Monday, April 25, 2011

#Toolserver - Magnus Manske

Of all the #MediaWiki developers, Magnus has a special place; not many people can claim their day, for Magnus it is January 25 when his achievements are celebrated.

After initiating next generation MediaWiki, he very much remained involved and he became the king of the proof of concept on the Toolserver. That is to say, he develops working bare boned functionality that scratch an itch.

Once the itch is scratched, he happily leaves his tools for others to embellish and perfect. Revisiting code to implement internationalisation is not his thing, having internationalisation as part of a new project is different. When I blogged about CommonsHelper2, I did not know that Magnus conceived the original version of this tool and to be honest, I did not really care. I care about good open source working methods and the internationalisation of code.


It was pointed out to me that Jan Luca had taken over the maintenance of some of the tools of Magnus. Speaking to Krinkle, I learned quite a bit about how Toolserver is changing, actually improving.

One recent novelty are the "multi-user repositories". They allow multiple people to work on the same tool. This allows Jan Luca for instance to implement internationalisation in CommonsHelper2.

Another thing that is quite relevant is that the barrier to entrance is relatively low. You can have a developer account in a matter of days and publish tools in days. Compare this with the process of getting a MediaWiki developer account...

Even though Toolserver provides important functionality, what it offers is not that well known. It is very much a geek / hacker haven. Promoting tools that are ready for localisation is something that has its place on this blog. Calling out for developers who may be interested in bringing existing tools to a next level, tools by people like Magnus or Daniel are also of interest.
Thanks,
        GerardM
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