Hello, SDG Forum community! In addition to the latest blogpost, I also wanted to create a special post for the SDG Forum. Just like I used to do during the wiki’s really early development, I’d like to go more in-depth as to the recent changes made to the site.
For reference, the last time a post like this was made was on January 25, 2021, which had discussed pretty URLs.
A quick rundown of some newer features for editors.
Signed-in editors have access to the beta “VisualEditor”, which can be enabled from your account’s preferences page. It is a “What you see is what you get”–style editor (WYSIWYG), and has extended functionality with the introduction of TemplateData.
When combined with the VisualEditor, TemplateData provides editors access to menus that aid in adding parameters and values to templates, such as infoboxes.
The CodeEditor (an embedded Ace editor widget for the WikiEditor) has also received a handful of changes. Perhaps most usefully, matching brackets are marked when a bracket is selected, and line numbers are shown.
During the early years of the wiki’s development, spam bots were incredibly common. However, our anti-spam tools have gotten much better. A vast majority of spam bots are prevented from ever making an account on the site.
For the rare occurrence that a bot does make an account, there are several other measures in place. Such as the abuse filter, which automatically checks the content of edits against relevant filters.
There have been a lot of random CSS changes over the year. At one point we were using a custom skin entirely, and visited links were very purple, although neither of these things are the case right now.
The most recent CSS changes have focused on necessary implementations for new tables, templates, and features. For example, the main page has been redone entirely. Although it has also included tidying up the stylesheet, and various consistency fixes. And now, templates can have their own sanitized CSS pages, for per-template styling.
Many of the tables are sortable and automatically sized. With the blueprints table specifically, less relevant text has been “defocused” and shrunk slightly. For a while I experimented with middle-aligned icons next to each crafting ingredient, but I have yet to find a method that looks good enough to warrant committing to.
On the FANDOM wiki, something like an item’s patch history would be displayed in a tabular format. On the SDG Wiki, this information is instead contained inside a templated scroll-box, and each patch has been linked to. Although it would be a relatively minor detail, this also opens up the possibility for a system to be introduced where the dates match a user’s preferred date format.
Although cosmetics are not covered by the SDG Wiki yet, the site has started to cover item skins. At the bottom of pages like the Zubeknakov or Swissgewehr, there is a dedicated section for a skin gallery.
Perhaps the biggest change between the new wiki and its predecessor has to do with the infoboxes. There are several differences in how information is portrayed.
Most notably: infoboxes for weapons, traps, and explosives. Previously, damage values would be shown in the infobox itself. However, the SDG Wiki uses flexible information tables.
These infotables are separate from the main infobox(es) present on a page. They cover information such as damage and ballistics. Some of the information can be hovered over for additional information, such as formulas.
Perhaps the best change since last year is the implementation of Elasticsearch. On a standard MediaWiki installation, the default search tool can leave a lot to be desired. The search index only takes into account page titles, is updated daily, and is case-sensitive.
Elasticsearch is a search engine based on the Lucene library. It is one of the most popular enterprise search engines.
Compared to the default MediaWiki search, the Elasticsearch implentation has nearly real-time search index updates, and indexed content is not case-sensitive. There are “indexed searches”, which allow for searching based on page content. Users can utilize search modifiers, search filters, and search phrases (“text in quotes”).
Originally, this post was going to include a breakdown of new pages, updated pages, and redirects. But the breakdown was very close to just listing every page on the wiki, so it didn’t make that much sense to keep.
With that being said, keeping a working list of new pages was very helpful during the development process. It helped when measuring progress towards various milestones, and made it easy to keep track of pages that didn’t exist yet.
This working list was stored on my user page, and it got so long that it had to be split across multiple sub-pages and transcluded together. Having thousands of hyperlinks on a single page really strains the editor when trying to edit that page. It was actually a good opportunity to make multiple performance improvements to the website.
A lot of new media files have been added to the wiki. Although not every file has been kept track of, there have been over 1,500 media file contributions just this past year! A vast majority of these are being used on pages right now.
Many pre-existing media files were updated as a part of this process. These updates provide anti-aliasing, better scaling, and updated lighting.
Breakdown of media files...
- 300+ icons of structures, barricades, traps, and other buildables.
- 260+ icons for clothing.
- 200+ icons for weapons and attachments.
- 200+ icons for item skins.
- 200+ images of maps.
- 100+ icons for consumables.
- 80+ icons for vehicles.
- 50+ icons for tools and other gear items.
- 30+ icons for on-site templates.
- 30+ icons of crafting supplies.
- 10+ media files for HUD elements.
- 10+ images of animals, zombies, and NPCs.
- Numerous miscellaneous media files…
Finally, I’d like to once again give a special thanks to anyone (including anonymous contributors) who made positive contributions towards the content or development of the SDG Wiki.
This includes the handful of people who have contributed to in non-editing ways—anti-spam measures, design feedback, troubleshooting, etc…—who are very much appreciated as well.