Switchover to Showfacts articles

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The showfacts person templates are sufficiently stable for use by novices. It is painful to watch new users come and try to use the info pages then wind up getting frustrated, so I propose that we do a trial and see how well newcomers fair with just the new Showfacts form for creating and editing article.

This means for the sidebar: Substitution of Create Info Page, Simple Page for Person, and info article template. These would be replaced with a direct link to Form:Person-ex.

I suppose I would add some bulk to explaining how to select a name for a person but then after that, the user would be taken to the current input form. This is the advanced form which allows input of the kitchen sink of data about an individual.

Other documentation would be altered to stop steering users towards info pages.

Conversion of info pages to the so called "showfacts" suite of templates will probably not begin for two weeks.

Is everyone ok with this transition plan? The old pages will still be available for use, and anyone who prefers to continue using some other article scheme of course may opt out. This change affects the article style that we steer new contributors to. Any questions, suggestions? Please comment.

~ Phlox 16:03, September 26, 2009 (UTC)

We should do this rightaway. The current pages for beginners are outdated. The sooner we switch, the better. rtol 16:37, September 26, 2009 (UTC)
I find the new system interesting, however it is much slower when saving than the info pages. On a side note, I have no idea what I did wrong on Robert Peyton (c1640-1686). The children section is showing a hodge podge of information and why it is at the top of the page? If someone could let me know what I did wrong that would be great. Thanks William Allen Shade 20:00, September 26, 2009 (UTC)
Nevermind, figured out what I did wrong with the children. Would still suggest the master page have the children after the biography as it does on info pages. Not happy with the contributor section either, I prefer the old tilde thing as it ads the date and time when it was first done. Just my preference. Doesn't affect anything. William Allen Shade 20:13, September 26, 2009 (UTC)

Elrondlair- Is whatever you did to get children at the top something that a novice might do? If so, perhaps you could give me a brief list of steps so that I can think about preventitive measures. As for performance- were you using the form, or direct editing? The contributors list is something that needs work. I doubt many will set the value, so I want it automatically set. I can do it in javascript but it is not especially high priority. At that time I can look at inserting time as well and will touch base with you on it. ~ Phlox 23:18, September 26, 2009 (UTC)

I was using the Forms version. It is rather slow to open up and slow to save in comparison to the info pages. This is understandable as it is loading a lot more information, but may dissuade some from contributing much. As for my error with the children... I used the forms; which by the way I had to save the main article and re-edit to open up the children forms, not sure if I was missing something but it would be better to have access to the children box in the main editing. Anyway, I listed each child on a separate line not knowing what the format was. Then I discovered to separate each one with a semicolon by experimenting. Now I grant you I just jumped in and if there are instruction pages I have not read them. Thanks William Allen Shade 05:43, September 27, 2009 (UTC)
I also get the children at the top of the page when using the forms input - e.g., see Stephen Jennings Kendall (1797-1832). I have found that I can get a better display by manually moving the showfacts children block below the showfacts person-ex block - could this be automated? Also, when I created Stephen Jennings Kendall (1797-1832) with the forms, no page content other than showfacts person-ex was placed on the page, in contrast to the page I created yesterday. Bruce Kendall 11:49, September 27, 2009 (UTC)
Green check Fixed. This was working fine, but I must have damaged it during the last week and not noticed. Should be back to normal now. Wherever you leave it, it should stay put after an edit using children form.

Not ReadyEdit

Sorry but I don't think this is ready to replace info pages just yet, see the list of issues so far at Forum:Questions about forms. I have given it a try but it is too time consuming and requires too many edits to complete. It shows great promise ut just isn't there. I will have to stick to Info Pages for now. Thanks - William Allen Shade 03:08, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

I understand about the slow speed of the forms template. It has as I said, the kitchen sink of options and is not optimized. 80% of the articles could get by with a dozen parameters. The kitchen sink form has over a hundred. A simple form would be faster and I could put the children stuff on it too- at least for when the article is begun. I agree it is slow, and I expected as much- alpha versions aren't supposed to be optimized.
Ok, I looked at it some more and think I understand better the "too many edits" observation. It first it baffled me why your page history seemed to indicate you were editing without the form because the form (when it is working properly) preloads the first page with lots more templates than what you had on your first edit. It appears the new page mechanism is broken and not preloading the other templates. You should have received an article already populated. I am surprised you made as much progress as you did. It's embarrassing that while these forms handle multiple languages and do date inversion properly, some rudimentary features such as preload were not functioning. It's like you are struggling with the NO2 mix ratio on a dragster and you get it right but then on your first race you wipe out because the tires were flat. Heh heh.
Thanks for giving the early alpha version a trial. I'll give the speed issue a whack and we'll see where we stand in a week. ~ Phlox 07:34, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
Green check Fixed preload. Populating of a new article with all templates was being prevented by a recent change. It should now correctly populate the new page with many more templates like biography, contributors, notes, and rtol's automatic ancestor and age of parents stuff. These may be rearranged as it suits the author. The showfacts one is anchored to the top, but the others float. ~ Phlox 17:09, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

