User:Claus chr/RenamedApps

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The Problem

When an application changes its name it creates maintenance problems for us, and raises the question: When and how should the change be reflected in our pages? To maintain two pages is probably not a good idea, and we want to avoid redirections when we can, so the following procedure might work:

After the new name is announced it will take some time (at least 6 month) for this to appear in most recent distros, so we keep the name of the old page, add an info box announcing the new name and a link for the new name in the appropriate Application list - the link goes to the old page.

At some point we move the old page (with all its translations) to a new page, changes all mention of the app to its new name, changes the info text to tell about the old name, and changes the links in Application lists of both old and new version to the new page. (At an even later point we can remove all reference to the old name, but that in not urgent.)

This is a lot of maintenance! And if the text is changed in the meantime, or new links to the page is created the problem grows. This latter problem can be eliminated by using a template. We would then use the template in stead of the application name whenever we want to mention it, whether in text or in a link.

Finally the info box could be made with one of two general templates, which both takes the old and new names as parameters.

The Templates

Assuming AppA changes name to AppB. We would have have a page named "AppA" and in that page (and maybe other pages as well) several mentions of AppA in the text, in section headlines and in image captions. All of these mentions would be replaced by the template {{AppB}}. Also at the top of the page "AppA" we would place {{NewName|old name|new name|date}}, which sets up an info box mentioning that the application is changing its name. Perhaps it would be a good idea to add a parameter for the date?

Any link to the page would look like [[Special:myLanguage/AppA]] and would be replaced by the template [[Special:myLanguage/{{AppB}}]] (again minimizing work; other links involving AppA can be handled similarly.

The Procedures

When the change is first announced

  • Links to the new app name (still going to the old page) are added to the application list(s) alongside the old app name
  • From this time until the name is changed in our page any new text or link referring to the application uses the template
  • Of course, we can also start changing existing references to the app

After some time (half a year?)

  • The app page and all its translations are moved to new pages reflecting the new name
  • The template {{NewName|...}} is changed to {{OldName|...}} - only the name of the template (and possibly the date) needs to be changed.
  • The templates {{AppB}} is changed so that they display the new name rsp. link to the new page.
  • Any remaining mentions of or links to the old page must be changed

After a very long time

  • Remaining traces of the old app name are removed from the application lists and the info box is deleted. No more changes are needed.


It is going to be tough to find all references to a page. We need at least two tools for this:

  • A "What Links Here" that work reliably
  • A text search tool (or even better a search and replace tool). Text search can be done in DPL, but is it reliable?

Not at the moment, apparently. We need to search the text of pages for the occurrence of the link, since the Special:myLanguage links are not picked up by WhatLinksHere and similar tools. However, DPL searches on the content of pages seems to have some upper limit on how many pages or how much text it can handle - it seems it only searches part of our pages when doing text searches - this is true also for ordinary text searches.

This page was last modified on 10 August 2011, at 11:28. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.