Wikimedia hasn't been focusing on the mobile front for long, but the progress has been strong. In less than a year, the organization put out a nice Wikipedia app for Android and iOS and more recently a Wiktionary app as well.
However, while the app was good enough, Wikimedia had no real infrastructure to support it, so the developers were forced to scrape the actual Wikipedia site, the mobile version, grab the content and display it in the app.
That's a very poor solution even if you're a third-party and it's even more embarrassing if you have to do it for your own site.
Not anymore though, Wikimedia has now rolled out a dedicated API
for access to Wikipedia articles. The official Wikipedia app was the first to adopt it and the results were immediately noticeable, the app was considerably faster than before.
"Most Wikipedia app developers are screen-scraping the mobile site, or using the desktop site’s HTML and applying some home-made transformations to it. Our official apps used to screen-scrape, too, but now there’s a better alternative: over the last half year, the mobile team has developed a specialized API for mobile apps to use," Wikimedia's Max Semenik, who works on mobile projects, wrote
The best part about the API, obviously, is that other developers can use it. Therefore, if you're using Wikipedia data in any form for your mobile app, you can now grab just the data you need and rest assured that the method you're using to get that data will work for the foreseeable future.