Development Log

From Salish Sea Wiki

This page describes the ongoing development of the platform. Most changes are conducted while the platform is live. The Backlog describes known issues to be addressed. The Planned section describes ongoing contract activities. Completed provides a record of past work.


Please talk to the moderator team if you'd like to support work on the backlog.

Site Improvement Tasks

  • Sidebar - Here is a the new proposed Sidebar structure.
  • Font Review - We need a review and revision of fonts and font sizes... many pages use H2 subheadings because in general the headings are both too large, and not distinct in style from text. I'd propose a distinct and stylized page title font (similar to the logo), and then subtle but distinct heading fonts that are not so large and spaced out.
  • Social Component - Replace talk pages with a pathway into a dynamic context. This must be designed and promoted.
  • Initial Map Scope - A system for displaying standard geography and associated pages through a popup mapper. The scope will include storage of spatial objects in the wiki associated with pages, and then rendering of those objects on a mapper. The objects can be symbolized or filtered based on category/attribute data.
partial diagram of core pages to be developed as introduction?

Content Improvements

  • Introduction - revise the inital page flow and category:introduction pages to provide better introduction to practices and the new page architecture. Our goal is to simplify this outline to match workflow needs of 1) new members and 2) visitors. This includes reevaluation of various categories now lumped under Category:Corepages. This should relate to new flexbox templates.
  • Movement of File Page Content to Main Namespace - a decision to have products represented in both the main and file namespace creates some unnecessary complexity. We can use a script to reconstruct all product pages in the file namespace as main namespace pages, and include a direct link to the media content as part of that.
  • Workgroup Categorization - Should we aim to categorize workgroups based on their association with specific topics, or only efforts? Some workgroups have a inherent authority over topics... and many agencies all touch the same topic. This could create a morass of workgroup-topic associations that does not add value. Perhaps the value is found by understanding the effort. However understanding
  • Update Page Type Info Boxes - Update the Salish Sea References and create DPLs appropriate for each Page Type Info Box.
  • Master Topic Update - This will require review of existing Master Topics and their relationships to the updated Categories and the Category Update and Page Editing Forms work. We will have Master Topic pages that correspond with each category, and within that page, the contents of the category will be curated. The Category view is still available, but is not well curated. It is unclear if this is useful, or if Category pages should be considered Topic Pages. However because the presentation of related pages is not nuanced in the category view, it makes sense to maintain Topic Pages that are independent of category pages. The most laborious part is the development of blurbs (see Style Guide). Development of Master Topic pages for branches of our category system seems like a good entry level task for "topic editors" (see community development).

Information Architecture Refinements

  • Education Categories - we have education as a Social Change Topic, and we have Academic as a type of Workgroup, and a proposal to subdivide by Youth/College. This seems like a poor description of all the institutions and approaches encompassed by education, both as a kind of Workgroup (could all educational institutions just be State/Special District/NGO/Private?) and the purposes of education, which bleed into advocacy depending on your perspectives. This is the one place where a workgroup type category is divided by a effort purpose category, and is an inconsistency.
  • Explanation of Nation State Political Jurisdictions compared to Regions and Places - We need some kind of clear map-based description of our dual place description system that differentiates political features from physiographic features.
  • Standardized Geography - Map integration will require formalization of geography. There are a wide range of issues to wrestle with. For example, does differentiation between Georgia Basin and Puget Sound and places in between serve the organization of Category:Regional Scale units? There are a number of “inlet vs peninsula” place definition issues to wrestle with.
  • Workgroup Acronyms - We can define how workgroup pages are associated with acronym categories. This may involve the deprecation of the acronym category in exchange for a structure data field associated with workgroup pages that are used to flag products and efforts or places of regular work. Acronyms are currently housed in the Category:All Categories holding area, separated from categories easily accessed for places.

