is a free software package developed for web-based multilingual free
content encyclopedias like Wikipedia and other wikis. MediaWiki was
originally developed for Wikipedia. Later on, this took an important
role in other projects of Wikimedia Foundation. Some of them are:
Meta-Wiki, Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikinews and Wikimedia
Difference between webpage and wikitext
is the textual content that is displayed in the edit box (text editor)
and does not support all features of a webpage. It has been observed
that HTML tags support comments, but in general, comments are not found
in web pages. You can easily add comments to display information in the
wikitext. However, wikitext lacks some features like: images, time
and date of last edit, image description page, and values of the
MediaWiki is a free server based software package
that is licensed under the GNU General Public License. Users can easily
run this software on a large server farm to manage the contents of any
website. We can broadly divide MediaWiki in four layers: data layer,
logic layer, network layer and user layer.
How does MediaWiki work?
you want to edit a page and then submit it MediaWiki writes it to the
database. However, the previous versions of that page's content are
kept in the database to avoid spamming or vandalism. MediaWiki also
manages images and multimedia files stored in the file system. If the
wikis are large with lots of users, MediaWiki supports caching and can
be easily coupled with Squid proxy server software.
Advantages of using MediaWiki
allows you changing the Skins â€“ you can change the logo of the wiki
by altering the logo variable and can use the image you want to use as
logo. You can also change the icon that is displayed in the address bar
of your browser.
allows you to add extensions such as Image Gallery, Forum, Mambo etc.
The file upload feature lets you upload graphics and sound files.
keeps track of edits. The editing features are well developed to meet
users and editors needs. The syntax editing is based on UseMod, with
support for mixing wiki-syntax and HTML.
offers you full text search. Just click on the Go button, it will take
you to the relevant content. With MediaWiki you can also search images,
name of users and site stats.
Features of MediaWiki
contents are stored in the database of MediaWiki and the purpose of
using MediaWiki depends upon the nature of the website that you want to
manage with this software.
Following are some of the significant features of MediaWiki:
editing feature of MediaWiki allows you edit separated sections of an
article. With MediaWiki the procedure of editing is simple and easy.
lets you format the content too. The system will display this toolbar
edits in its Recent Changes list, you can hide edits from the list by
marking them as "minor". Double click editing is another interesting
feature in MediaWiki, which allows the user to edit any article by
clicking twice on the link of the article.
This is how a MediaWiki editing box looks when you try to edit some content:
Structure and syntax
of HTML tags in MediaWiki is restricted. However, you can change this
default mode and can use all HTML tags. Additionally, you can combine
wiki-syntax with HTML tags only through "Editing syntax based on
UseMod". A user can assign several categories to any page and can
maintain hierarchy of categories to track the contents. Making category
and subcategory is quite useful to manage contents. MediaWiki allows
special keywords to insert dynamic data like â€“ page name, date and
number of articles. You can also put links to the individual section of
the articles to make the edit process of the content user-friendly.
Here is the list of preferences you get from MediaWiki.
lets you translate content of articles in 6,500 different languages.
You can link each article with wikis in other languages by applying the "inter-language links" feature. Here you have to maintain separate
database for each wikis (this is applied for each languages). For
example, you create an article in English and in French; you have to
store these articles in two separate databases.
Search and Queries
is a unique feature that you can add to your website to search the
articles. MediaWiki provides searching facility of entire text. The
search procedure is quite simple for the users.
Special report pages come with some remarkable facilities like:
- New Pages that displays list of articles, which are created in the system
- Ancient Pages that provides the facility to sort articles
- List of images, users and titles
- Statistics of the website
- Short and Long articles
- Articles, which are visited regularly
comes with some interesting multimedia tools and extensions. You can
upload both graphics and sound files. All the uploaded files will be
recorded in the Recent Changes list.Â User can easily resize the images
by using the tool "ImageMagick" or "libgd". Also, you can use
simple syntax for writing caption of the image and image alignment.
This is the section that allows you to upload files
is a lucrative feature of MediaWiki that is used for Egyptian
hieroglyphs, but for this you must install a separate component. Another
interesting tool is EasyTimeline. However, you need to install a
separate component to use this.
Tracking all Edits
is easy to track all the edits through the "Watchlist", which you
will find in every page of MediaWiki. Watchlist provides the facility to
track the changes that you had made in the articles and declared as
interesting. Other users can contribute their thoughts by using this
software and all these contributions are recorded in the sidebar of
their pages. Based on these changes the system will automatically update
edits has become easy with"Extended recent changes" feature, which
provides links to differentiate the edits and allows you to view
article history, user page and user talk page. If you wish, you can
select users and block them to access the articles.
changes" is the filtered version of "Recent changes" that allows
you to view recently changed articles. "Side-by-Side diffs" feature
provides the facility to reintegrate the changes. Changes are
highlighted in bold and therefore, differentiating the edit portion from
the unchanged portion becomes easy to understand.
to every article and user page, the software offers a separate section
or page where users can write his/her comments about the articles. "Talk" and "User talk" are two separate namespaces. Other
features of this section are "Message notification" and "Automatic
signature". Message notification works when other users make any
change in the discussion page. In that case the system will display the
notice: "You have new messages". Authors can use "Automatic signature" mainly in "Talk" pages of MediaWiki. Here
you have to type the sign "~" thrice, this you have to do while
changing the content of the article. MediaWiki will automatically
replaces three "~" with user name, current date and a link to user
page of the editor.
maintains different terms and conditions for users. Since this software
is used to share knowledge, therefore it becomes necessary to
differentiate user accessibility of anonymous users, sysops, signed in
users, developers and bureaucrats. Prior registration is mandatory
before making any change in the article; only the "signed in users"
can edit the content of the article.
MediaWiki allows "signed in users" to
- Upload files to the system
- Distinguish the changes as "minor edits"
- Change the name of a page
- Move a page
- Utilize all features of "Watchlist"
can generate sysops to restrict the users to change the contents of the
page. Other than registered users, only sysops can edit the contents of
a protected page.
Moreover, sysops are authorized to
- Restrict any user by the username or IP address
- Restore or delete the pages
- Use SQL queries in the database to manage the content of the articles
of MediaWiki are known as "developers" who are responsible for
locking the database and other operations, which are necessary to
maintain the database of the software.
backend of the software offers features like: Output Caching, Parser
Caching and MySQL driven database. Output Caching is used to save the
entire page as static HTML files to meet the requirements of the
clients. Parser Caching, on the other hand, decreases the redundant
processing. Since the backend of MediaWiki supports Cookie based Account
and Login systems, therefore, unregistered users can also edit the
content of the pages. Apart from all these, RSS and RDF are two
significant features of the backend. Special pages like: "Newpages" and "Recent Changes" contains RSS.
Requirements to install MediaWiki
Minimum system requirements for installing MediaWiki are:
- 32-bit/64-bit Windows: Windows 2000, XP and 98
space: 7 MB for downloads, 21 MB for initial installation and
configuration, additional space as wiki database grows with edits and
- Wikimedia Apache Server
you need to install MediaWiki on your computer, you require 48MB RAM
capacity. However, it is recommended that you maintain 256MB as the
minimum capacity of RAM for each site.