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Wiki upgrade 2011

After discussing the wiki weaknesses at the Blender Conference 2010 Documentation Roundtable, the Blender Foundation decided to fund a project to upgrade this wiki.

The project officially started in February 2011. This page collects some facts about the work that has been done during this project (in descending chronological order).

New skin

A new skin - codenamed Naiad - has been developed from scratch. The page has been divided in three areas: in the left area you have tools to search and navigate the wiki, in the center area you can read the content, and on the right you can work with the wiki (user management, page tools, uploads and statistics). Pages can now be seen with many screen resolutions, allowing a better use of space, and making this skin very flexible to your needs!

Naiad 1.png
Naiad 3.png

New navigation system: now using Navigation Tree

A much needed feature for a documentation website is a navtree. Now the wiki provides multiple navtrees. A specific menu allows the selection of the desired navtree, making navigation quick and logical.


New powerful search system

The wiki is now indexed using Sphinx, a powerful open source search engine. This allows us to highly customize search with new features. For example, you can now easily search for a specific language and series (2.4, 2.5, etc.). Not sure which version to search for? Just search them all, and take advantage of the new per series result tabs.

Naiad 2.png
Naiad 4.png

Massive system refactoring and cleanup

There is now a proper wiki development workflow, with two installations of mediawiki: one for developing/testing and one for public deployment. Both wikis are under version control and backed up daily. Registration is now free after email confirmation, and anonymous users are not allowed to edit anymore to prevent spam. Over 40.000 inactive user accounts have been removed.


Better hardware and software solutions

Blender wiki website is now hosted on a faster server, codenamed "Scales". The latest versions of PHP, Imagemagik and Mediawiki are being used.

Naiad 5.png

The team

Ton Roosendaal (NL, Blender Foundation) Supported the project.
Luca Bonavita (IT, mindrones) Coordinated the project, also designing the BlenderWiki structure, installing MediaWiki and its extensions, writing the needed templates and co-designing the skin.
Marco Walraven (NL) System Admin & Engineering, OS support and Sphinx setup/support.
Francesco Siddi (IT, fsiddi) Designed and implemented the "Naiad" skin, and fixed a lot of bugs in the old skin.
Dan McGrath (Canada) Joined the team in Summer 2011 to help with Sphinx development, making it possible to search based on Blender Version and Language.
Bastien Montagne (FR, mont29) Developed some extensions to properly manage the caching mechanism of the new navigation trees.
Nathan Letwory (FI, jesterking) Administered the wiki server more actively in the past years, and has patiently endured us applying our fixes for those years while we didn't have access to the wiki server.