Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Recent improvements in the Phabricator project management tool
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- Recent improvements in Wikimedia's project management tool Phabricator
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- For the last two years, Wikimedia has been using Phabricator (a free and open source software) for project management, software bug reporting and feature requests. This blog post covers some recent changes and improvements.
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In May 2016, the WMF Technical Collaboration team collected a list of Phabricator bugs and feature requests from the Wikimedia Developer Community. After identifying the most promising requests from the community, these were presented to Phacility (the organization that builds and maintains Phabricator) for sponsored prioritization.
We are already seeing the benefits of this initiative. Several sponsored improvements have landed on Wikimedia Phabricator over the past few weeks.
The following requests ("tasks") are now resolved:
- Phabricator should let you add dependencies both ways (depending and blocking)
- Provide a way to upload a file in Phabricator if drag'n'drop is not available or not wanted
- Projects dropdown should offer project descriptions
- pholio/new/ requires drag and drop
- Email notification for "edited the task description" does not contain the actual content changes (diff) nor a link
- Videos cannot be viewed without downloading
- Phabricator task description diffs inaccurate due to 80-character line wrapping
Three of those have task numbers lower than 2000. Those long-standing tasks date from the first months of WMF's Phabricator evaluation and RFC period. When those tasks were originally filed, Phabricator was just a test installation running in Wikimedia Labs.
Work in progressEdit
Four more issues were identified for sponsorship and are still awaiting a complete solution. Some of these are at least partially fixed and some are still pending:
- Exact matches should always win when suggesting/auto-completing
- Get Phabricator i18n ready for translatewiki.net
- Upon edit, a task description which mentions a Phab user (re)adds that Phab user to CC/Subscribers field
- Consolidate the many tech events calendars in Phabricator's calendar
Other recent changesEdit
Besides the sponsored features and bug fixes, there are several other recent improvements which are worth mentioning.
This was also developed by Mukunda and proposed to Phacility for inclusion. That patch is still pending code review.
New feature for Maniphest tasks: dependency graphEdit
This helpful feature displays a graphical representation of a task's parent tasks and Subtasks to express relationships between tasks.
Initially there was an issue with this feature that made tasks with many relationships unable to load and get displayed in the web browser. (This was exacerbated by the historical use of so-called "tracking tasks" in the Wikimedia Bugzilla context. Phabricator superseded Bugzilla.) Thankfully after a quick patch from Evan Priestley (the primary author of Phabricator) and lots of help and testing from Wikimedia Community members Danny B. and Paladox, Mukunda was able to deploy a fix for the issue a little over 24 hours after it was discovered.
Here's to yet more fruitful collaborations with upstream Phabricator!
Mukunda Modell, Software Engineer at the Wikimedia Foundation