Forum:Mobile Skin

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Forums: Yew Grove > Mobile Skin

There was recently a comment on Reddit regarding a mobile skin for improving the accessibility of the wiki from mobile devices. One user proposed a quick solution. I don't have the technical expertise to say if their solution will work. But assuming the solution works, is this something that can be implemented? Or can we explain why the solution provided would not work? Here is a permalink to the discussion in question. Rsplayer123 (talk) 13:51, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Discussion[edit source]

Comment - To clarify what the goal of this discussion is based on the comments on that reddit thread is to make the wiki a progressive web app (PWA) which would make the website behave a little more as a native app as explained here:

Basically, Progressive Web Apps use a single file called manifest.json to tell the browser some rules about the site when the user adds the website to their phone/computer home screen. These rules help the site be treated more like a native app than a website; things like filling the screen while removing the URL bar (like a real app), giving full-sized icons instead of the current favicon in a white circle for Android, access to Service Workers that allow you to browse the website offline, make changes offline, use caching to make the website load super duper fast, etc. PWAs make the web look, feel, and act like real apps. Even on laptops/desktops, you can install them via the Windows Store, and they act just like full fledged programs.

The crazy part of all of this? It requires a single file just a couple kilobytes in size, and you don't need to touch any of the site's pages in order to get it to work (except the header file, to included the manifest on every page in the head). It takes five minutes to setup, but makes the site 100x easier to use as a user. It even appears in your app drawer on Android, just like normal apps.

Here's a reply by one of our sysadmins, Jayden:

Hi, really appreciate the enthusiasm for PWAs - I know what they do, and I'm not writing the idea off, but it's not as straight forward to implement for us right now.

and take mere minutes for any developer to implement

We serve from a single MediaWiki install, using different databases depending on the domain you're viewing, so there's not one wiki per directory that we could just throw a manifest.json file in.

MediaWiki isn't really built to take full advantage of a PWA right now, which is why you don't find sites like Wikipedia adopting PWAs. Wikimedia, the company who develop MediaWiki and own Wikipedia, have explored the possibility of implementing it on a number of occasions, and there are even tasks tracked for it on their issue tracker, including here:

I'm not saying we won't do it, but turning a wiki site into a PWA takes a bit more effort than your average website.

Personally I think it's nice to have, but I'd rather have the option to manipulate the URL to edit the wiki on my phone more easily as the mobile editor always lets you edit one section and I rather have the option to edit the entire page. But I have seen people ask for an app a looooot, so this might be a nice solution to that problem, however as explained by Jayden, it's not as easy to do this for a wiki as for some other kind of site. Additionally, the mobile site for these new wikis is much better than they were at Wikia/Fandom, so I personally don't really see a need to have an app or PWA for the wiki, but that's just me. :P Farming-icon.png Salix of Prifddinas (Talk) Prifddinas lodestone icon.png 09:27, 17 April 2019 (UTC)