Heads upEdit

I did a second series: Pons I de Fos et Hyeres (935-1000), his children and his grandchildren. After you get used to the new format, it is faster than working with info pages. It is also more robust in that the system assigns the right property values immediately. With info pages, you sometimes have to flush five times. I do not use the forms, by the way. I created the first page (Pons I) with a form, and then copy the contents to his kids and edit the info. I have two tabs open, as the page name of the parent is not available in this mode. rtol 05:31, September 29, 2009 (UTC)


See Inauris d'Apt (1030-?). She also has a subpage showing how inbred she is: Inauris d'Apt (1030-?)/ancestors. While {{showinfo person}} has a row with links to subpages, {{showfacts person}} does not.

Question: I could easily copy the relevant template code from "showinfo" to "showfacts". I've a fear of breaking someone else's baby, though. Are the forms robust enough for me to edit the templates? rtol 21:05, September 29, 2009 (UTC)

I put in ahnentafel quite a while back, but thought better of putting the rest in that way. There are currently 3 others, but there could be more. These have to be rewritten because they use ifexists calls, which is an expensive function. Instead, showfacts person should do a single ask that returns all pages with a property indicating they require a link from the showfacts info box. You then can support as many of these subpages (actually they could be any kind of page with this scheme) as you like at no additional performance penalty. I would have done it already except that you need to mark all the subpages with the new property pointing to the basepage with a bot run. If you want to do it, fine with me. ~ Phlox 23:46, September 29, 2009 (UTC)
I slept on it and decided doing it the way versioning works doesn't make sense. Whether to display these will be a simple parameter on the showfacts person template. ~ Phlox 18:58, September 30, 2009 (UTC)
I'll trust you on this one. Note that a bot run is not really necessary. There are only a handful of form-based pages with subpages at the moment. rtol 19:45, September 30, 2009 (UTC)

The bot has to switch everything from showfacts person-ex to showfacts person anyway, along with the cleanups for semicolons to plus and various other maintenance. It is an extra line. No big deal.

There is no need to trust me about Ifexist. It says so in the parser function documentation:

#ifexist: is considered an "expensive parser function", only a limited number of which can be included on any one page (including functions inside transcluded templates). When this limit is exceeded, the page is categorised into Category:MediaWiki:Expensive-parserfunction-category, and any further #ifexist: functions automatically return false, whether the target page exists or not.

It is crucial that the new templates run as quickly as possible. We should follow any documented guidelines regarding performance issues. This is one of them. Ifexist is convenient, but we should use it only when it is essential. ~ Phlox 17:08, October 1, 2009 (UTC)

Is there an easy way for users to to add user-defined subpages to the new set of tabs? I like to have subpages that contain transcriptions and images of source documents (e.g., see Levi Goddard Kendall (1827-1906)/docs). I had been providing access to this via Template:tabs person but this interacts poorly with the forms editor (which always moves the Showfacts person template to the top of the page - e.g., compare Selium McGary (1831-1910), where this has happened, with Stephen Jennings Kendall (1797-1832), where I haven't used the forms editor since adding the tabs template), and is less elegant than the new tabs. Bruce Kendall 21:55, November 7, 2009 (UTC)

Your change was perfectly fine and I restored it. What was not obvious is how to add internationalized strings. Note that users logged in with other languages need to see alternate tab text, so we can't simply hard code "documents. I added some brief notes on how to add tab names in the future, and made the change to support documents.
You might be tempted to roll eyes and ask how many non-English users we have now, and sure- there are good reasons to be skeptical. However, genealogy is inherently multilingual- at least for non-homogeneous countries. If we want to know what the archaic German cursive letters say in a scanned document from 1684 church records, or want a photo of a tombstone in a village in Bavaria, we are going to be looking to our German contributors for assistance. ~ Phlox 02:01, November 8, 2009 (UTC)

Manual upgrade from old-style article to showfacts articleEdit

I recently asked this on another forum, I think, but this one may be a better place. Is there a way that any "ordinary" user can switch an old page (info or plain vanilla) into the new system? I see a new contributor created a new showfacts page for someone whose father had just an info page. Son's sensor page says he's not his father's son - but he's linked from his father's page. Can I bring his father in from the cold without a bot or AWB?? Some of my fringe relatives need the same thing. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 03:00, February 27, 2010 (UTC)

(See progress report at Forum:Converting a non-form page to an "Edit with form" page and the recently updated Help:Upgrading old-style person articles.) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 15:15, April 19, 2010 (UTC)

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