Thursday, December 20, 2012

jQuery, MediaWiki 1.20, tabs and other news

About a year ago, Expression pages were modified to show only one language at a time. This was explained in this blog post. Some feedback I had was that the little arrow indicating a dropdown list (when hovering over it) was not obvious for new people. So I have changed the dropdown list to a tab system, that is visible without any hovering. This can be seen in .

Apart from that, the "identical meaning" checkbox has been changed to "=" or "≈" that is selected with a combobox. The main advantage is to solve a bug that we had with the checkbox. Also, it is believed that "=/≈" is easier to understand.
Basically, the idea behind "identical meaning" is that when an exact translation ("=") for a concept does not exist in a given language, the contributors can suggest approximate translations ("≈") that are the closest to the concept in that language.

From the technical side,
OmegaWiki has just been updated to MediaWiki 1.20. Also, a month ago, several javascript functions of OmegaWiki were changed to use jQuery. We don't have enough programmers to implement many wonderful new features (any volunteer?) but at least we try to keep up-to-date with the latest versions of MediaWiki.

From the lexical side,
we now have about 46.000 concepts translated with 470.000 words in 419 languages.
The main language is still English with 48.000 words. I would be happy to reach the 50.000 milestone. We are constantly adding new words but at the same time, we delete "sum of parts" definitions like "ecosystem preservation" = "the preservation of ecosystem" (coming from the GEMET data), and other dummy entries about languages that were created during an other import of data.

Other languages above 10.000 words are Spanish (35610), French (29919), German (29872), Dutch(27402), Italian (17117), Portuguese (15163), Finnish (12694), Swedish (12439), Polish (11776) and Russian (10236).

We also have about 1800 images illustrating our 46.000 concepts, and more than 15.000 links to Wikipedia articles.

Thank you to all contributors.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OmegaWiki is back online

It was apparently a problem with a disk not being recognized.

No data was lost, everything is fine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

OmegaWiki is offline

 Since yesterday afternoon (European time), the OmegaWiki server is not responsive.

 The exact cause is not yet known, but it seems to be a problem with the hardware (could be network card, hard disk, cpu, motherboard, or a combination of these), and I have personally no access to the physical server.

 As a precautionary measure, if anyone has a recent dump (either the full dump or the lexical dump), please tell me. My most recent dump is from the 3rd of September.

 In the meantime, it would be nice to update the page at , as requested by Sj (cf. ) as a step towards potentially obtaining a support from the Wikimedia Foundation.

 Otherwise, just take a break and enjoy the week-end.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The OmegaWiki Visual Dictionary

Sometimes the best way to describe the meaning of a word is to show a picture of what it represents. But sometimes you need to go the other way: you have a picture of something in your mind and you need to find the word for it.
For example, what do you call the thing in a multi-speed bicycle that moves the chain from one set of gears to another?
In OmegaWiki we have a new set of pages of pictures with labels. When you hover with your mouse over one of the labeled parts of the picture, the word for it appears. If you click on the labeled part, you are taken to the Defined Meaning page of the word, where you can see its definitions, synonyms and translations in other languages. The labels are in your default language, but you can switch to another version of the picture using the language links in the left column.
You can access an index of the Visual Dictionary here. Our first pictures are of a human skull, a flower, a bicycle, a tugboat, and a family tree.
A family tree is a good way to visualize the meaning of kinship terms. Did you know that Turkish has many specific kinship terms such as "dünür", which means "parent-in-law of a person's child"? You can see them all in the Visual Dictionary in this diagram.
Commons has many language-neutral, labeled diagrams at [1] that can be readily used in the OmegaWiki Visual Dictionary. If you are familiar with the terminology of one of those pictures, feel free to import it into OmegaWiki. You may want to look at our help page on how to create such labeled diagrams.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Installing and developing OmegaWiki made easier

Since several people willing to help already lost their courage during installation - when it was asked to install the 700MB-big SQL database - I have created an install script that automatically creates a minimal Wikidata (OmegaWiki) database.

The steps are explained at the following page:

Instead of several hours, it now takes a few minutes to have a working development version of OmegaWiki.

For those who wants to have a true copy of the OmegaWiki website, with the entire data, this is still possible and explained at:

For those people out there who have been complaining about missing features for the last 5 years or so: I am sure that in 5 years you have had largely enough time to learn PHP and MySql, and you will now be able to easily and happily develop the features yourself!! :-)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ithkuil language added to OmegaWiki

Ithkuil is a constructed language which is different from other constructed languages. In “classical” constructed languages, like Esperanto, the vocabulary and grammar is based on existing languages, so that people who know some languages can easily learn and use the constructed language with people from other countries.

On the contrary, Ithkuil starts from the idea that existing languages limit the way people can express their thoughts. Therefore, instead of being based on existing languages, the Ithkuil grammar and vocabulary is constructed to correspond to how we think, and to make it possible to express the subtleties of human reasonings or feelings in a logical and concise way.

For example, if you would like to describe in Ithkuil the abstract painting of Marcel Duchamp: “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” (above), you would logically follow the steps explained at to construct the sentence, and obtain something like this:

which is pronunced quite shortly:

Aukkras  êqutta  ogvëuļa  tnou’elkwa  pal-lši  augwaikštülnàmbu.

but actually the equivalent in English is not concise at all:
‘An imaginary representation of a nude woman in the midst of descending a staircase in a step-by-step series of tightly-integrated ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically.’

As can be seen above, the Ithkuil has its own nice script. However, this script is not available in UTF8 and therefore cannot be used in OmegaWiki. The people who use Ithkuil actually use the romanized form on forums, facebook, etc. , which is also what we use at OmegaWiki. This is why the language is actually called "Ithkuil (romanized)".

Some words in Ithkuil:
ithkuîl ( the language itself )
pʰal ( a tree )
Ithkuil also uses the bustrophedon writing, where the first line is written from left to right, the second line from right to left, etc. like a snake. This is unfortunately not yet supported by modern browsers.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

One language at a time

Some words (or expressions) are spelled the same in many languages. For example "India" is translated as "India" in tens of languages.

OmegaWiki used to load all these languages and display them in one page. This resulted in a few minutes of lag while the server was loading all the necessary data (also slowing down requests from other users), and in a huge page with many redundant and unnecessary data. This was even worse if a user decides to edit such a page.

From now on, an expression page displays only one language at a time, and a combobox appears to switch to other languages when the cursor hovers over the language name (see picture).

It also works while editing or viewing the history of a page. As expected, the server does not lag anymore for such a page. Gerard told me that Nauru has even more languages. Now you can click it without fear :-)

A nice side-effect is the possibility to link to a word in a specific language.
For example:
- for the English word "main"
- for the French word "main".

Coming next will be the possibility to filter which languages are shown in the translation tables and definitions, according to what the user wants to see.