Community Development Tasks

  • Membership Privileges - Define a set of membership privileges that identifies how learning to participate in the wiki provides personal benefits.
  • Promotional Video Presentation - We'd benefit from a set of video presentations selling the philosophy and value of the platform, and how it can serve your professional practice. This should start with a script.
  • New User Experience Review - check new user signup process and sequence. Remove unnecessary steps. Check for legibility. Ask test group to evaluate.
  • Topic Editor Cultivation - conduct special events where we gather experts on a topic, and complete updates of Master Topic pages and additions to the wiki to represent current best knowledge.

2024 Planned

First SOW With Wiki Works

  • Page Form Test - We are testing the use of PageForms in combination with Cargo to standardize page creation and categorization. We will maintain a pairity between categories and Cargo data at all times.
  • Bulk Page Creation - We will develop and deploy the ability to load a set of documents, and then autogenerate a set of pages from a CVS spreadsheet.

Second SOW With Wiki Works (DRAFT)

  • Develop and test page forms for four remaining page types.
  • Swap edit with form as only option for most users.
  • Use script to move file namespace content to main namespace
  • Use script to open and complete conversion of categories to Cargo data for existing pages.
  • Test cargo queries
  • Define a new category protocol (Cargo-category parity)
  • Minor improvements to formatting (move sidebar content to template?, site icon, personal>log in,
  • Support domain registration transfer
  • New editor UX customization

2024 Complete

The following items have been completed in 2024.

  • Icon Improvement - add transparent corners to Iconography so they look good on colored backgrounds.
  • Page Type Revision - We are reviewing and adjusting page type, to encompass the heretofor central Document page type with an expanded and coherent Product page type. This involved a reworking of the category schema below. We are rebuilding a more coherent Places system that is less centered on the Landform system, and deploys a bioregional scale nested standard system of places, using a five-scale framework, described in Places
  • Category Review and Categorization - We reviewed the entire category framework, ensure all in-use categories are part of a coherent hierarchical category framework that can be expanded over time, and use this framework as the basis for a transition to structured page data using Cargo. A number of decisions around hierarchical structuring of categories came into play.
    • Removal of any multitopic categories in favor of discrete categories that can be used in queries (replacing "delta rearing by salmon" with "delta", "salmon", and "life history".
    • The complete revision of categories into hierarchical framework can be viewed at Category Update and Page Editing Forms.
    • This includes development of a Template:Category for styling categories. redirects were removed from all categories so that categories can now be browsed freely.
    • A top level Category:Categories is now used for all categories used to organize pages, while a top-top level Category:All Categories is used to capture all categories in use on the platform including for organizing templates, iconography, introductory pages, etc.
    • Clear separation between a political place structure (Category:Nation State) and a physiographic place structure Category:Place that follow separate, and not intertwined hierarchies, but that can each be used to categorize Place pages and thereby allows for sorting of places by a physiographic or a political framework.
    • Develop Category:Purpose as a Workgroup modifier to capture descriptors of efforts, including development of a Category:Social Change used to capture a range of project types that all aim to modify socioeconomic systems.
    • Separation of Category:Legal describing existing legal structures from Category:Legislation which describes groups and efforts that aim to pass laws.
    • Development of a Category:Scale to generate a set of categories that replace the Site concept and develop a five-scale definition of place, with development of a hierarchy of categories for regions and catchments. Categories for Landform Scale places are optional based on user work. A variety of templates (now described at Formatting Templates, are still used to identify landform scale places based on their dominant landform.
    • Development of a Category:Bioregion that is being used to capture place categorization for locations outside the Category:Salish Sea. Some policy decisions need to be made to determine how to consider "surrounding lands". Now and into the future.
  • Multi-Column Templates Using Flexbox - Template:TwoColumn Template:TwoColumnLeftPicture Template:TwoColumnLeftPicture are increasing responsive page layout options. This needs to become more systematic and available through edit windows. These and other features are now described at Formatting Templates
  • Introductory Page Overhaul - We have initiated a revision of the Introduction pages, removing or consolidating pages, particularly into the Big Picture page a Governance page, and a new Style Guide page. This resulted in identification of technical pages now using the Category:Technical. This work will likely continue piecemeal to consolidate and make more coherent.
  • Email stopgap - we lost email functions with the installation transfer, and have not yet moved the domain to its new final registrar, and so we established a google account as a temporary email instrument. This can be changed to a domain once the transfers are complete... no hurry.

