Grants talk:Project/Stephane/Kiwix/Offline medical

Managing organization edit

Who would receive the funds? What organization has an affiliation with this project? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:09, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi there. We are currently in the process of creating an independent Kiwix non-profit entity (under Swiss law) exactly for the purpose of managing grants, license, contracts and contractors. But if need be we can also rely on Wikimedia CH, which is our usual backer and already sponsors other Kiwix-related development projects. Stephane (talk) 15:19, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Layman project description edit

I often find that Wikipedia related software development projects are not described in a way that layman audiences can understand. This is true for all projects, including many Wikimedia Foundation projects which require non-technical community responses.

Project documentation for layman audiences is rarely part of a development plan. Asking for documentation at all is challenging. However, because this particular project is higher profile and may be the subject of popular media attention, I would like to request that the creation of some layman documentation be part of the project goals. This is a technical project at the center of community discussion among people with no technical understanding of how development or this tool works. I wish that this project could include something like a marketing sheet for this particular set of development tasks so that the community will have something they can discuss as well as possible to be more engaged in this project. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:09, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure I understand your question. Do you mean a description along the lines of "This piece of work will lead to this concrete improvement", or more something that explains how Kiwix' different platforms work and are related to one another, and what they do/don't do/should do (in layman's terms)? Stephane (talk) 15:19, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stephane (Kiwix) Translate this Grants:Project/Stephane/Kiwix/Offline_medical#Measures_of_success into a one-page document which any Wikipedian can discuss. Make it possible for more users to have a conversation about why Kiwix development matters. Right now, the project deliverables cannot be understood by non-technical users, like for example, "Release the one pass zim file generation" is difficult to understand. In the end provide something which typical users can understand so that they can have a sense of progress if they are following the project.
I am not saying to explain everything, but explain as much as possible in the most interesting way from a marketing perspective in one-page maximum. Write text, draw a picture, or provide one page of anything to keep non-technical users involved. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:28, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree describing what this ultimately means "Merge/revamp zimpatch/zimdiff" to the end user would be great. Does this mean that this will speed the time it takes to launch a new version? Does it mean updates will not require downloading the entire app again? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:24, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done! See Grants:Project/Stephane/Kiwix/Offline medical/Layman. Stephane (talk) 10:08, 17 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eligibility confirmed, round 2 2016 edit


This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 2 2016 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during this community comments period.

The committee's formal review for round 2 2016 begins on 2 November 2016, and grants will be announced in December. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 17:07, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Separate App vs. a feature in the main Wikipedia online App edit

Why do you plan to provide this feature via a special App instead of adding a feature to the main Android app that allows holding certain articles as an offline version? ChristianKl (talk) 16:03, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would be cool to have the main android app able to download blocks of articles by WikiProject. Harder to do that in other languages that do not have WikiProjects though. Not sure if there's interest from the WMF. I assume that it would be technically difficult. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:22, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi ChristianKl, as a matter of fact people who have the Kiwix app can already download the Wikimed zim files separately. But from the feedback we normally get, fetching that content is just too complicated/tedious for the vast majority of users (and we're only talking about a two step process, eh). And as James said, we can't select categories from a larger file. Stephane (talk) 10:08, 17 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ChristianKl You can already create custom ZIM files via That said nobody maintains this solution... So I agree we should provide something better. We are far away to hav ea nice backend running on Wikimedia server side, and even farer away of having it integrated in a (Wikipedia) ap. That said things are slowly going in the right direction... Kelson (talk) 17:02, 18 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comments edit

I have some comments/questions:

  1. Is it realistic to find a coder with necessary qualifications just in one month time for the money allocated?
  2. Do you want to fork the existing Kiwix code base? Or you want to improve it? If the latter, how will the work be coordinated with other developers?
  3. Please, provide a more detailed budget for the Hackathon and project management.
  4. It is unclear what will be the final result of the project? Working iOS/Android apps available for download?

Ruslik (talk) 16:33, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While we already have a bunch of working android apps for download. The final result will be android apps that work better for download. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:24, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about iOS? Ruslik (talk) 17:34, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes that would definitely be good. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:25, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Ruslik,
  1. Yes, as we're only looking for a contractor. We don't plan to go through several rounds of interviews and CV-scanning like we'd do for a permanent position.
  2. We're in the process of forking already: Kiwix is old and runs on XULRunner, which has been deprecated. It was meant to arrive anyway. Kelson is handling this part with other volunteers.
  3. Hackathons: you can see past hackathons (including budget) on the relevant page. Basically there isn't much to it besides transport and accomodation - food is normally included in the Wikimania package, but we'll throw in a few pizzas and soda drinks. We also gave t-shirts to participants (around 250 USD in total) at the last two hackathons.
  4. Pretty much, yes. Stephane (talk) 10:08, 17 October 2016 (UTC) Reply[reply]
If working apps is a goal, you should probably add it to the measures of success. Ruslik (talk) 13:24, 5 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Kiwix/Offline medical edit

