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MediaWiki (Wiki)

MediaWiki icon

Available since: version 0.20.0

1. About MediaWiki

MediaWiki is the software that powers the Wikimedia suite of wikis.

Read more about MediaWiki on Wikipedia

2. MediaWiki on FreedomBox

MediaWiki on FreedomBox is configured to be publicly readable and privately editable. Only logged in users can make edits to the wiki. This configuration prevents spam and vandalism on the wiki.

2.1. User management

Users can be created by the MediaWiki administrator (user "admin") only. The "admin" user can also be used to reset passwords of MediaWiki users. The administrator password, if forgotten can be reset anytime from the MediaWiki app page in web interface.

2.2. Use cases

MediaWiki is quite versatile and can be put to many creative uses. It also comes with a lot of plugins and themes and is highly customizable.

2.2.1. Personal Knowledge Repository
  • MediaWiki on FreedomBox can be your own personal knowledge repository. Since MediaWiki has good multimedia support, you can write notes, store images, create checklists, store references and bookmarks etc. in an organized manner. You can store the knowledge of a lifetime in your MediaWiki instance.

2.2.2. Community Wiki
  • A community of users can use MediaWiki as their common repository of knowledge and reference material. It can used as a college notice board, documentation server for a small company, common notebook for study groups or as a fan wiki like wikia.

2.2.3. Personal Wiki-based Website
  • Several websites on the internet are simply MediaWiki instances. MediaWiki on FreedomBox is read-only to visitors. Hence, it can be adapted to serve as your personal website and/or blog. MediaWiki content is easy to export and can be later moved to use another blog engine.

2.3. Editing Wiki Content

The MediaWiki installation on FreedomBox ships with two kinds of editors - WikiText editor and !Visual editor.

2.3.1. WikiText Editor
  • This editor is for editing the wiki directly in MediaWiki's markup language. It has a toolbar for common options like Bold, Italics etc. Click on the Advanced section for more options like Headings, bullet lists etc.

mediawiki-toolbar.png

2.3.2. Visual Editor
  • MediaWiki's VisualEditor extension provides a WYSIWYG interface to editing wiki pages. This extension is bundled with MediaWiki from 1.35 and is enabled by default from FreedomBox 21.9.

    Since this is essentially a rich-text editor, knowledge of MediaWiki's markup language is not required. To use advanced features not available in the VisualEditor (yet), switch back to source editing.

VisualEditor.png

2.3.3. Other Formats
  • You don't have to necessarily learn the MediaWiki formatting language. You can write in your favorite format (Markdown, Org-mode, LaTeX etc.) and convert it to the MediaWiki format using Pandoc.

2.3.4. Image Uploads
  • Image uploads have been enabled since FreedomBox version 0.36.0. You can also directly use images from Wikimedia Commons using a feature called Instant Commons.

2.4. Customization

2.4.1. Skins

MediaWiki's default skin is usually Vector. The default skin set by FreedomBox is Timeless.

Vector is a skin best-suited for viewing on desktop browsers. It is not suitable for mobile screen sizes. Wikimedia sites host a separate mobile site. It is not worth hosting a separate mobile site for small MediaWiki installations like those on FreedomBox. Using a mobile-friendly skin like Timeless is a cheaper way of solving the problem.

Administrators can choose a default skin from the app configuration. Users of the site also have the choice of viewing it with a different skin.

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