Template talk:Technique/archive

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I've been trying to understand how template work, but I'm still very far from being an expert. I added "tempera and gold" in the possible techniques but admittedly, if we have to add manually all possible items with "and", it may become endless. Is there a way the "and" can be automatically detected for translation ?--Zolo (talk) 07:14, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

✓ Done I tried to add yew in the list of woods in French and German, but it seems it doesn't work ([1]). Can someone fix my mistakes ?--Zolo (talk) 06:49, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

new parameter[edit]

I've added a 2d medium option. {{technique2}}. Do I add it to the original template ? The "{{and}} could surely be bettered (eg, transform "e" to "ed" in Italian when there is a consonant afterwards, which I don't see how to do). I bet the code could be lighter but I don't know how to do that either.--Zolo (talk) 14:07, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

I've included new parameters on {{tl:technique/en}} (Now I know how to make it quite simple), but it works when I use {{tl:technique/en}} direclty but not when I use the main {{tl:technique}} can someone help ?--Zolo (talk) 22:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC) update: apparently, it can't work this way, I only succeeded because I mixed test and non-test parameters. so I'm restarting this topic from the start.

New parameters[edit]

It seems useful to have the option to have more parameters. Quite many artworks have technique like "oil and gold on canvas", that are not currently supported by the template. From what I tried and from the advice I've got, it seems that the simplest solution to do that would be to separate the list of techniques from the main template. For English, we would have:

  • tl/technique/en for the syntax (user:Zolo/test6 for a possible template)
  • tl/technique/en/list (or any other name) with the list of all supported techniques.

The parameter1 and parameter2 lists of the current template could be merged, which would be more convenient if the template is to be applied to 3D artworks. Probably, the "wood" parameter could go by the same occasion, as{{technique|oil|panel|wood=oak}} already yields the same result as {{technique|oil|oak}} Can I do that ?--Zolo (talk) 07:50, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

I've implemented the changes I had mentionned. However, it doesn't work, possibly because I don't understand too well how template fallback works.--Zolo (talk) 11:04, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Special Cases[edit]

What's the reason for the special cases like copper engraving to be in a separate section of Technique/en (and the translations as well)? This way they don't appear in the documentation and nobody will find or even use them as long he isn't looking into the plain sourcecode... suggest to move them to techniques. --Mylius (talk) 22:42, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support. It may heve been once a reason for these cases, but now I don't think there is any--Zolo (talk) 14:31, 30 August 2010 (UTC).
They don't need to be documented in any special way, you can use them in the same way as all the others. Without the special cases {{Technique|engraving|copper}} would be rendered as "engraving on copper" in English. The special case is there so that it get's rendered as "copper engraving" which is the more common way to express it. Each language should maintain its own version of special cases for all combinations of base material and technique where "X on Y" sounds odd or uncommon. --Slomox (talk) 18:28, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah ok thanks for the explanation, I hadn't undertood that it took into account both parameter 1 and parameter 2. So it's useful.--Zolo (talk) 11:04, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
By the way, could you document your recent changes to the template? So far I didn't quite get it. It adds a new parameter but what does it? --Slomox (talk) 22:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I'll document them as soon as it works properly, however, as I noted above, so far it only works when tl technique/en is used directly. What I wanted to do was to allow cases like "oil and tempera on canvas".--Zolo (talk) 07:19, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
✓ Done, I'll do a better doc when translations are done.--Zolo (talk) 19:17, 7 September 2010 (UTC)


I've added the possibility to add adjectives, I don't know to what extent it can be useful, but I think there can be quite a "lot drawing on thick paper", "black pottery", etc. For languages with variable adjectives, it makes things a bit more complex (especially for languages with cases. For French, I just had to add to genre of each word next to its translation and the different forms on the adjectives subpage. The way I did it may be a bit unsightly but I could not think of any other one (if anyone can he would be most welcome). I had first created another subpage that gave the genre of words, but it made maintenance harder, and it was unlikely to be ever updated.--Zolo (talk) 21:10, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Add new parameters[edit]

This template is a bit too complicated for me to edit it directly. How is it possible to add new parameters? There's next to nothing about glass, be it molded or blown, for instance. Also, there's a problem regarding marble. It's ‘Pentelic marble’, not ‘pentelian marble’. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 07:57, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

