MediaWiki grows up – no more playing with Lego

User interface messages built from pieces of text or leaving some parts out of a message are what is called Lego messages. The end result of this practice is not a glittering Lego castle. The end result is more like a shady shack with a leaking roof.

Major Lego message usage in MediaWiki will soon be in the past as I have refactored the MediaWiki logging system and brought the code to match with what we expect from internationalisation today. Instead of snippets “moved X to Y” translators can now work with full sentences like “U moved X to Y”. It makes it possible to change the message to “Page X was moved to Y by U”. Consider the languages where sentences don’t begin with the subject. It must have been as awkward as “moved U X to Y” would be in English.

There is more: translations can now take the gender of the user who performed the action into account. English almost always gets away from taking sides in interface messages, but that is not the case in many other languages.

We already have many translations using these new possibilities:

  • English: Nike moved page Hapsen to Saalen
  • Welsh: Symudwyd y dudalen Hapsen i Saalen gan Nike
  • Russian (male): Nike переименовал страницу Hapsen в Saalen
  • Russian (female): Никa переименовала страницу Hapsen в Saalen

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