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OpenWetWare Development Priorities

August-October 2007

The following is the current list of development items we have discussed to date. Please comment on any of these items that require clarification. If items have been put on th list that don't belong here, please let me know.


Move website to new Rackspace server

Currently all of the OWW files have been moved to the new server. A backup as of Sunday (9/16/2007) has been loaded into the database. All of the image files have also been moved as of the same date.

Today: All config file changes have been made. I am testing and will report on progress on a daily basis.

Once a stable implementation is running, I will advise the board. We will track changes in the current OWW server until the turnover is complete.

A detailed list of the steps in moving to the new server will be provided in a separate document.

This will be available today (9-17-2007)


  1. Publish document describing the steps in the move.
  2. Await indication from OWW board re: when this should be done.

Upgrade MediaWiki to Most Recent Version

All extensions need to be tested against the 1.10 or 1.11 MediaWiki release. This will be done on the new Web1 server this week. Any changes needed to convert to the new version will be documented.

No specific direction has been provided as to when this change should be completed. Please let me know.


  1. Await indication from OWW board re: when this should be done.

Implement Source Control Management via Subversion (SVN)

SVN has been installed on the new Web1 server. The main code modules as well as each of the extensions will be archived.

The shell scripts used to create and modify new private wikis will be modified to automatically check in all config files. If this proves to be cumbersome, we will manually update SVN when changes are made.


  1. Complete this at the same time each of the above items are completed.

Modify/Enhance the UMS System

Use Mediawiki internal API functions where possible for accessing the MediaWiki database

This has been coded. Testing is under way.

Enhance checks used to verify/validate new membership applications.

The internal User object methods used to check on username status have been implemented.

Log all membership transactions.

The log file is very simple. The name of the admin approving the new member is recorded along with the reason for approval or denial of membership.

Include new default member 'User' page.

This page is a freely modifiable (e.g., not protected) page.


  1. Make sure email issue documented by Barry has been fixed.
  2. Move the support to the OWW server after testing has been completed.

MediaWiki Modification

Word Document Importer

This feature is being evaluated. The current options include the following:

  • PHP Library for converting Word to Mediawiki.
    • This option is the most complex and the one with the lowest probability of working in a way that provides for good quality document conversion.
  • Linux application to convert word to html and html to mediawiki.
    • None of the existing Word import solutions use this technique. It's assumed that this is the best compromise. This will be patterned after the 'dewikify' support Austin has implemented.
  • Word "gateway" application to execute conversion with a live copy of Microsoft Word.
    • This provides the best quality conversion to Word format. However, the problem with it is that at least part of the extension needs to run on a Windows server, something we have no support for, The alternative would be to implement part of the solution on Linux and part on Windows.
    • This is the way most of the existing Word extensions for MediaWiki have been built. It's unlikely this alternative will be used.


  1. Wait for instructions from OWW board re: how to proceed.*

RSS Addin(s)

There are currently 3 RSS extensions deployed on All of them are working. Each have different strengths.

  1. They need to be moved to
  2. We need to determine which of them provides most utility.
  3. Their use can be further simplified by writing MediaWiki macros to enforce

standard use.


  1. Move RSS extensions to the new Rackspace and to the current OWW server.
  2. Wait for instructions from OWW board re: how to proceeed.

Feedburner for blogs

Having a feedburner for domains set up would be useful for new blog users so that they can monitor the subscribers/traffic to their blogs.


  1. Look into feedburner for domains
  2. Set up so that new blog users are able to

Priority: Low (when time allows)

Install Other Extensions

The following MediaWiki extensions have or will be deployed on

  1. Wibbit
  2. Simple Forms

Austin requested both of these extensions. We have not discussed how they will be introduced into use on the site.

At this point, there are no specific task for me associcate with further documenting or creating examples.


  1. None at this point.

Long-Term Project(s)

Lab Notebook Enhancements

This item was discussed last week. To date, no specific support has been requested in for features associated with Lab Notebooks.

If there are specific modifications requested, they may be added to the list.

This process will involve me but the primary feature design and prioritization will be from the OWW Board.


  1. None at this point.

Biblio/Citation Enhancement

Accession Number lookup has been discussed but at this point no specific request has been made to implement this.

Use of any of the citation aggregator sites has been discussed.

No specific request for adding support for these sites has been made to date.


  1. None at this point.

Bug fixes

Install Eventum to track/handle bugs

The PHP support required to handle all of Eventum's features include support for the following:

  1. cg: Computer graphics package
  2. mbstring: Multi-byte character string support for international characters

Since the new Web1 server at Rackspace is the default "fat" version including many extensions, does support both of these packages, Eventum should install with no issues.

If we 'skinny down' the default PHP5 implementation, these PHP modules will be retained.

Track reported MediaWiki bugs reported by OWW users back to the MediaWiki bug tracking system.

Implement fixes if possible; indicate which version they have been fixed in if already addressed.


  1. Complete Eventum install
  2. Move all reported bugs to Eventum.
  3. Publish status on all open bugs