The list of supported terms for English is at template:technique/en/list, the French one at template:technique/fr/list and so on. At the moment only English, French, German and Spanish versions have been adapted to the new template, so that there are only four lists available. Both "pentilic" and "pentelian" are accepted as input, but the output is "pentelic" in both cases (I've just corrected a typo on the page).
To add a new word, just write it a word at its alphabetical place using the same syntax as for the other words of the list (when terms are numerous, it is much simpler than tematic list, even if it is less easy to see which terms are missing. If you write {{technique|very strange material}} it will just display "very strange material" in all languages and the page will be added to Category:Files with unrecognized term in template:technique, so that that someone should add "very strange material" to the list someday.)--Zolo (talk) 09:48, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
This template is a bit too complicated for me to edit it directly.
Zolo's edits added massively to the complexity of the template. The functionality is good but I don't like the way it is implemented. E.g. {{Technique/en}} contains too much logic. Ideally the language-specific subpages of a template should only contain strings but no logic. (In this case the strings are even outsourced to yet another subtemplate.
I propose that we adopt a different approach for the template. {{Technique}} should contain the code from User:Slomox/test16. It's basically just a template call for {{Technique/layout}}. {{Technique/layout}} hosts the logic currently residing at {{Technique/en}}. {{Technique/layout}} then calls the relevant language subtemplate (several instances of it). The language subtemplate should contain one big switch with all the strings. As I didn't want to interrupt the functionality of the heavy used /en subtemplate I updated the less used /nds subtemplate to show how the file would look.
[2] shows that it works fine. --Slomox (talk) 12:58, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
What makes the template look a bit complex is the use of a "color" parameter. I added it because adjectives are massively used in images from Brooklyn Museum. Since it is Commons' first partnership with an art museum, I didn't feel like removing the infos they had provided. And since adjectives don't behave the same way in every language, I couldn't think of any other way of doing it than to create one separate template for each language.
If I correctly understand your proposal, {{technique|color=blue|paper}} would yield "blau Papier" in German and "bleu papier" in French ? I'm not sure for the German form but the French one looks strange. That said, if you think that colors could be removed, or that we needn't try to imitate natural language, I am fine with it. But if you know how to move the logic to one single page while keeping a natural language feel, I think it would be even better.--Zolo (talk) 15:34, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I admit I hadn't thought about that ;-) But it can be fixed by adding an adjective/noun order parameter in the language subtemplates (or as a template of its own).
The German example will be (and already is now) ungrammatical nonetheless (blaues Papier, blaue Leinwand, blauer Marmor, auf blauem Marmor). That can only be fixed by either making accessible the genus of a word somehow or by rearranging the words (like Papier (blau)).
It's always important to challenge ideas with cases where they fail. That's the only way to build them robust right away. --Slomox (talk) 16:35, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I think my proposal of a Technique -> Technique/layout -> Technique/xx chain is no good idea. Makes language-specific adaptations unnecessarily hard. It's better to opt for the usual Technique -> Technique/xx -> Technique/layout chain. That allows languages to call specialized Technique/layout/xx templates if necessary. I rebuild my example accordingly. --Slomox (talk) 16:56, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
For {{technique/de|marble|color=blue|marble|coloron=blue}}, the current template yields Marmor, is there anything wrong ? Grammatical mistake appear when we have a color for support + an adjective in the name of the support. For example {{technique/de|ink|laid paper|coloron=blue}} yields Tinte. It could be solved by moving "laid" adjective to template:technique/de/adjectives, but that would make things quite confusing.
Your proposed "Papier (blau)" is probably the most convenient solution if we want to do numerous solutions, but would auf Papier (blau) be okay ?--Zolo (talk) 17:08, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Always check the facts before claiming things... I assumed the template doesn't look for genus and numerus without actually checking it. Sorry for that. Your are right, it works for German. Although I don't think that we should develop this further. Aiming at natural language in correct grammar leads to templates that are so complex that nobody can understand them.
would auf Papier (blau) be okay ? If you append the adjective in parentheses it always appears in it's simple form. --Slomox (talk) 17:31, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Sculptures from stone[edit]

Hi, I am missing values for sculptures from stone, e.g. basalt as in File:Bundesverwaltungsamt - Zentrale Köln - Skulptur von Erwin Heerich (7534-36).jpg. Do I oversee something? Otherwise I propose to add values for sculptures, stone, basalt etc. Raymond 12:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, there are still many materials missing (all the more as the template was long used only for paintings and drawings). You can add words at {{technique/en/list}}, {{technique/de/list}} etc.--Zolo (talk) 18:56, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing me to these templates. I added basalt now. Raymond 19:11, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Black chalk[edit]