2023 Dec 30 - Update

  • SER has assumed stewardship of the wiki under an File:Operating agreement.pdf with WDFW, NOAA, and SERNW as the first supporting partners.
  • Under that operating agreement a contract with WikiWorks included a significant upgrade, including:
    • A new wiki was developed on a server managed by WikiWorks, and the historical wiki content was loaded.
    • The new wiki was loaded using the canasta package with many embedded extensions.
    • Adjustments to the old wiki formatting were made and the default skin reset to Chameleon, with development of a mobile-responsive formatting.
    • WYSIWYG editing
    • Update of all extensions to maintain functions

2022 - Development Planning

We are initiating a major upgrade, setting up a governance system, bringing in agency partners, and shifting ownership to SER.

  1. Develop cost estimate and identify preferred vendor
  2. Establish WDFW-SER relationship for management and upgrade
  3. Complete update and scope development
  4. Fundraising and client prospecting

2022 - Category Changes

  • CANADA/USA - Build out the Canadian integration in the wiki, and check for coherence in workgroup categories. There is USA-centered residue from development. "Federal" could refer to both US or Canadian national government. State clearly refers to Washington State, while "Provincial" can be used to refer to British Colombian. "Local" could be either. It makes sense to have a "USA" vs. "Canada" category to differentiated between federals and locals. Should we have the same with state, and change it to state/provincial? Should we be able to selectively search at the three strata of government either across or excluding the national border?
  • TOPIC CATEGORIES - We have some organic category structures. This could be refined, and we need to figure out if there is a reliable heritable category system we want to use that allows for heritable categorization within a hierarchical structure. At minimum we need to ensure that all categories that organize topics are in the topic category.

2015-2017 Development

  1. Google Analytics. It may be set up, but we need to know how to check on this.
  2. Review WYSIWYG editing options
  3. We lost functionality for QuickLink ( in the last upgrade. This was very useful because unlike the edit window link function it can search for any text string in page names rather than the first characters in page names.. it would be good to get this back.
  4. Creating off-site links is worrisome as agencies are unreliable managers of PDF locations. A fast archive solution would bring a link target onto the wiki and link to it, while allowing for later development of document pages in the future (or automated development of a bare bones document page).
  5. We had talked about quick categorizing using pick lists in the edit window... the SelectCategory extension had lots of bugs. Don't know if there is an alternative to our current static approach.

2013-2015 Development

  • NEW ACCOUNT PROCEDURE - We need a vandal proof mechanisms for allowing the creation of new accounts. It needs: 1) minimum steps, 2) maximum autonomy, 3) no workaround.
  1. User privilages reduced to read only - 'fulluser' privilages created.
  2. Set up email authentication and notification -
  3. New user sends email to site administrators
  4. Site admin promotes account to 'fulluser' privilages using special:userrights page
  5. Site admin notifies user of confirmation by adding template to userpage that requests information

How can we reduce the number of steps and actions by admin?

