Discussion:
[Offline-l] FYI - WMF pausing and deprecating some functionality
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Federico Leva (Nemo)
2017-10-11 06:40:08 UTC
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In case you're interested, the Foundation will be working to replace OCG
over the coming months. I wanted to make sure you're aware in case you
rely on any of this infrastructure and/or have plans for further
development dependent on it.
What this means in the short term is that PDF book rendering (through
Book Creator) will be shut off for a few months at least while a
suitable replacement is researched, tested, and built.
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Reading/Web/PDF_Functionality
Let me know if you have any questions or if this has major impact to
your work.
It does, of course. Wikisource and Wikibooks users sorely need to print
books for offline reading, it's something we keep hearing from anybody
in "real life".

Removing basic functionality and downgrading existing features for no
gain is an excellent long-run method to kill projects like Wikibooks,
Wikisource and Wikiversity whose potential users (such as teachers and
other OER folks) may prefer alternative platforms which show more care.

Nemo
Gerard Meijssen
2017-10-11 08:45:19 UTC
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Hoi,
Anne just a question, if this was key functionality for the English
Wikipedia, would you remove this functionality with a promise of "trust us
we are working towards something new" ?? I think not.
Thanks,
GerardM
Post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
In case you're interested, the Foundation will be working to replace OCG
over the coming months. I wanted to make sure you're aware in case you rely
on any of this infrastructure and/or have plans for further development
dependent on it.
What this means in the short term is that PDF book rendering (through
Book Creator) will be shut off for a few months at least while a suitable
replacement is researched, tested, and built.
Here's the full write up: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki
/Reading/Web/PDF_Functionality
Let me know if you have any questions or if this has major impact to your
work.
It does, of course. Wikisource and Wikibooks users sorely need to print
books for offline reading, it's something we keep hearing from anybody in
"real life".
Removing basic functionality and downgrading existing features for no gain
is an excellent long-run method to kill projects like Wikibooks, Wikisource
and Wikiversity whose potential users (such as teachers and other OER
folks) may prefer alternative platforms which show more care.
Nemo
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Nicolas VIGNERON
2017-10-11 09:01:57 UTC
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Hi everyone,

Maybe I'm misunderstood the situation but I'm not sure to understand the
problem: does anyone use OCG?

I thought that not one use it anymore (if it was ever used... at least onf
the French wikisource it never really worked well as it didn't understand
the 'pages' tag we use on almost all pages) and we have our own
PDF/ePub/mobi generator (https://tools.wmflabs.org/wsexport/tool/book.php).
SO don't we all use WSexport?

I see very few pages on
https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Special:PrefixIndex&prefix=Wikisource:Books/
, most of them generated a long time ago, so I don't think that this will
have any impact on Wikisource.

Cdlt, ~nicolas
Sam Wilson
2017-10-11 09:56:46 UTC
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Yes, I think Nicolas is right. OCG has never really done what Wikisource
needed, and WsExport has (wonderfully). It would of course be brilliant
if the new PDF & epub generation could support Wikisource, but it not
doing so is no different from the existing situation.
Post by Nicolas VIGNERON
Hi everyone,
Maybe I'm misunderstood the situation but I'm not sure to understand
the problem: does anyone use OCG?> I thought that not one use it anymore (if it was ever used... at least
onf the French wikisource it never really worked well as it didn't
understand the 'pages' tag we use on almost all pages) and we have our
own PDF/ePub/mobi generator
(https://tools.wmflabs.org/wsexport/tool/book.php). SO don't we all
use WSexport?>
I see very few pages on
https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Special:PrefixIndex&prefix=Wikisource:Books/
, most of them generated a long time ago, so I don't think that this
will have any impact on Wikisource.>
Cdlt, ~nicolas
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Gerard Meijssen
2017-10-11 10:13:38 UTC
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Hoi,
Thanks good to know.
GerardM
Post by Sam Wilson
Yes, I think Nicolas is right. OCG has never really done what Wikisource
needed, and WsExport has (wonderfully). It would of course be brilliant if
the new PDF & epub generation could support Wikisource, but it not doing so
is no different from the existing situation.
Hi everyone,
Maybe I'm misunderstood the situation but I'm not sure to understand the
problem: does anyone use OCG?
I thought that not one use it anymore (if it was ever used... at least onf
the French wikisource it never really worked well as it didn't understand
the 'pages' tag we use on almost all pages) and we have our own
PDF/ePub/mobi generator (https://tools.wmflabs.org/wsexport/tool/book.php).
SO don't we all use WSexport?
I see very few pages on https://en.wikisource.org/w/
index.php?title=Special:PrefixIndex&prefix=Wikisource:Books/ , most of
them generated a long time ago, so I don't think that this will have any
impact on Wikisource.
Cdlt, ~nicolas
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Federico Leva (Nemo)
2017-12-06 11:17:22 UTC
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Post by Sam Wilson
Yes, I think Nicolas is right. OCG has never really done what Wikisource
needed,
But mwlib did. :) We should go back to the pre-OCG software, I guess.

