David McCabe's Summer of Code Blog

I was accepted into Summer of Code 2006 to implement a new discussion system in MediaWiki. This is my story.

Friday, May 26, 2006



The day after the announcement, I was pretty much dead to the world. The stress and lack of sleep and excitement prevented me from getting anything done. My family was kind enough to take me out to dinner, though.

The new student mailing list already has over 500 messages in 45 threads, most of it drivel (which, I confess, I helped to instigate).

I'm trying to balance SoC and school (which ends June 15th), so no code yet. Hopefully I'll have something neat for you to look at by Monday. At present I'm working out the database schema and figuring out the best way to integrate the code -- MediaWiki's API is, shall we say, multifaceted.

Suggestions on the URL scheme would be most welcome.

As to the naming scheme, probably the method which will violate the "Principle of Least Surprise" the least would be to make it looks like sub-pages already do in Mediawiki...

You could give threads names (or numeric IDs by default), and identify messages within by some other ID, maybe a time-stamp combined with the user's ID/IP for uniqueness.
Although subpages would be the preferred manner for a new special page, there might be some problems integrating it into a Talk page.

Besides hooking it in to MediaWiki (while Special Pages make passing everything after the slash easy, I'm not that sure about talk pages), there could be collisions if you need to keep the old talk pages hanging around.

However, making them subpages does have a significant aesthetic appeal. I would imagine it would look like this:


I would strongly advocate meaningful titles as opposed to numeric IDs. MediaWiki follows a strong convention of using unique meaningful ids for the interface while keeping a non-meaningful integer id inside. Also, I don't think paginating the discussion would be beneficial (it would definitely make linking to posts easier).

(cross posted to [[Talk:LiquidThreads]])
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