jarry1250 at gmail
Aug 21, 2012, 7:04 AM
Post #1 of 3
Hey all. The following is a (admittedly rather thorough) "wrapup"
GSoC wrapup report: TranslateSvg
report on my Google Summer of Code project entitled: "TranslateSvg:
bringing the translation revolution to Wikimedia Commons". TL;DR: I'm
On 9 July 2011, South Sudan declared independence, and during that
buzz, an Italian Wikimedian found his map showing the borders of the
new nation had been translated into a dozen other languages, among
them English, Greek, Catalan, and Macedonian. These copies were then
uploaded onto Wikimedia Commons as separate files. Of course, one
would expect the map to change significantly over the next decade.
More often than not, these kinds of change are picked up first by
editors of the larger projects, who rapidly update their own versions
of the map. To do so takes, say, 20 minutes; but to replicate that
same change across Catalan, Greek, Macedonian? Hours of work – and
dozens of separate uploads.
My project, named "TranslateSvg", aimed to change this workflow – for
SVG format files at least – firstly by making it easier to translate
those files (thus reducing the all-too-common sight of
English-language diagrams in use on non-English wikis), and secondly
by embedding the new translations within the same SVG file. When
boundaries change, a single update will propagate to all language
versions instantly. That was the intent, anyhow.
Overall, a lot has been achieved: a test wiki was set up, and, if I
load the bleeding edge code onto it, the software is both feature
complete and has been updated in line with user comments. The video at
 gives a good idea of the current interface and how it works; I'll
send another message to this list when the test wiki reliably uses
feature complete code.
The most pleasing (and indeed satisfying) thing, however, is that
nothing I wanted to achieve was "left behind". Admittedly, a few
things aren't quite as polished as I'd like them to be, and there are
still a few weeks' worth of code review left to do. But fundamentally,
it is (or will be) what I want it to be. Mostly, I attribute this to
some prototyping work I did before I pitched for GSoC, which allowed
me to come up with a plan I knew to be doable (or more accurately,
doable by me), which avoided the costs of running into deadends late
in the process.
Once code review is complete, there'll be at least one more testing
phase, this time with specific questions, followed by a pitch by me to
Wikimedia Commons. Only after that will I even utter the "d" word in
the context of TranslateSvg.
I ended up with quite an unusual mentoring setup. In the end, the work
of mentoring me ended up being split between my official mentor for
the project, Max Semenik (MaxSem) and the original author of the
Translate extension (which, early on in the project, I decided to use
as a foundation for my work) Niklas Laxström. Both have been very
helpful, especially with code review and generally "keeping an eye on
me", with Niklas (I think it's fair to say) taking the lead in places
due to his specialised knowledge. Actually, this worked out well, but
my advice to potential applicants would be to think about mentor
choice carefully, considering what support they'd need *from their
mentor* and what they might instead be able to source *from the
community in general* in order to avoid overloading their mentor. We
have a great community, and thankfully I knew quite a few people
already, so I could tap that more easily.
Of course, I am greatly indebted to both Max and Niklas, as well as
the literally dozens of people who at some point contributed via IRC
(there's another protip---get on IRC early! *Such* a useful resource).
Just off the top of my head, that list includes Andrew and Ryan for
the Labs stuff (which turned out to be the most challenging aspect of
the summer, mostly because I hadn't considered it at all before ),
omnipresence, especially when a quick review was needed, Federico,
Amir and all the other potential users of the extension who tried it
out, plus of course Sumana and Greg for keeping the whole thing going.
There are plenty of other people I've forgotten, I'm sure: there are
simply far too many to properly remember.
Once again, thanks everyone and I hope to keep you posted over the
coming months about further progress.
Harry Burt (User:Jarry1250)
 I think this is particularly worth flagging up because I can't be
the only student whose experience lay with PHP (etc.) programming
rather than system administration. Thus, it was probably worth
thinking about this earlier and thus coming up with a considered plan
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