  • EMAIL NOTIFICATION - As we establish a new account procedure we need to enable email notification.
  • BACKUP - We need a backup strategy as volume grows. TNC can pay an initial fee for an annual cloud-based backup service. I agree that Tarsnap is a reasonable choice if WWU wants to maintain.
  • PSNERP NAMESPACE - [Hold off on this one... I am thinking that more PNSERP data-driven text should be managed as templates, and we need to shut off teh Template namespace to easy editing] I would like to see some PSNERP reports converted out of PDF into interlinked wikiformat. Since these are in some cases peer-reviewed data, I'd like them to be closed to edit. Some of these could be managed as templates, so that those data can be included in other pages, others would be in a new namespace:
    • please create the namespace psnerp: with the alias p: and make that namespace closed to editing except to admin users
    • make the namespace template: closed to editing except to admin.
    • please leave the discussion namespace for these pages open to edit.
  • KMZ/KML/PPTX/DOCX/XLSX SUPPORT - I'd like to make additional file types to supported. Pcereghino 10:19, 31 October 2011 (PDT).
  • DEFAULT SEARCH - Lets set $wgNamespacesToBeSearchedDefault in Local Settings to include FILE: and USER: and CATEGORY:
  • SKIN FORMATTING - changes to the how the skin gets assembled...
    • How can we create a stable navigation menu that integrates our icons... It seems the sidebar is relatively inviolate... perhaps
    • When images are floated on the left, they overlap the bullets on bulleted lists. (in Internet Explorer... not sure if this is exclusive).
    • Lets move the search box to a more familiar top right position.
    • Lets make navigation bar categories bolder.
    • Lets develop some nicer background patterns to replace the current colors.
    • Lets reduce overall font size and spacing, and make the headers heavier (arial bold?) but tighter
    • Lets increase the margin around images and the white space around text in the context box.

Conceptual Development Projects

  • DOCUMENT CATEGORIES - Uploaded media when categorized shows up at the bottom of the category page as 'media in category' separate from 'pages in category'. Our goal is to have both on-wiki and off-wiki documents that can be viewed as members of the document category. In addition it would be nice to have more advanced query functions for the document category, and am not sure if there are good extensions for this. -Pcereghino 10:32, 1 September 2011 (PDT)
  • REDUCE FILE ICON SIZE - the file icons end up being big and taking a lot of space... these could reduced to something like 20px square. This is how it pops up in site code. It looks like height and width are not managed by CSS, but may be a variable grabbed by PHP form the skin or elsewhere? </ul><div class="fullImageLink" id="file"><a href="/index.php/File:Beamer_et_al_2003.pdf" class="image" title="Beamer et al 2003.pdf"><img alt="" src="/skins/common/images/icons/fileicon-pdf.png" width="120" height="120" border="0" /></a></div><div class="fullMedia">

2011-2013 Development

Error issues

  • I am getting a error when I upload JPG or PNG -- In addition, when a image file does upload the page formatting gets screwed up.
    • issue resolved.

User Privilages and Group

  • SPAMBOT DETERRENT - We are starting to get spam-bots developing user accounts. We need to add the extension and a CAPTCHA routine... i'd defer to your choice.
    • CAPTCHA was installed, but there are live vandals that are stil causing problems. We need to go to some kind of verification routine involving email, and perhaps manual promotion of users to privilage.
  • We should create a super user group for the ‘moderator team’ and revisit the permission for our ‘standard editor’
    • resolved, ADMIN and BUREAUCRAT user groups meet needs of moderator team.
  • I’d like to have more deletion authority as we get this set up. I think we should allow file deletion by the file owner as well. Media wiki recommends redirects for deleation. [1] if we still want users to be able to delete pages they have authored (even though others may have updated them) we may be able to modify [2] or allow all users to delete, and add a hook to check if the user is an admin, or the originator of the article [3]
    • Resolved for now... ADMIN user group can delete


  • Please change the logo. I have uploaded an exciting racey image
    • logo now lives at nw_logo.png - now racier than ever.
  • Can we change the font color for the page title something like maroon #800000. In addition I’d like to take a look at the CSS file governing page formatting for some minor tweaks to the box model.
    • Resolved -- in I added to the #firstHeading section #firstHeading {color: #800000;}
      For skinning changes you might look at (excerpt below) Customization Users familiar with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can customize the current skin's file by creating a subpage of their userpage and naming it after the skin plus a .css postfix, "User:Yourname/monobook.css" for example. CSS placed in this sheet overrides the skin's CSS. This requires your site admin to have enabled this feature — if it is enabled, you will see advice text at the top of your custom CSS page about clearing your browser's cache. This can allow you to test what you want uploaded.
  • It would be also useful to setup this extension that allows for greater control of page appearance based on template..