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Tackling Technical Debt, big and small, in Wikidata and Wikibase

If you’re working with legacy code, chances are you’ve inherited some technical debt. Infact, if you’re working with code, chances you’re already surrounded by technical debt of varying sizes, at least by some measures.

Some believe that technical debt is something to be avoided, and that technical debt that exists is a dirty secret that should be hidden. The reality is that technical debt is a fact of life when code iteratively changes to deliver product solutions.

Striving for programming perfection is great in principle, but ultimately code is meant to deliver features, and there is always a good, better and best approach, with many other variations in-between.

Over the last year at Wikimedia Deutschland we have worked on refining how we record, triage, prioritize and tackle technical debt within the Wikidata and Wikibase product family.

There are many thoughts out there about how to track, tackle, and prioritize technical debt. This post is meant to represent the current status of the Wikidata / Wikibase team. Hopefully you find this useful.

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Tech Lead Digest – Q2 2021

This is the second installment of my tech lead digest digest with my tech lead hat on for the Wikidata Wikibase team.

This is a digest of my internal digest emails. These contain lots of links to reading, podcasts and general goings on that could be useful to a wider audience.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑Wikidata & Wikibase

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Tech Lead Digest – Q1 2021

At some point last year I started sending a weekly internal digest to the Wikidata Wikibase team with my tech lead hat on.

The emails are internal only but contain lots of links to reading, podcasts and general goings on that could be useful to everyone.

So here is my first Wikidata Wikibase tech lead digest digest!

🧑‍🤝‍🧑Wikidata & Wikibase

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WBStack 2020 Update 1

WBStack has now been up and running for 6 months. During that time it has helped 70 people create 178 MediaWiki installs running Wikibase, a SPARQL query service and quickstatements, all at the click of a button, with a total of around 200,000 edits across all sites.

The most active site is currently virus-taxonomy.wiki.opencura.com which was developed during the Virtual Biohackathon on COVID-19 as a staging environment for “improving the taxonomy of viruses on Wikidata”. It currently stands at 20,000 edits, around 7000 Items.

Screenshot of the virus-taxonomy Wikibase Main Page, 19 April 2020

Thanks again to Rhizome, who run their very own Wikibase, for their support paying the Google Cloud bill in the early stages of this project.

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The RevisionSlider

The RevisionSlider is an extension for MediaWiki that has just been deployed on all Wikipedias and other Wikimedia websites as a beta feature. The extension was developed by Wikimedia Germany as part of their focus on technical wishes of the German speaking Wikimedia community. This post will look at the RevisionSliders design, development and use so far.

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WMDE: Metrics & Data Gatherings

Below you will find an internal WMDE presentation covering the general area of WMDE Metric & Data Gatherings from 2016.

This presentation follows on from the initial introduction to engineering analytics activities.

The presentation skims through:

  • WMDE Grafana dashboards
  • The Wikimedia Analytics landscape
  • Grafana & graphite
  • Hadoop, Kafka, Hive & Oozie
  • EventLogging, Mysql replicas & MediaWiki logs
  • Out Analytics scripts
  • How to get access

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