Our volunteers are awesome. More specifically, Magnus Manske is awesome. He just made reusing pictures from Wikimedia Commons a hundred times easier.
About a year ago, I created some mock-ups of what the ideal file description page should look like on Commons. One of my suggestions was to add a series of buttons for one-click reuse cases, to make it easier for people to reuse the more than 7 million files available on Wikimedia Commons.
These prominent buttons would help users embed the media files in wiki pages, HTML code or simply download the file. If you wanted to include the file in a Wikipedia article, it would provide you with the wikicode for it, so you would only have to copy/paste the code snippet, without having to be a wiki expert. Same thing if you wanted to include the file in an external web page. The “Download” button was an attempt to make the current (and quite frankly, hidden) download link more obvious.
Magnus Manke’s “Stock photo” tool
The tool he wrote was pretty neat, and User:TheDJ and I briefly talked about it on IRC. I also pointed TheDJ to my earlier mock-ups from last year, explaining how the idea was similar.
Today, as I was visiting Commons, I was stunned to see a new version of Magnus’ tool, available on all file description pages, that was clearly inspired by my design. You can see for yourself by visiting any file description page on Commons.
Apparently, TheDJ pointed to my design in the discussion on the Village pump, Magnus implemented it and the feature was globally enabled on Commons for all users.
I think this is fantastic.
Magnus not only reused my design, but he even made it better by adding the possibility to select the size of the file you want to download or embed.
As we held the user experience study for the prototype upload wizard, our users were really pleased to see similar code snippets at the last stage of the wizard, but they were wondering how to obtain this information again. Until now, they couldn’t. Now, anyone can.
We couldn’t implement the improved file description pages as part of the Multimedia Usability grant, because we had to focus on the new upload system. I’m really thrilled to see volunteers taking on such tasks, and I’d like to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to Magnus, TheDJ, and more generally all the awesome volunteers who help make our software platform better.
In a nutshell, reusing media files from Wikimedia Commons just got a lot easier; this is really nifty. I imagine it would be great if this feature, along with a few similar others, could be integrated directly into MediaWiki, or into an extension for media repositories to be enabled on Wikimedia Commons.