From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)Wikimedia Foundation,
Tim Starling (release manager)
Initial release25 January 2002
Stable release
1.27.1 / August 22, 2016; 7 years ago (2016-08-22)[1]
Operating systemCross-platform
Available inMore than 350 languages

MediaWiki is the name of the software that runs all of the Wikimedia projects and many more. MediaWiki was released in 2003. It is a free server-based software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License (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. It 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 1.42.0-wmf.18 (c652ce6).[2]

Usage[change | change source]

Because MediaWiki is flexible, many websites that want people to contribute information use MediaWiki rather than other types of wiki software. Those operated by Fandom are among them.

There are also some websites that use MediaWiki as a content management system.[3]

Extensions[change | change source]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Namespaces[change | change source]

In the default installation of MediaWiki, the software has 17 namespaces[6](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.[7]

Bugs[change | change source]

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.

Skins[change | change source]

The vector skin on English Wikipedia.

Users can change MediaWiki's appearance. They may use one of the several "skins". At different times different skins have been default. For example, Wikipedia once used Monobook before adopting the new Vector skin in version 1.16.[8]

A survey done by Wikimedia showed that more people prefer the Vector skin.

More information[change | change source]

More information about the software:

References[change | change source]

  1. "[MediaWiki-announce] Security Release - 1.27.1, 1.26.4, 1.23.15". MediaWiki-announce mailing list. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. Meta wiki's version page
  3. Sites using MediaWiki for corporations
  4. MediaWiki's category of extensions that became part of the software
  5. MediaWiki's Extension matrix, displaying 2000 out of 2124 members of Category:Extensions
  6. MediaWiki help page on namespaces
  7. MediaWiki's guide on making custom namespaces
  8. Blog post on Wikimedia's blog about the vector skin.

Other websites[change | change source]