I have the following question: What is meant by "black chalk". Is it a special kind of chalk or is it just chalk in black, like you have chalk in any possible colour? Regards, Vincent Steenberg (talk) 12:49, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

I had never heard of it, but I found it in some files. Apparently, it is (or sometimes is) a special kind of chalk. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has an entry about it [3].--Zolo (talk) 15:02, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
By the way is there anything special about "{{technique|oil and tempera}} or is is synonymous with {{technique|oil|and=tempera}}"--Zolo (talk) 15:07, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
ok, thanks for the link. I added "oil and tempera" as an alternative to "oil|and=tempera", because this technique is not uncommon and the first sounds more natural than the second. I hope it doesn't undermine the structure of {{Technique}}. Vincent Steenberg (talk) 16:16, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
It does not undermine the structure of the template and it is certainly easier to write. So a few terms like that may come in handy, but I think we should avoid to have too many of them, because the list needs to be translated in as many languages as possible and is already quite long. --Zolo (talk) 18:09, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Unclear techniques[edit]

While working on Polish translation I run into bunch of entries I did not understand. I do not know much about art techniques/materials but may be people who know them can provide links to Wikipedia articles describing them or examples of phrases they can be used in. Some of unclear entries:

  • form
  • style
  • gofun
  • luster | lustre
  • examples
  • technique
  • pebble
  • Also why do we need plural forms of some techniques / materials but not the others? for example we have "pearl" and "pearls", "amethyst" and "amethysts" but only one "diamond". We have "drawing" and "drawings"
  • Is "hide" the same as "leather"?
  • Is "rose granite" a special type of granite or is the same as "pink granite" ({{Technique|granite|color=pink}})

--Jarekt (talk) 02:09, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Gofun is a kind of Japanese lacquer (see here or fr.wiki for an image)
I had added a plural form to "pearl" and "amethyst" because I happened to need them. I think we would need them for other stones and other countables items. It makes the list quite lengthy though.
I am not sure about the other but I think
  • "rose granite" is the same as {{technique|granite|color=pink}}
  • "hide" has a broader meaning than "leather".--Zolo (talk) 06:15, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
  • "luster" refers to luster glaze (we may need to check usage)--Zolo (talk) 06:23, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, for gofun link - I could not figure it out. I would like to propose alteration to hide and luster:
  • hide -> hide|leather = leather
  • luster|lustre -> luster|lustre|lusterware = Lusterware
I still do not understand how form, style, examples, technique and pebble are meant to be used. I think I will create temporary directories for files based on {{technique}} parameters to see. --Jarekt (talk) 13:56, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me except for luster: I think we can have "luster on porcelain" but not "lusterware on porcelain. Maybe you could include "hide" in the director to see if it can really be replace by "leather"--Zolo (talk) 09:53, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Use statistics[edit]

I added some temporary maintenance categories and can see how different parameters are used. The results can be found at Template:Technique/statistics in 2 tables:

  1. table of number of uses for each parameter as parameter #1 and #2
  2. table of most frequently used unsupported parameters

The actual categories can be found for time being here. I think some of the frequently used unsupported parameters should be added. Also it is a good chance to examine some unused terms. For example already mentioned above terms: form, style, examples, technique are unused. I think we should delete them unless there is some purpose they are serving. Other terms like: pebble or color do not seem to be used properly (at least in English). Do they make sense in some other language? --Jarekt (talk) 03:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Good idea thanks. I have see "color and ink" and "ink and color" quite often. There are respectively 958.000 and 508.000 Google hits so I guess it is correct but I don't know what it means technically. I am not sure for pebble.--Zolo (talk) 13:34, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

✓ Done I retired form, style, examples and technique and added leather. --Jarekt (talk) 02:39, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

simplication proposal[edit]

As several people noted, this template is certainly too complicated (both for use and for maintenance). So I am trying to see how it could be made better.

