Fixed: Lua and other errors on Kannada Wikipedia Time templates

Problem statement 1:

“Lua error in Module:TimeAgo at line 60: attempt to perform arithmetic on a string value”

The above error was prominent across many Infobox templates used on Kannada wikipedia where the different of date of birth and the current date was supposed to show when did the person was born, or when the organization was started etc.

For example: Here is how I wanted to see the start date of Wikipedia

ಟೆಂಪ್ಲೇಟು Infobox website   ವಿಕಿಪೀಡಿಯ

Sample testcases for {{Template:Time_ago}} found here never showed a single value in the above format.

Problem statement 2:

I remember working with M.G Harish an another Kannada wikipedian and admin on a similar issue last year where the expressions used in templates were unable to parse the Kannada numerals and used to result in an another error given below:

Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character “�”

Since 2013 I have been working on articles falling under “Category:Pages with script errors” and working on resolving them step by step. Finding missing templates, modules etc used to be a work around for many such issues. With the expression parse issue reported here on Phabricator I was sure that we needed to understand the modules and templates or atleast mediawiki internals to fix some of these errors effectively. While we got a response from the developers on resolving the expression related issue, I could successfully use the same information fixing the problem statement 1 I have reported above.

To get a clue on similar template usage, I linked the template page to interwiki and found that many Indian and other language wikis use the similar template with some variations. Nepali wiki had the exact same copy of the template {{Template:Time ago}} but with minimal errors. I started skimming through various interlinked modules and template pages to find that the module {{Module:Time ago}} had a small variation in the line 54 and line 60.

 

Line: 54

– local noError, inputTime = pcall( lang.formatDate, lang, ‘U’, args[1], true ) (kn:wiki)

+ local noError, inputTime = pcall( lang.formatDate, lang, ‘xnU’, args[1], true ) (ne:wiki)

Line: 60

– local timeDiff = lang:formatDate( ‘U’, nil, true ) – inputTime (kn:wiki)

+ local timeDiff = lang:formatDate( ‘xnU’, nil, true ) – inputTime (ne:wiki)

The lua error on the first line of this article also clearly says that the error is due to a string that is being passed to perform an arithmetic operation. I applied the small change on the module, previewed the testcases to see the magic of errors disappearing from the screen.

It would be great to get some hands on walk through on the templates, modules, lua and other technologies to ensure language wiki’s look neat and the people working around these technical issues are empowered.

Thanks Ravi for forcing me to post this issue on Wikimedia India Technical Desk. Its a good initiative. It revealed that Punjabi wiki also needed a solution for this and I could apply my findings almost immediately to resolve the problem. Satdeep gill – lets keep exchanging issues and solutions to enhance Indic wiki’s.

Technology for Conserving Language: Presented at Kannada Sahitya Sammelana

81th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Jan 31st – 3rd Feb) happening here in Shravana Belagola, Hasana District, Karnataka. I was fortunate to have got invited to talk about Information technology for Language chaired by Dr. Chidananda Gowda. Dr. U.B Pavanaja and Ram Prakash H from Tachyon Technologies (Quillpad) presented on Kannada Wikipedia and Kannada OCR respectively.

In-spite of unavailability of technology solutions such as projector, internet connectivity etc., I could say we did our best to explain how technology can make difference to the way we look at language and how we can work together to save from reaching extinction.

Here are my slides in which I have tried to explain challenges of Kannada Language survival and solutions explored, invented and developed by few of us. First few slides talk about the carvings found in our ancient sculptures and how Kannada Computing Expert Shri K.P Rao’s Kadamba & Chalukya Fonts helping us to be able to continue researching on these. His work around ‘Apara‘ font which helps the non-kannadiga’s or those who cannot read Kannada scripts to read Kannada in their own language was also an highlight.

Inaccessible sources of data, government websites, libraries and physical status of many archives across country were the source of inspiration to think of mirroring our literary treasure on Internet. Kannada Sanchaya projects such as Vachana Sanchaya, Samooha Sanchaya, Pustaka Sanchaya and others were highlighted to showcase why we need to ensure that the literature should be made available in internet using Unicode and other standards to enable the researchers, students and also common people to experience and continue researching on it forever.

I spoke about the support we got from FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and Free Culture which made the work around Kannada Sanchaya, Wikipedia etc. possible. I also recalled how FOSS helped us make digital libraries reachable/usable to common man. Samooha sanchaya had just done over a week to complete its first milestone of having transliterated 2252 books and the same books can be searched at http://pustaka.sanchaya.net directly in Kannada. “Fuel Project‘ (FUEL – Frequently used entries for localization) which helps us get the community consensus to standardize the localization efforts for language was mentioned how FOSS communities can set standards and also ensure the language projects can take the best out of the resources.

