main reasons for blacklisting checks
1) a given language doesn't use particular feature like support for multiple plurals. 2) The message is in some way special and should exempt some particular check in all languages. Blacklisting both should be supported.
Implementation plan: Decide where and in which format blacklist entries are stored. Text file, php code or in a wiki page. Type 2 exempts would naturally go with the message groups they belong to, but on the other hand it may be reasonable to have all exemptions at one place. Design a syntax and parser for it. Make the checking framework aware of it.
Deliverables: A place and syntax to disable some checks for reasons 1 and 2. It should be intuitive enough for non-programmes to be able to use it without too many difficulties.
P3 F (8h) A way to export for pages using tag translate, so that they can be copied to another instance of MediaWiki easily. This means that translated pages can be exported in standard wikicode which does not depend on Translate extensions.
Implementation plan: Provide source for such pages and strip incompatible mark-up if needed.
Deliverables: Accessible page source code in wikitext.
P4 F (20h) We should pull more data out of CLDR, like for example time zone translations and country name translations. Having this data in matrix of hundreds of languages is enormous amount of work, and it makes no sense to have translators to do it again for every project that exists.
Implementation plan: The CLDR data is provided at least in XML format, and the relevant data just needs to be extracted from those. Things like poor coverage and errors of the data and conflicting use of language codes may need ways to map language codes and local overrides.
Deliverables: A facility to query data like time zone names in addition to the current ability to query language names. It is reasonable to expect that MediaWiki itself wont use this data immediately due its shortcomings.

General performance

Poor performance limits what we can do with things. Sometimes performance can be achieved by caching, but sometimes there is other ways like better algorithms or better data formats.

P1 F (10h) Make message translation status checks fast. There must be way to query messages' translation status without loading the revision text for it. Currently this is done to check the existence of fuzzy tag.
Implementation plan: Research and decide how store message status efficiently and if it needs to be cached separately. Possible alternatives include the recently added functionality of tagging revisions and making fuzzy tag a template which puts the message in a special category.
Deliverables: Checking translation statistics for hundreds of groups should be fast enough for single web request.
P2 F (2h) Fix the FIXMEs in Special
LanguageStats and make it fast.
Implementation plan: Once the status is fast to query, the special page should be fast with small changes only.
Deliverables: The statistics loads in less than few seconds compared to the about 10 seconds currently.
P2 F (2h) Create a special page with run-time statistics for a message group.
Implementation plan: We already have similar special pages to look for examples.
Deliverables: Maintainers can see the localisation status of their message group(s?) and administrators can easily perform maintenance on all languages for one message group.