Wikipedia readies interface revamp

Wikipedia will begin rolling out a raft of interface changes over the next few weeks intended to “make it easier to find and contribute knowledge” to the site.

Wikipedia readies interface revamp

At the heart of the revamp is a new theme called Vector that simplifies the page layout, shifts the search bar into the top right-hand corner of the screen, and makes the site more standards compliant – ensuring it works with “different resolutions, browser formats, and window sizings.”

A new editing toolbar should make it easier to insert links and tables into articles, and access the more advanced editing tools. The changes will also extend the ability to create PDFs from Wikipedia articles to all users – a service that was previously only available to registered users.

The revamped interface has been in beta for the last six months, and Wikimedia – the body which owns and operates Wikipedia – claims it has been trialled by 500,000 users.

The changes will begin rolling out on 5 April to Wikimedia Commons. Assuming they don’t leave the site in tatters, they will then be pushed out to Wikipedia in late April, beginning with the English Wikipedia, followed by other languages.

Registered users who doesn’t like the changes will be able to return to the “classic” view through the My Preferences menu.

Wikipedia wipeout

In an unrelated incident, the site collapsed globally for a few hours on Wednesday evening, after its European servers overheated and shut themselves down.

Wikimedia subsequently shunted all of its traffic to a server cluster in Florida, but a technical hitch in the transfer overloaded the servers, knocking Wikipedia offline around the world.

“Shortly after we did this failover switch, it turned out that this failover mechanism was now broken, causing the DNS resolution of Wikimedia sites to stop working globally,” wrote Mark Bergsma, Wikimedia’s operations engineer in a post on Wikimedia’s Technical Blog.

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