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • Kiwix is a very critical alternative in countries that lack accessibility, have issues of lag or have issues of expensive internet. The improvement being proposed will augment the platform and will compliment the priorities of the Wikimedia movement.
  • The proposal has a large impact potential, mainly offline but to a certain extent online. It can be sustained after the grant ends. The code improvements will useable for many years to come.
  • I am concerned about sustainability. If we invest in 3rd party projects working on 3rd party servers, there is a risk of it being closed down in the future.
  • The project fits Wikimedia's priorities and has a huge potential for impact. However, once the project is over, Kiwix will still need further development, project management, and maintenance. I would strongly advice for a permanent, sustainable way to fund Kiwix, maybe like what was done for Wikidata but on a smaller scale?
  • Wikimed has been an innovative, impactful resource, that was able to immediately mobilize support and activity from users all around the globe. The current application appears to be a necessary step to disseminate this resource even further. I would have liked to read a detailed plan of strategic dissemination of the new features.
  • An offline project might be better suited to be an in-house project of WMF. This is an important issue as 2/3rd of global population is yet to arrive online. There is a dire need to spread Wikipedia offline. Kiwix is a major tool to achieve this goal. Impact potential is immense.
  • I am disappointed that there isn’t more focus on incremental updates, but I'm glad to see that they're focusing more time on this than just volunteers
  • The project results can be easily measured and the measures of success are realistic but can be improved. For instance, including working Android/iOS apps among them would be useful.
  • Wikimed has become a success case for our community. This case, as long as it is well described, may lead to further innovations, iterations and learning potentials.
  • Kiwix is a free and open source tool. The code can be freely used for other projects of similar nature. Lot of learning and reuse is possible. No major risks seen. Performance improvement of the software can be tracked as success measure.
  • I am concerned about whether they will be capable of finding a developer with necessary skills in just one month time. The project success is dependent on this.
  • I am against the idea of funding an employee to do all of the coding work: the grantees say that they have a community of volunteer developers - what is their involvement? Is it possible to participate, for example, in Google Code-in? In such cases you need mentors/PM but not full-time developers.
  • The budget is really unclear about the usefulness of product management.
  • Feasible, but timeline seems pretty short. The need to extend the project might be a risk.
  • Community engagement appears to be significant.
  • Great support from well-known members of our community.
  • Community engagement is good. Especially, from the target audience of WikiMed.
  • I totally support the ideals of this project, however it will be useful to know what exactly the new developments will mean to the end user who has no technical background.
  • I support partial funding. Funding the PM and hackathon are OK but we also need volunteer developers.
  • It would be great to see a large scope in terms of updating Kiwix itself and providing a service for curating content and automatic ZIM file creation.
  • There are risks of investments into 3rd parties projects: we can't guarantee sustainability.
  • Necessary sequence in a successful project. Wikimedians at their best!

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia Foundation staff.

Next steps:

  1. Aggregated committee comments from the committee are posted above. We recommend that you review the feedback and post any responses, clarifications or questions on this talk page.
  2. Following due diligence review, a final funding decision will be announced on December 16.
Questions? Contact us.

Responses edit


Kiwix has been around for 10 years already, went through several generations of developers and is still around. More importantly, all of our code is open-source and stored on GitHub, so it's free to use, reuse, fork, etc. As for the pros and cons of 3rd party projects... well the whole point of the large grants system is to fund third parties, is it not?


We've had a solid 30% monthly growth on average over the past 3 months (meaning that our reach more than doubles every quarter). The wikiproject medicine is regularly posting a banner indicating the availability of Wikimed as an offline resource on top of medical content articles. DocJames and myself also regularly promote the app IRL (most recently at a Webinar for the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance). We also regularly promote updates on Facebook and Twitter, and push press releases when content in a specific language is made available.

Incremental updates

This is a huge piece of work and we certainly won't see it through with the current level of funding (we are, however, trying to secure long-term funding from multiple sources). So don't expect anyting before 2018 (but then, on the plus side, we are planning to do it).

Developer / Timeline

We've started working on the job posting already so that we can hit the ground running. Also, as the developer(s) will be contracted, the hiring process will be a lot faster than if we were to hire a full-time employee.

Project management

The amount requested clearly does not cover the PM costs involved, but we made the choice to keep it at 20% of the overall request.

Volunteers vs. Professional developers

We're definitely not in a either/or situtation: we have a significant pool of very dedicated volunteers, who already perform 80% of Kiwix development. But this also means that they can't do more, and we can not oblige them to do things they don't want to or do not know how to do. We had to hire a part-time project manager to do some necessary and urgent tasks regarding code maintenance. Generally speaking, you can have volunteers or a timeline/deadline, but not both.
Concerning the Google Code-in, we've been involved in it for the past three years already.

Meaning of these new developments for end users

Currently, Kiwix only saves a thumbnail of each image, and none of the videos. This is fine for a quick glance on a cell phone, but a significant part of our audience uses it for their studies (particularly in the Indian Subcontinent). In medicine, pictures are not meant to be pretty but informative, and being able to see more than 200 pixel wide (particularly if an illustration has text in it) is crucial. We've had the request many times and agree that it will be useful to end users.

Automated ZIM file creation

It's in the works through volunteers. We recently were given access to new & bigger servers which should greatly help in zim creation and automation.

Thank you for your questions and support! Feel free to ask more and/or comment. Stephane (talk) 15:01, 25 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Round 2 2016 decision edit


Congratulations! Your proposal has been selected for a Project Grant.

The committee has recommended this proposal and WMF has approved funding for the full amount of your request, $79,300 USD

Comments regarding this decision:
The committee is pleased to support improving the Wikimed app through Kiwix, the offline Wikipedia reader. We are happy to see that this project not only aims to facilitate better transfer of medical content from the Wikimedia projects to offline apps, but also improves the offline platform to enable future content transfer in the future. We are happy to help extend access to our projects to communities with limited connectivity, and in order to maximize coordination with other efforts toward this goal, we would like to setup a technical advisory committee with some of the WMF staff who participated in reviewing this proposal.

Next steps:

  1. You will be contacted to sign a grant agreement and setup a monthly check-in schedule.
  2. Review the information for grantees.
  3. Use the new buttons on your original proposal to create your project pages.
  4. Start work on your project!

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