Semantic MediaWiki news

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Semantic MediaWiki, even though several noteworthy things have happened since. In this post I’ll highlight some things that have happened since the 2.0 release.

Semantic MediaWiki 2.1

Semantic MediaWiki 2.1 is a minor release that adds several new features, many enhancements, addresses numerous issues and adds support for additional platforms. It does not contain any breaking changes.

The most notable new features provided by this new version are support for semantic queries in Special:Search, contextual help texts on edit pages, and introducing the long wished for full PostgreSQL support. Substantial improvements to the SPARQL store support have also been made.

At least as important as the new features are the numerous bug fixes, performance tweaks and minor enhancements. I’m really pleased with how few regressions we’ve introduced in the past few releases. Combined with the many fixes we’re making, this means SMW keeps on getting more robust and polished.

SMWCon Fall 2014, Vienna

I attended SMWCon Fall 2014 in Vienna.

As usual I gave my “yearly” SMW talk on everything that happened since the conference a year before, what’s currently going on, and what plans we [people working on SMW] have.

The one other presentation I did was on the Wikibase software.

You can find videos and slides for most of the SMWCon Fall 2014 talks via the schedule. I can hardly cover all interesting topics presented about, so will leave it at this little bit of self promotion 🙂

New SMW extensions

MWJames somehow found the time to create two new SMW extensions, on top of all the work he’s been doing on SMW itself.Semantic Breadcrumb Links is a Semantic Mediawiki extension to aid in-page navigation by building breadcrumb links from an attributive property filter. It uses a pattern match strategy to filter property usage (e.g. Has parent page) that ascribe the location of a page relative to its parent and provides navigational help by generating a breadcrumb trail.

Semantic Interlanguage Links is a Semantic Mediawiki extension to create and manage interlanguage links. This extension creates interlanguage links and provides queryable annotations that can connect pages with similar content for different languages to be accessible via the sitelink navigation by using the INTERLANGUAGELINK parser function. You can see the extension in action at in this video.

Several existing SMW extensions, such as Semantic Result Formats and Semantic Forms also saw new releases. Perhaps most notably Semantic Signup, which got a huge overhaul. This extension had essentially gone unmaintained for a few years, and now was updated to work with the latest versions of MediaWiki, Semantic MediaWiki and PHP. A lot of its code was cleaned up and tests where added, making future maintenance easier, and uncovering a number of bugs which where fixed.

Up next

MWJames has been working on yet another existing new SMW extension, which will probably see it’s first release within a month. Stay tuned!

In a bit under 3 months time, SMWCon Spring 2015 will be held at St. Louis, Missouri. If you have not yet, go ahead and register.

And of course there is Semantic MediaWiki 2.2, the next minor SMW release. At the time of writing this post, 238 changes have been made to 393 files by 9 different people. A lot of these are internal enhancements, many of which preparation work needed to make bigger changes. There also was some focus on performance related improvements. A few of the new features we have so far are template support in the #set parser function, additional options in the rebuildData maintenance script, and a new sorting option for the category result format. There currently is no target date for the 2.2 release, though 2 to 3 months from now is probably a fair estimation.

Note: This is just a selection of things that happened, and I might be forgetting about some important things 🙂

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