The Wikimedia Foundation has finally enabled its long-awaited VisualEditor for all logged-in users on the English-language version of Wikipedia. The classic Wikitext source editor will remain available to edit both pages and page sections, and the organization stressed there are currently no plans to remove it.
This is because VisualEditor doesn’t yet support the broad range of functionality that Wikitext allows, and Wikimedia further notes it is aware some editors may prefer it. Nevertheless, the organization is hoping to the majority of editors will transition to VisualEditor, which is why it is slowly becoming the default.
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“There are various reasons that lead existing and prospective contributors not to edit; among them, the complexity of wiki markup is a major issue,” Wikimedia explains. “One of VisualEditor’s goals is to empower knowledgeable and good-faith users to edit and become valuable members of the community, even if they’re not wiki markup experts. We also hope that, with time, experienced editors will find VisualEditor useful for some of their editing tasks.”
Wikimedia recently explained why, after all these years, Wikipedia still relies on a markup code that precludes many people from actively contributing to the world’s biggest online encyclopedia. The organization has been working on VisualEditor, a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor for several years, but called it the “most challenging software project the Wikimedia Foundation has ever worked on.”
Yet VisualEditor is still very much in beta. It currently only supports the latest and recent versions of Chrome (pictured above), Firefox, and Safari. Wikimedia specifically says Internet Explorer is not a supported browser “at this time” and wouldn’t say when that might change. Opera wasn’t mentioned at all.
In December, Wikimedia offered an opt-in private alpha period for VisualEditor, and in June it confirmed the new visual interface would be available in beta in early July, though restricted to logged-in users on English-language articles at first. Now it has finally delivered.
Later this month, Wikimedia plans to open the floodgates to those without an account, and subsequently to other languages too. Until then, the following documentation is available to help guide users through the transition: Portal page, a list of frequently asked questions, and a user guide with screenshots. You can also provide feedback to Wikimedia here.