Wikirank: A Zeitgeist for Wikipedia

wikirank frontpage

Wikipedia is one of the most significant sites on the web. It produces vast quantities of data and the Wikimedia foundation tries to make all of it available to the public. Wikipedia’s traffic data can be an insight into what’s interesting on the web. Wikirank, currently in closed beta, shares that information very cleanly.

On its homepage Wikirank shows which Wikipedia articles are the most read and which pages are gaining in popularity. Additionally, you can find each article’s detail page via search. On the detail page you can find and article excerpt, traffic numbers and a (soon-to-be-embeddable) traffic chart that allow you to compare traffic with other topics (up to four).

Wikirank (@wikirank) was produced by Small Batch Inc.. The design was done by Jeff Veen, most lately of Google Analytics and previously of Measure Map and Adaptive Path.

Update: In a comment Veen said: Second, the UI wasn’t designed just by me, but was a group effort that included the rest of Small Batch’s cofounders: Bryan Mason, Greg Veen and Ryan Carver. We also were fortunate enough to work with the very talented Dan Cederholm from Simplebits.

In an email, Veen told me that the charts were built without Flash. It’s all Javascript using the HTML Canvas element . The data is being processed in EC2 and stored on S3. Tokyo Cabinet is being used to manage the data store.

wikirank ruby python

With a service like Google Trends available you might wonder why this is significant. Wikipedia only has one page for the Python or Ruby programming languages where as there are a lot of other Rubies or Pythons (or George or Paul for that matter) that dirty the data for the same query on Google Trends. As an added bonus Wikirank will report on Google properties (unlike Google Trends).

wikirank youtube google

You can sign up to be notified of their launch. If you don’t want to wait for Wikirank to go live you could bide our time with some of these alternatives. Wikirage tracks which Wikipedia pages are being edited the most — a good way of judging recent news or controversy. Wikichecker will produce a summary of edits for a page such as Tokyo (the page includes an intriguing “Frequent users also edit these articles” which is an unusual path to potentially similar articles). Wikitrends shows the most popular Wikipedia pages in fourteen languages.

Wikirank is a testament to good, clean design and the power of existing web tools. It’s the first project from Small Batch, but it won’t be the last. I expect that their other projects will also focus on data visualization

Jeff Veen will be keynoting at the Web 2.0 Expo SF on 4/3 and speaking at Ignite SF on 4/1.

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