Wiki Edit

The MediaWiki Editor for iPad

Pre-release Update

by Don Kosak - September 16th, 2010.
Filed under: News. Tagged as: , , .

I submitted Wiki Edit 1.0 to Apple on September 2nd and after an hour or so entered entered a state called “Waiting for Review”. Apple Reviews each application submitted to the iTunes App Store. It generally takes a week to 10 days from submission until an App is approved for sale.

During the Labor Day weekend in the United States, one of my testers found a few moderate bugs… I had a dilemma, yank the App and lose my place in line, or let it slide.

The errors were:

  • Tapping Preview/Re-Edit rapidly 4 or more times would cause the program to not load previews until you saved the page or canceled.
  • Typing “ ” (the entity code for no-break space) in the editor caused the editor to replace it with a normal space.
  • Some Wikia sites use a special Wikia Rich Text Editor which doesn’t work with iPad.

I decided to fix the bugs, and resubmit.

The button mashing problem was simple to fix. I hadn’t encountered it before, but it was easy to recreate.

For me, the biggest bug was the   issue. It was happening somewhere deep inside of Apple’s UITextView control.  It turns out that a lot of iPad Apps that let you edit text fail when you enter  .  (Try it yourself on Evernote, or any of the To Do or Notepad apps that give you a rectangle to type text into.)  The   gets converted to a regular space and is gone for good. Type “[ ]“, hit save, and you’ll end up with “[ ]“. Wow. That’s a big problem when editing HTML or Wiki Markup.

I discovered it when I made a small change to a long Wikipedia article. I looked at the change list, and found 30+ lines that had   in them were unintentionally changed. I had to revert the article, as without   many phrases were now badly formatted. There’s actually a two year old bug filed with Apple on the issue, and it’s still not fixed in iOS 4.1. I ended up spending about 10 hours making   work in Apple’s UITextView control.  As far as I know, I’m the first to actually fix this.

The last issue turned out to be a simple fix.  I now send a code to Wikia with each edit request letting them know I’m using regular Wiki Markup. (&useeditor=mediawiki)

I retested through the weekend, and re-submitted the App to Apple on September 6th.

Wiki Edit version 1.1 is still “Waiting for Review” as of today (September 16th). I’m disappointed it hasn’t been reviewed yet, but happy to have those three issues taken care of.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been working on Wiki Edit 1.2.

The main changes are in the Webkit based web browser. I’m working on another browser based project, so I took the time to really streamline the browser core. It loads faster, and uses less memory than before. That will be important for the multitasking iPad update in November.

I’ve also streamlined the Wiki detection code, so that once you’ve visited a Wiki, future visits will populate the Wiki menu pretty much instantaneously. In the current version, the page needs to partially load before Wiki Edit can detect if its a MediaWiki site.

I won’t submit version 1.2 until Apple approves version 1.1. I don’t want to delay getting Wiki Edit into the App Store. You’ll automatically get a free update a week or two after 1.1 launches. I’ll keep folks informed via the blog and Twitter.  (@wikiedit)

I am waiting until Wiki Edit launches before adding any major new features.  I want to see what is important to the folks who bought the App.

I’m always looking for suggestions on making Wiki Edit better.


- Don

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