  • About use, I cant see much that can be done with our current string handling capabilities.
  • About template readability/maintenance:
    • we could unite all /lang pages on the main page, rather than technique/en etc. We may even have a 'case' system like Template:NationAndOccupation/default. The total number of cases would certainly be high, but I think that some cases would be used by many languages
    • We face a trade off between a natural langage feel and complex simplicity. Slomox proposed to use parentheses to simplify the German template (unfortunately we cannot do that for French). There may be other similar possibilities.
    • Some languages still have an old version of the template, and I guess this has to do with the template`s complexity. So I would suggest to add a default for then. Something like

|{{{1|}}} ({{{adj|}}})

|{{{and|}}} ({{{adjadj|}}})

|{{{2|}}} ({{{adjon|}}})


Any other suggestion ?--Zolo (talk) 05:41, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

I think we should start with trimming some of the rarely used options and parameters - more like RISC approach. I do not think we need 5 techniques over 6th technique on 2 types of backgrounds mounted on 3rd all with adjectives. I do not think we need template that can translate 100% of phrases found out there. Much smaller template with many translations that can do 90% cases would do. I put a lot of work to translate Polish version (Polish Declensions genders make it extra messy) and can understand why this template has so few full translations - language subtemplates are too complex. It is not the just translating few terms - it is like building a whole new template. I think it would be great if we could , as Zolo suggests, create Template:Technique/default (use Template:Technique/layout again?) similar to Template:NationAndOccupation/default which would replace /en, /de, /pl, etc. --Jarekt (talk) 13:09, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
I had tried to create a template that could handle most of the Brooklyn Museum's uploads (they used {{technique}} but many of them had complex technique descriptions that did not fit at all). Anyway, even with this version of the template there are still many cases that do not work, so I suppose that we can go back to something simpler. I don't know exactly what can be removed, probably the "on2" at least. Removing adjectives would make the template substantially simpler but it is used in almost 700 files. I don't know if we should keep it, but to me it should either be completely removed or kept for each parameter.--Zolo (talk) 02:00, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I think adjectives are fine. May be limit number of "and"s and remove "on2". How often "over" is used? --Jarekt (talk) 03:07, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
There are about 400 files using over but most of them are from the same series. I don't really see the end as a problem. They all have the same structure, so this is rather simple. The "and2" paramemeter name is awkward to say the least but since "2" is used for "on", I don't see any other solution.--Zolo (talk) 01:52, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
May be we can add term "watercolor over graphite" and possibly few other to the list if supported terms and retire "over" parameter. There cant be too many of those combinations. --Jarekt (talk) 03:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. There can be many combinations but I don't think they will happen very often. So maybe we could have two pages, one for the "1" "and" etc. and one for the "on" ? It should make the template easier, especially if some languages put the "on" before the rest. Another thing that would make the template more readable would be to use #titleparts for genders and declensions but it bugs when there are internal links.--Zolo (talk) 05:19, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
I have created a some toy sandboxes. It does not support "on" yet. See also Template:Technique/testcases--Zolo


Much of the new version is ready, see testcases. Some comments:

  • It is quite complex, with several subtemplates. But I think the structure is better and it is easier to add languages.
    • There is a preprossecssing page, it makes one more subtemplate, but it would also make it easier to move to more more user-friendly mode when this proves reasonably efficient (what i have in mind is replacing the "and" and "adjand2" by slashes and parentheses)
    • It is certainly less efficient than the current template but I think that "developability" and maintainability are really improved.
  • It relies heavily on the #titleparts parser function, which was clearly not created for that purpose and does not support interwikis.
    • I have put interwikis at template:technique/interwiki. To me it can make sense if this becomes bot-updatable.
    • it prevents the use of {{please Translate}}. I don't understand full well what MediaWiki [parser plan is, but I am afraid it has nothing to do with that kind of things.--Zolo (talk) 17:16, 20 May 2011 (UTC) last edited
    • The one thing I don't know how to handle are the special cases like "frescocanvas" of template:technique/en. --Zolo (talk) 05:31, 21 May 2011 (UTC) (edited 22 May)
I think it is still to complicated - I have really hard time following the flow of the subtemplates, and as far as I was able to tell it does not work for polish language, and possibly others. I will give it a shoot to see if I can find simpler solution, maybe as temporary {{technique2}}. I was also thinking about spinning off parts of the template to separate {{Adjective}}.--Jarekt (talk) 20:14, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about Polish, I had not checked properly. It should be okay now.
I agree about complexity, but cannot find anything that works for all cases. I have transsformed template:technique/word order by a more general template:nominal group. I am not sure that nominal group is reusable, but it makes the template a bit more readable. If there is no language where "on canvas" appears before "oil" in "oil on canvas", we can drop one subtemplate.--Zolo (talk) 05:55, 24 May 2011 (UTC)--Zolo (talk) 07:35, 24 May 2011 (UTC)


Some remarks: I don't think it's clever to constantly fiddle with the template. It often creates errors and inconsistencies. The template is complex but if you create it once and then leave it alone the complexity will bother nobody. In most cases it's just {{Technique|oil|canvas}} or other simple examples, so the users won't directly experience the complexity. I'm not in favor of removing parameters.

