Hope you’ve all been well! 🙂 We (the Commons app team) are applying for a Project Grant to fund the development of v3.0 of the Commons Android app. At the moment, we’re approaching completion of our 2nd Individual Engagement Grant, having implemented several major new features, e.g. a revamped map of “nearby places that need photos” with direct uploads and Wikidata integration, user talk notifications, browsing of other Commons pictures with focus on featured images, and 2FA logins. We currently have 4000+ active installs, and 15,000+ distinct images uploaded via our app have been used in Wikimedia articles. In the last 6 months alone, 21,241 files were uploaded via our app, and only 1738 (8.2%) of those files required deletion. We are also proud to report that we have a vibrant, diverse community of volunteers on our GitHub repository, and that we have increased our global user coverage since our first grant.
It has been a rocky road this year, however. One of the major issues we faced was that a large portion of our codebase is based on sparsely-documented legacy code from the very first incarnation of the app 5 years ago (a long time in the Android development world), leading to unpredictable behavior and bugs. We eventually found ourselves in a position where new features built on top of legacy code were causing other features to not work correctly, and even fixes to those problems sometimes had side effects that caused other problems. (My sincerest apologies to users for the inconveniences that they were caused!)
In view of that, our Project Grant proposal focuses on these areas:
- Increasing app stability and code quality: We plan to overhaul our legacy backend to adhere to modern best practices, reduce complexity and dependencies in our codebase, and introduce test-driven development for the first time.
- Targeted acquisition of photos for places that need them: The “Nearby places that need photos” feature has come a long way, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. We plan to introduce new quality-of-life features (e.g. by implementing filters and bookmarks) and fix a few outstanding bugs to make it more user-friendly and convenient to use. We will also complete the final link in the chain of collecting photos for Wikipedia articles that lack them by prompting users to add their recently-uploaded photo to the relevant Wikipedia article.
- Increasing user acquisition in the Global South: We plan to implement a “limited connectivity” mode, allow pausing and resuming of uploads, and put more time and effort into outreach and socializing the app, especially to underrepresented communities.
- We also wish to continue to assist the Commons community to reduce vandalism and improve usability of images uploaded. This will be done by implementing selfie detection, and a “to-do” system that reminds users if an image lacks a description/categories.
Your feedback is important to us! Please do take a look at our proposal, and feel free to let us know what you think on the Discussion page, and/or endorse the proposal if you see fit. If you would like to be part of the project, new volunteers and additions to our diverse team are always welcome – please visit our GitHub repository and say “Hi”. 🙂
We want to thank everyone who has cheered us on and supported us throughout the years. As a community-maintained app, we wouldn’t be here without you.