User:K6ka/Archives/Infobox template migration

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Infobox template migration on The Sims Wiki

This blog post is primarily geared towards The Sims Wiki editors. It contains technical information that may be irrelevant to non-editors.

I wanted to take a few minutes to update the wiki community about the ongoing process to update and replace The Sims Wiki's infobox templates.[note 1]

Early in 2018, we started a community discussion centered on creating a new infobox design for The Sims Wiki. The new infoboxes are more concise and better integrated into The Sims Wiki's CSS code,[note 2] meaning that pages using the new infoboxes load faster, and edits to those pages are saved faster, than with the old infoboxes. The new infoboxes are also designed to conform to The Sims Wiki's broader visual themes, such as the design of the Main Page and the content and community portal pages.

As of now, we have produced several new infobox templates using the new design. The goal is to finish converting any remaining infoboxes that have not been updated yet, and this is an ongoing process. That said, the infoboxes that have been created have been tested and are ready to be implemented in articles on the wiki!

How will this change affect editing the wiki?

As mentioned before, saving edits and loading pages that use the new infoboxes should be noticeably faster than loading or saving pages using the old infoboxes. Aside from this, the new infoboxes function very similarly, if not identically, to the templates they are replacing. Indeed, one of the main goals of the update was to maintain the same functionality for the new infoboxes, to ease migration from one template to another.

Updating from old to new infoboxes is in many cases as simple as adding or deleting a couple words. Most new infoboxes are named "Infobox <template name>." So, for example, a page using {{Object}} would simply need to be edited to use {{Infobox object}} instead; no other changes are necessary in most cases.

Why didn't we just update the original templates? Why create new templates?

From a technical standpoint, the easiest way for us to transition from old to new infobox design would've been for us to simply edit the original infoboxes and replace the old code with the new infobox code. We deliberately chose not to do this, however. The main reason for this decision is that we wanted to give editors, especially fanon editors, the choice of which infobox design to use for a particular page. Additionally, while in most cases transitioning from old to new design should be seamless, we cannot guarantee that every single transition will be 100% perfect without some additional tweaks. In order to avoid multiple problems on multiple pages simultaneously, it makes more sense to create new templates and migrate each page over to the new templates one by one (or with the assistance of a bot).

Notes on fanon usage

The new infoboxes are free to be used on canon and fanon pages. Going forward, all canon pages will be transitioned into using the new infoboxes, and fanon authors are encouraged to update their pages to use the new infoboxes as well. However, we are not requiring that fanon works use the new infoboxes, and are not automatically updating fanon pages from old to new infobox designs. Our hope is that fanon authors will see the new infoboxes in action and choose to update their work, but we don't want to force anyone into that change.

Notes on Sim infoboxes and "Simbio" templates

One of the main significant changes, from a functionality standpoint, is in regards to the new Sim infoboxes and the discontinuation of {{Simbio-start}} and the other "Simbio" templates. Presently, The Sims Wiki uses two different sets of infoboxes, depending on whether a particular Sim appears in a single game or appears in multiple games. In single-game Sims, currently those pages use a {{Sim}} template – Sims from the original The Sims and its expansions use {{Sim1}}, The Sims 2 (and expansion) Sims use {{Sim2}}, etc. For multi-game Sims, currently those pages use {{Simbio-start}} and then a series of simbio templates – for example, a Sim appearing in The Sims, The Sims 2 and The Sims 4 uses {{Simbio-start}}, {{Simbio1}}, {{Simbio2}}, and {{Simbio4}}.

Under the new infobox system, all Sim pages will simply use {{Infobox Sim}}-based templates, and {{Simbio-start}} will not be used. For instance, in the multi-game example above, that page under the new system will use {{Infobox Sim1}}, {{Infobox Sim2}}, and {{Infobox Sim4}}. The important thing to keep in mind is that some information currently contained in {{Simbio-start}} will have to be added to the individual Infobox Sim templates. This information would include any of the information included in Simbio-start, including the Sim's name, family members, sex, etc.

The community reached a conclusion a few years ago that Simbio templates would be discontinued, but there was no determination made when that change would take place. When development of the new infoboxes started, the issue was brought up again, but as of now, consensus still supports discontinuation of Simbio templates. As a result, the Simbio templates have not been converted to the new infobox design, and there are no plans to convert them in the future.

Note that, as before, fanon authors aren't being forced into this change. Fanon pages that utilize Simbio-start and the Simbio templates will be not be forced to change, and new fanon pages can still utilize those templates. However, those templates will remain with the old infobox design, so any fanon authors wishing to use the new infobox design will have to transition from Simbio to Infobox Sim templates and discontinue use of Simbio-start.

Going forward

Right now, the infobox templates are live and ready to be used on canon and fanon articles on the wiki. As mentioned before, in most cases, the transition from old to new design should be relatively pain-free. As we go forward, many of our articles may be updated through the use of a Bot, so you can expect to see the new infobox designs pop up on many more pages in the very near future. However, this transition will not be 100% automatic. Notably with the conversion from Simbio to Infobox Sim on Sim pages, manual conversion by an editor will be necessary. We are looking for any editors who are comfortable with this level of editing to assist in making the transition.

Final thoughts

The new infobox has been a long time in the making. Hopefully all the readers and editors of The Sims Wiki will appreciate the new design and the time and effort that went into creating it. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the project in the form of design and coding, troubleshooting, and/or giving feedback. Though the templates are going live today, this likely will not be the end of the project, so I hope that everyone will continue to participate and assist as we go forward.

If you've got some additional questions, be sure to read through the discussion thread I linked to above for answers. If you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment here or on that thread, and we will get back to you with an answer or solution.

As always, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below. Additionally, if there is a technical or other issue with the new template design, please leave a message either below or on the administrators' noticeboard so that we can look into it and fix it. Finally, the original discussion thread remains open for any and all feedback, positive or negative. This design has been implemented based on months of discussion and consensus, but that does not mean that it cannot be changed in the future if the community wishes it to be.

My hope is that the transition from old to new design will be relatively smooth, and that all readers and editors on The Sims Wiki will enjoy the new design!

Thank you -- LostInRiverview talk · blog · contribs 23:32, June 12, 2018 (UTC)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. For those who are unaware or unfamiliar with the term, an "infobox" is a template that displays on the right-hand side of a page, and usually includes the name of the page or the subject, a picture, and major details about the subject. You can find infoboxes on pages about Sims, families, objects, video games, and more
  2. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a style language that determines how content is presented visually. The Sims Wiki uses CSS to design many of the templates for the wiki, including the old and new infoboxes