MediaWiki facts for kids
Tim Starling (release manager)
|Initial release||25 January 2002|
1.27.1 / August 22, 2016
|Available in||More than 350 languages|
MediaWiki is the name of the software that runs all of the Wikimedia projects. MediaWiki was released in 2003. It is free server-based software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The software is licensed under the GPL. This means it is free content, or open source.
MediaWiki is designed to be run on a large web server farm for a website that gets millions of hits per day. MediaWiki is a very powerful, scalable software and a feature-rich wiki implementation, that uses PHP to process and display data stored in its MySQL database. Pages use MediaWiki's Wikitext format, so that users without knowledge of XHTML or CSS can edit them easily.
When a user submits an edit to a page, MediaWiki writes it to the database, but without deleting the previous versions of the page, thus allowing easy reverts in case of vandalism or spamming. MediaWiki can manage image and multimedia files, too, which are stored in the filesystem. For large wikis with lots of users, MediaWiki supports caching and can be easily coupled with Squid proxy server software.
All Wikimedia projects run on MediaWiki version 1.28.0.
As MediaWiki is more flexible, therefore many websites use MediaWiki rather than other types of wiki software. Besides Wikimedia, Wikia is also another company that uses MediaWiki greatly for people to contribute information.
There are also some websites that uses MediaWiki as a content management system.
In MediaWiki, a system administrator can choose to install extensions which are provided on the main MediaWiki website. Some are from the MediaWiki developers, while others are from programmers from all around the world.
Most extensions can be download from Wikimedia's Subversion repository. However, there are some other extensions that other people host themselves.
Some extensions had been added to the main software along the development of MediaWiki. For example, the Makesysop extension is an extension to promote a user into an administrator or a bureaucrat.
There were a total of 2124 extensions as of October 4, 2013.
In the default installation of MediaWiki, the software has 17 namespaces(18 actually, but one does not have a namespace), namely:
- Article (No namespace, like this page)
- Talk - for main namespace talk page
- User - the user page, also from Special:MyPage
- User talk - the user talk page, also from Special:MyTalk
- Project - The project namespace(like on this wiki, is Wikipedia)
- Project talk - The project page talk page
- File - Page for images and sounds
- File talk - Talk about the media
- MediaWiki - Software pages, can only be changed from an administrator
- MediaWiki talk - Talk about the software page, anyone can write in this namespace
- Template - for templates
- Template talk - talk about the template
- Help - Help pages(like Help:Contents)
- Help talk - talk about the help page
- Category - Categorising pages
- Category talk - talk about the category
- Special - Special pages of the MediaWiki software
- Media - Namespace to directly link to the file
Additional namespaces can be added using the settings file from the installation of MediaWiki.
As MediaWiki is a complex software, there would always be bugs in the software, especially for new extensions. Therefore, Wikimedia has created a bugzilla website for people who see a bug to tell the developers of MediaWiki.
Some extensions of MediaWiki use the Wikimedia Bugzilla, while some just use the talk pages of the extension page.
During the development of MediaWiki, different skins have come into the main software. For example, Wikipedia used to be using Nostalgia. But it changed to Monobook before the new Vector skin came up in 1.16.
A survey done by Wikimedia showed that more people prefer the Vector skin.
It is possible to change the skin that a user wants to see a wiki as by going to their preferences.
More information about the software:
- Main MediaWiki website
- MediaWiki on Meta Wiki
- MediaWiki User's Guide on Meta Wiki
- PHP script FAQ
- PHP script automatic wikification (former feature)
- How to become a MediaWiki hacker (installation advice)
Images for kids
MediaWiki Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.