And even more important: don't mess with the structure of the localisations. Recently I updated the 'nds' localisation of this template to reflect changes and additions. I had basically to start from scratch because the structure had changed so much. That's not nice for the localizers. The work they invested should never be lost when the template is changed. And it would help much, if new strings would always be added at the end of the localisation file. That way you can just copy all new additions since the last time and easily translate them. If they are sorted alphabetically and added inbetween the existing strings it becomes a big pain for the localiser to update his localisation. --Slomox (talk) 10:53, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

The problem with the current structure is that, yes, it is substantially different fomr the previous one, and some languages still do not support all functionalities. So I would suggest to adopt a new version that would work for every language with simpler localization pages -and more complex template core if need be. I think it need not remove anything but "on2" is not used at all so I suppse it can get rid of it. I don't know about "over". I think the version I propose make it rather straightforward to include it in the template, so it can be kept if useful. Interwikis should also be moved but I would do it.
About adding new words in the translation lists. I have suggested to have a bot to add them. I don't know if it can be done, but I think it would be the best solution. If we add a {{Please Translate}} to the terms that need to be translated, it should be quite visible wherevere they are -however it cannot be used as is in this template since the list does not support the interwiki links provided in please translate.
I agree with user:Zolo the language sub-templates got so complex that each become its own template using very different logic than the others and very few users were able to maintain them and create the new ones. I would like to achieve a simple structure with most logic in /layout and all translations in simple to follow /xx language subtemples. That way adding new language would require mostly changes to /xx page. In order to simplify the template I broke off adjective part, called it {{Adjective}} and unified its input/output. It will be easier to maintain as its own template. I am also experimenting with some code at {{technique2}}, which is trying to follow the simple structure outlined above. --Jarekt (talk) 14:03, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

New draft[edit]

I have rethought my first draft and tested with fr and pl. The code is now much shorter even if it still has 4 subtemplates+ list pages.

+: As opposed to the current system, all data are displayed even when the template is not fully translated. Internationalization should also be much simpler: two very simple pages: Template:Technique/build element and Template:Technique/final order + list pages should be enough. I have also added shortcuts so that the template is not fully called for such simple terms as "marble" and "oil on canvas" (I think it is important since the majority of cases are simple and the template is really inefficient (try to load Template:Technique/list in a new language).

-: It does not support "over" parameter but I this parameter is not very widely use (Category:Technique with over parameter) and is much more informative than a simple "and" so I think it can be retired. The list of special cases is no longer done in a language by language basis. This is a loss, but not that much I think: most languages seem to have the same exceptions (like "engraving|wood", possibly because "on" does not have really the same meaning here as in "oil on canvas.)--Zolo (talk) 23:11, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

✓ Done. I have kept the "over", though I found some cases where it was not correctly used. It may not be much simpler as before but at least, no info should be lost in any language. Please let me know if you find errors--Zolo (talk) 18:36, 4 December 2011 (UTC)


How can we add adjectives? I'm thinking about 'lacquered'. Also 'gilt' isn't mentioned in the list, although it seems to be supported? Jastrow (Λέγετε) 14:38, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Template:Technique/en/adjectives (for English:) --Zolo (talk) 14:51, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! I've just created Template:Technique/it/adjectives. Can you please check if I'm doing things correctly, template-wise? Jastrow (Λέγετε) 15:40, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
It seems right, thanks for creating it.--Zolo (talk) 16:10, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Apparently it doesn't work properly, see for instance [4]. The masculine singular form isn't correctly formed. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 16:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Ooops sorry I had mistakenly called the "gender" parameter genre in {{technique/it}}. It should be okay now (I had to change my preferences to it and then preview otherwise I could not see the update).--Zolo (talk) 17:23, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Works all right now, thanks. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 20:18, 26 November 2011 (UTC)