Sep 28 2011

MediaWiki: The Definitive Wiki Engine

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By now most everyone online has heard of Wikipedia; the online encyclopedia that boasts millions of articles in dozens of languages. It revolutionised the way content was delivered online and popularised the word ‘Wiki‘. According to Google, it is the 6th most popular website in the world.

What you may not know is that Wikipedia is powered by wiki software called MediaWiki. In fact, all projects of the Wikimedia Foundation use MediaWiki such as Wiktionary, Wikiquote and Wikibooks.

MediaWilki

What is MediaWiki?

MediaWiki is a free open source script that was released on January 25 2002 under the GNU General Public License. When Wikipedia was released in January 2001 it was originally based on UseModWiki software. However in the Summer of 2001 a German Wikipedia editor called Magnus Manske began working on a replacement as UseModWiki was proving to be too limiting.

Written in PHP with all the information being stored in a MySQL database, the improved Wiki software would eventually power Wikipedia from July 2002 onwards and would become known as MediaWiki.

The download file is only 14mb in size yet the platform can support websites with terabytes of content and huge amounts of traffic. It’s easy to use, easy to edit, allows reverting to previous revisions in case of spamming and is multimedia friendly. Caching is supported too.

The software has over 700 configuration settings and over 1,800 extensions as well making it a very flexible platform for publishing content online.

12 Popular Websites That Use MediaWiki

You may have visited a website that was powered by MediaWiki already without knowing it.

Below is a list of 11 popular websites that publish content using the MediaWiki software. As you will see, the majority of websites that use MediaWiki don’t modify the design of the script beyond uploading their own logo.

1. Wikipedia

The first website to use MediaWiki and by far the most popular website using the script. As previously mentioned, Wikipedia redefined how information was published online.

Wikipedia

2. Wikiquote

A project of the Wikimedia Foundation, WikiQuote is where you find famous quotations from famous people, films and literature.

WikiQuote

3. Conservapedia

An encyclopedia that does not allow bias or distortion of the truth in it’s articles.

Conservapedia

4. Metapedia

Focuses on culture, art, science, philosophy and politics.

Metapedia

5. WikiTravel

One of the most popular travel websites on the web.

WikiTravel

6. WikiCars

One of the largest guides to cars on the internet.

WikiCars

7. Wikihow

The largest collection of ‘How To’ articles on the web.

WikiHow

8. WikiSummaries

Over 3,000 free summaries of books.

WikiSummaries

10. Wikia

A for-profit website that was built using MediaWiki. It’s the home of some of the most popular wikis on the web such as the Star Trek information site Memory Alpha, the Lost encyclopedia Lostpedia,
Unclopedia, Lyric Wiki and World of Warcraft Wiki.

Wikia

11. Game Programming Wiki

A resource for game developers that provides tutorials and code for programming video games.

Game Programming Wiki

12. The TV IV

The site is a virtual compendium of television knowledge that anyone can edit.

The TV IV

30 Free MediaWiki Templates

As we have seen, most MediaWiki users don’t customise their design beyond the aforementioned logo change. The default skin for versions after 1.6 of MediaWiki is called Vector. It’s a plain design but very functional.

If you are looking to set your wiki out from the crowd, you may want to customise your site by uploading one of the many skins available for the script.

1. Fratman

Fratman

Info & Download

2. BlueWiki

BlueWiki

Info & Download

3. KindofBlue

KindofBlue

Info & Download

4. Rounded Blue

Rounded Blue

Download

5. Rounded Sassy

Rounded Sassy

Download

6. Misty Look

Misty Look

Info & Download

7. Andy’s MediaWiki Skin

Andy's MediaWiki Skin

Info & Download

8. SnaggleTooth

SnaggleTooth

Info & Download |

9. ItrMenuPlus

ItrMenuPlus

Info & Download

10. Cavendish

Cavendish

Download

11. Wolfbane

Wolfbane

Info & Download

12. WPtouch

WPtouch

Info & Download

13. Pixeled

Pixeled

Info & Download

14. WoW Wikia

WOW Wiki

Info

15. WordPress TwentyTen

WordPress TwentyTen

Info & Download

16. The Erudite MW

The Erudite MW

Info & Download

17. GuMax

Gumax

Info & Download

18. ycgu_max

ycgu_max

Info & Download

19. Clean

Clean

Info & Download

20. Clean and Blue

Clean and Blue

Info & Download

21. SnapHouston

SnapHouston

Info & Download

22. Cosmo Chips

Cosmo Chips

Info & Download

23. BookJive

BookJive

Info & Download

24. Drupal

Drupal

Info & Download

25. Enhanced Relief

Enhanced Relief

Info & Download

26. FlaternalRefief

FlaternalRefief

Info & Download

27. Cheops

Cheops

Info & Download

28. Dusk

Dusk

Info & Download

29. VbGore

VbGore

Info & Download

30. Tech

Tech

Info & Download

Useful MediaWiki Links & Resources

Some links you may find useful if you decide to use MediaWiki.

Overview

There is a lot of wiki software available for free online, however MediaWiki stands head and shoulders above the rest for it’s ease of use, functionality and flexibility.

Don’t take our word for it. Give It A Try and if it doesn’t do what you need it to do you can always try another wiki script.

(rb)

About the Author

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog. He can also be found on Twitter: @KevinMuldoon.

Homepage

Twitter Page

Comments and Discussions
  • Richard Carter, 28 September 2011

    Always nice to see MediaWiki in the spotlight! It’s also used on a lot of ‘corporate’ sites – Adobe uses it for their Adobe Labs wiki, Intel uses it internally, and Mozilla and WordPress use MediaWiki for documentation.

  • Richard Heigl, 28 September 2011

    There is a free MediaWiki distribution for enterprises coming: http://www.blue-spice.org :-)

  • roaet, 28 September 2011

    “An encyclopedia that does not allow bias or distortion of the truth in it’s articles.”

    Really? Sounds a bit like this author allows bias and distortion.

    • roaet, 28 September 2011

      Unless he was being sarcastic, but that’d be distortion of the truth in the least. :P

    • Kevin Muldoon, 28 September 2011

      Wouldn’t call it bias. That’s how Conservapedia describes itself. Their words, not mine :)

  • Rana mukherjee, 29 September 2011

    Nice

  • fwolf, 03 October 2011

    The author of this article has probably never used other Wiki engines – MediaWiki is still a mess to properly customize AND use, esp. thanks to that extremely complicated aka bewildering Wiki markup. These are the main reasons why I prefer DokuWiki (aside of being db-independent; ie. the Unix file system is the FASTEST way to store and retrieve data!) – easy to set-up, easy to customize (compared to MediaWiki), and a very well thought-out Wiki markup.

    cu, w0lf.

    • Robert Bowen, 10 October 2011

      As the editor who assigned the author this post, based on a request from our readers to put together some in-depth coverage on specifically MediaWiki and MediaWiki alone, not really caring if your statement is true and he has not tried out any other Wiki frameworks. That wasn’t the point of this post. But thanks for the follow up.

  • Eine wirklich Inforamtion genau was ich recherchiert habe

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