Monday, October 8, 2012

5 years of Article message boxes

Do you recognize these boxes ? Most likely you do. These are the very recognizable "amboxes", which is a short for "Article message boxes". They are often visible at the top of articles in Wikipedia and one of the most recognizable elements of those articles.

Today I noticed that these boxes are now just over 5 years (and a month) old. They were first introduced to the general public starting from September 2007. Their features are in short; a single consistent design, color coded for severity and purpose, dynamic but consistent in width (stackable), IE 5.5 and IE 6.0 compatible and a consistent parameter setup for its content.
And that is a big deal, because I still remember what it looked like before when it had none of that. There were dozens of templates with different widths, different colors, different spacing and they all had different parameters. [I've been trying to find an image from back then, but I haven't been able to find one. Please let me know if you find one.]

It seems just like yesterday that I was one many people participating in their creation. The main design idea of the color bars at the left side seems to have come from [[User:Flamurai]], who already envisioned this in november 2006 it seems, calling it 'Blanca'. It seems he is no longer editing, but I would still like to thank him for this wonderful simple idea that has been in use seemingly without much opposition for so many years now. Most of the implementation was spear headed by David Göthberg if memory serves me well.

The revamp led to an entire family of templates for notices for different kinds of pages in 2008, {{mbox}}, {{cmbox}}, {{imbox}}, {{tmbox}}, {{ombox}}{{asbox}} and {{fmbox}}. In the end the whole effort was a very collaborative effort in which 3 dozen or so active editors made important contributions, including well known names as MZMcBride, Anomie, Happy-Melon, David Levy, Quiddity, RockMFR, Remember the Dot, Ilmari Karonen, Father Goose, Ned Scott etc etc. A lot of effort, opinion and testing has gone into these templates back then and in my opinion, that is why they have been so successful for so long.

So to all those involved over 5 years ago in creating the new article message box styles, congratulations and a big thank you. Especially [[User:Flamurai]] and [[User:David Göthberg]].