LiquidThreads 3.0/Phase 1

This is the page for the "backend" phase, which is Phase 1 of the LiquidThreads re-engineering project. This work package is managed by Alolita Sharma, and is lead by the LiquidThreads lead developer, Andrew Garrett. It was originally written after Phase 1A was completed, and the timeline focusses on the plan for Phase 1B.


The existing LiquidThreads data model was designed with a very different LiquidThreads in mind. Certain design decisions that were made that need to be revisited. For a full discussion of the shortcomings of the existing LiquidThreads data model, see this page.


The objectives of this phase are:

  • to provide short term relief from the bugs that have been occurring in LiquidThreads instances running across Wikimedia Foundation projects.
  • to, as soon as possible, bring the new LiquidThreads object model into production testing, so that it can be tested independently of interaction changes.
  • to provide a stable, flexible and well-documented platform upon which future changes to LiquidThreads can be built.


This timeline includes the following work:

  • Development of the new LiquidThreads data model (already completed)
  • Cosmetic refactoring of the LiquidThreads controller/display model. In general, this will involve abstracting the data model away from the display logic. It will not be exhaustive, and is intended primarily to facilitate the following step.
  • Modification of LiquidThreads controller logic to use the new data model.
  • The implementation of a new post submission and editing form (since the old form will no longer work with existing infrastructure).
  • The implementation of an appropriate migration path for old databases using the existing schema.

This timeline excludes the following work:

  • Any improvements to LiquidThreads interaction.
  • The implementation of an improved "new messages" system.
  • Changes to the fundamental structure of the controller and display
  • Re-implementation of comment search functionality. For the time being, this feature will be removed.

Work Breakdown and TimelineEdit

Phase 1AEdit

Phase 1A is the design and development of a new data model for LiquidThreads.

This phase included:

  • Surveying the problems presented by the existing data model.
  • Determining whether or not a data model rewrite was advisable.
  • Soliciting input on data and structures that needed to be stored.
  • Producing and iterating a data model design.
  • Soliciting feedback on the data model design.
  • Producing a database schema.
  • Writing data classes to provide a standardised interface through which thread data can be accessed.
  • Testing and iterating on the data classes.
  • Soliciting code-level feedback.

Phase 1BEdit

Phase 1B is the integration of a fully developed data model into the LiquidThreads codebase. It is being begun at Easter 2011. As a general principle, integration work will be done before migration and related work, due to the possibility of the data model changing due to problems surfaced in the integration process.

Timelines are approximate, possibly underestimated, and assume that Andrew Garrett is the only developer assigned to this project. They take into account the following probable disruptions:

  • Andrew is working on another large project at Cancer Council Australia, which concludes in late June to mid July.
  • Andrew is a university student, and his general availability will be limited throughout June due to examinations.

This phase includes the following work:

  • Identifying code that currently references the existing data model. Complete
  • Writing a new display class based on existing display logic, and modifying the display code to use the new data model. Complete
  • Writing a new post submission/edit form. Complete
  • Abstracting and updating the action pages (Post, reply, edit, split, merge, move, delete).
  • Updating the API modules to use the abstracted actions and new data model.
  • Writing a new history view for topics and comments.
  • Re-integrating the new object model with the new message notification subsystem.
  • Rewriting log page and Recent Changes integration.
  • Implementing a database migration script.
  • Writing a new integration with the XML dump infrastructure (may need discussion).
  • Implementing subsystem for leaving traces and adding reactions (trade-out item).

Phase 1CEdit

Phase 1C is a phased test deployment of LiquidThreads with its new backend. It is scheduled to begin on July 1 with a branch merge of the work from Phase 1B.

It includes the following work:

  • Merging the lqt-rewrite branch to trunk. Timeline: July 1
  • Phased test deployment of LiquidThreads to TranslateWiki, then, then
  • Production deployment of LiquidThreads with its improved backend to all Wikimedia wikis using LiquidThreads. Timeline: Before Wikimania, August 2.