Federico
Nicolas VIGNERON
2017-10-11 17:32:28 UTC
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Hi Anne,

Thank you for the confirmation.

I've got a question both for you and for the wikisourcerers, do we want and
should we keep using WSexport or should we try to integrate WSexport
functionalities into more general tool? (for the second option, we need to
exchange about our specific needs and desires).

My point of view is that we are quite happy with WSexport right now so we
could say « if it ain't broken don't fix it » but on the other hand the
maintain a specific tool tailored for our specifities but it could be
useful for others and there is always the risk that nobody maintain it
anymore (a more general tool generally - but not always - having more
chances of being maintain).
I'd like to hear you point of view and the point of view of people
maintaining WSexport (mainly our beloved wikisourcerer supreme Tpt ;) )

Cdlt, ~nicolas
Federico Leva (Nemo)
2017-12-06 11:28:19 UTC
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should we try to integrate WSexport functionalities into more general
tool? (for the second option, we need to exchange about our specific
needs and desires).
This was already done with mwlib for ZIM and EPUB, but then WMF trashed
it. Three years ago we were told "ePUB and ZIM are likely to return",
now how much do you believe PDFs will ever work again?
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-ambassadors/2014-September/000958.html
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T97672
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T73660

The Italian Wikisource users have used PDF exports nonetheless for a few
things, although they are not as useful as the ZIM exports. Please don't
rely on assumptions about uselessness of something for you to decide
that it's fine to make that something worse.

Federico

Federico Leva (Nemo)
2017-11-21 22:13:53 UTC
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I still have trouble understanding what's the point of making
functionality worse for a majority of users, or indeed all of them.

I've just tried exporting single pages with the "download PDF" link (the
metadata says they're made by "Chromium") and they're completely
unreadable, with overlapping characters and so on. They're considerably
worse even than the PDF produced by a stock browser from the printable
version (Firefox 56 here).

Even if the previous functionality happened to error out 95 % of the
time, it would be better than the present situation.

Federico
Post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
It does, of course. Wikisource and Wikibooks users sorely need to print
books for offline reading, it's something we keep hearing from anybody
in "real life".
Removing basic functionality and downgrading existing features for no
gain is an excellent long-run method to kill projects like Wikibooks,
Wikisource and Wikiversity whose potential users (such as teachers and
other OER folks) may prefer alternative platforms which show more care.
Federico Leva (Nemo)
2017-12-06 10:52:32 UTC
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The issue you raise, is a known issue being tracked and worked on here
The issue I raise is that you should not make a change that makes life
worse for all users. The feature is currently useless in 100 % of cases,
so you should have rolled back immediately to the previous system as
long as it works even in 0,1 % of the cases.

For now, I'm telling people to use the PediaPress book builder and
ignore the PDFs produced by Wikimedia Foundation. This is not sustainable.

Federico
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