Mobile solutions built by many Kannada IT professionals, Google Transliteration and Guesture search app capability of identifying Kannada on Android, Mozilla Firefox browser and Firefox OS phone were also the highlights of my talk to help understand where we stand today with mobile technology. Also the work that needs more attention here on.

My talk ended with a highlight on the Open Knowledge initiatives, Wikipedia Contributions, Books re-licensed under creative commons by Government of Karnataka’s Cultural department, Niranrajan’s works by Tejaswini Niranjana, and Mysore University etc.

Kannada should never be on endangered language list and It is possible for us to enrich the language for next generation through knowledge sharing, collaboration and by motivating each other by acting responsibly.

Here are my slides in Kannada. Hope I have tried my best to summarize the entire talk in English for my other friends who can’t read and understand Kannada. I shall make my talk transcript available online shortly.

Thank you,


Arivina Alegalu on Samyukta Karnataka

 ‘Arivina Alegalu’ first Kannada e-book on FOSS/Science/Technology released under OpenContent project by Sanchaya team in 2011 to celebrate the freedom of FOSS during Indian independence day celebrations. The project aims to make technology reachable to common man in simple language through people who love language and technology. A young team of writers/technology users started contributing to this project enthusiastically and in 2012 it sees its second release.

Being online still doesn’t help us fulfill our dream of reaching common man. Hence, we always tried finding options to reach out outside internet.

Today, it was an another milestone accomplishment of this project by getting itself printed on ‘Samyukta Karnataka’ Kannada news daily… (Find its online edition here – http://epaper.samyukthakarnataka.com) and secondly, Arivina Alegalu becomes the first e-book under ‘Creative Commons’ CC-By-SA-NA to be printed on any Kannada news daily. We are expecting this project to reach millions of people, inspire and encourage more Kannadiga’s to start contributing technical, scientific and technological writing to literature in one or the other ways.

Kudo’s to entire team and contributors on this occasion.

Arivina Alegalu 2012 released

Arivina Alegalu sees its second release on August 15th as expected. You can now download the book from project page (http://arivu.sanchaya.net/ebook).   10 articles from enthusiasts have participated in our program to spread the waves of Knowledge for Common Man.

2012 release saw a change in the subjects that were covered. We have articles talking about nature, science, society, community, hacking, technology and our favorite subject FOSS.

“Arivina Alegalu” is now available on Android phones and Tablets. Don’t forget to download them via Google Play!

Cover Images were contributed by Pavithra and Mansore (http://belakindi.com) gives it a pleasant look.

Senior Journalist and writer Shri Chamaraj Savadi writes forward for the issue and encourages new writers to continue writing.

E-Book is released under Creative Commons. So go ahead, read, share and distribute….

You’re also welcome to write articles to Arivina Alegalu to spread your knowledge to other Kannadiga’s.

 

Read Arivina Alegalu on Android

 Arivina Alegalu (http://arivu.sanchaya.net) – Project to spread knowledge to common man in Kannada started in 2011 had released its first e-Book last year on  15th August. Thousands of people read through articles on our website and also downloaded PDF to share among friends.

Spreading the real meaning of freedom of knowledge sharing, free content was released through this initiative by our team at http://www.sanchaya.net

Many people had requested for ebook in various version including mobile solutions. It took us a while to realize that we could do it and here is an app on Android!

Go ahead, download and start reading Arivina Alegalu on your android phone. Yes, read this Kannada Ebook on your android mobile or tablet.

The project has come back to life again this year and expecting its second ebook release in few hours to come. Until then, start getting used to android app with 2011 eBook contents. Share it with your friends and We encourage Free and Open Source activities around Kannada. Get in touch with us to explore more opportunities to get involved in community activities.

 

We thank all writers for their contribution for this project!

 

Arivina Alegalu – 2012 – You too can write

 An e-book on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) that makes technology accessible to even those who are confirmed e-illiterate.

Arivina Alegalu (which literally means “Waves of Knowledge”) is conceived as a project that will kick off a series of materials written in Kannada not only about FOSS but also on various other aspects of technology and science. “All these materials will be written, edited, reviewed by people working or researching on the respective areas and released under Creative Commons.

Project was initiated in year 2011 to celebrate Indian Independence day in a unique way.  This e-book is a collection of 14 essays by young software professionals to educate laymen on all things FOSS.

The participants write their experience about science & technology , FOSS etc in Kannada. Selected articles will be posted on http://arivu.sanchaya.net from 1st August to 14th August. Finally on 15th August, all the articles will be released as an eBook under Creative Commons license to reach out to people who love learning and making use of technology.

Its again a time to revisit this project this year and the Team Sanchaya invites articles for 2012 issue.

Last date for writing an article for being part of this project is 28th July 2012. 

Send your entries to : [email protected]

Press release – Arivina Alegalu 2012