In lieu of attending maybe the hottest conference ever I did a bit of wiki twiddling this weekend. I submitted a tiny patch (well that was almost two weeks ago — time flies), upgraded a private MediaWiki installation from 1.2.4 to 1.6.8 and a public installation from 1.5.6 to 1.6.8 and worked on a small private extension, adding to some documentation before running into a problem.
1.2.4->1.6.8 was tedious (basically four successive major version upgrades) but trouble-free, as that installation has almost no customization. The 1.5.6->1.6.8 upgrade, although only a single upgrade, took a little fiddling make a custom skin and permissions account for small changes in MediaWiki code (example). I’m not complaining — clean upgrades are hard and the MediaWiki developers have done a great job of making them relatively painless.
Saturday I attended part of WordCamp, a one day unconference for WordPress users. Up until the day before the tentative schedule looked pretty interesting but it seems lots of
lusers signed up so the final schedule didn’t have much meat for developers. Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word” and Q&A hit on clean upgrade of highly customized sites from several angles. Some ideas include better and better documented plugin and skin APIs with more metadata and less coupling (e.g., widgets should help many common cases that previously required throwing junk in templates).
Beyond the purely practical, ease of customization and upgrade is important for openness.