This is the P2PU Archive. If you want the current site, go to!

MediaWiki appropiation

My recent threads

You haven't posted any discussions yet.

Recently updated threads

This week (#3): installing MediaWiki and basic steps

Go back to: General discussion
Well, let's see who opens fire here now! Jese and Jim have already installed their MediaWikis, anyone else? The first exercise here is simple: just add a comment in this thread with (a) your wiki URL (or configuration script *) and (b) stating any problem or doubt during the process.

The best installation structions are here (with a better English than mine): But also more as a tutorial here (I reccomend steps 1 and 5):

First of all consider (this is recommended, but not critical) that if you want a nice short URL is better to install it in a subdirectory called /w and then you can follow this instructions: If not, your wiki URLs will be longer by default, with /index.php?title= in the middle of all its URLs.

And then what? During this third week I would also like you to consider (and work hard on via FTP, so we can all share the process and technical questions) what we can consider the most important first steps with a brand new MediaWiki:

:: Generate a new top left logo:
:: Customize how do you want the main menu to be (even pointing to blank pages):
:: Modify as you like its CSS markup, so it looks as you want, by accessing MediaWiki:Common.css (or consider a brand new skin, choosing one from here:
:: Get familiar with localsettings.php (from where you can change things like skins, language, enable uploads, copyright info):

This last file (localsettings.php) is the most important in your MediaWiki, where you will be also adding code according to the extensions you want to install (but let's concentrate on extensions next week, first things first! :)

(*) Your config script should look like this:


Brenno Costa's picture
Brenno Costa
Tue, 2011-02-15 05:53


[OK]Pretty URL's:
[OK]New Logo: Red W/M
[ok]Sidebar Customization: I can't get put external links, but i did some edits
[OK]CSS Modification: Little changes
[OK]: I did some Localsettings.php customizations

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-15 10:47

Hi Brenno,

Your installation looks great :) I suppose you agree that is much better with the shortened URLs...

About the logo, I think is very nice to have it changing when rolling over with the cursor. Which method did you use for that?

In relation to the sidebar, it shouldn't be no problem by just putting the entire URL (starting with http:// you know). Something like|Brennovich's Blog in MediaWiki:Sidebar should work...

Brenno Costa's picture
Brenno Costa
Tue, 2011-02-15 17:12

I think which shortened URLs is fundamental..

With the logo I just used CSS3 transition and CSS3 transform, but only works with modern browsers:

#p-logo {
padding: 10px 0 0 0;
transition: all 0.3s ease-in-out;
-moz-transition: all 0.3s ease-in-out;
-webkit-transition: all 0.3s ease-in-out;
#p-logo:hover {
transform: rotate(180deg);
-moz-transform: rotate(180deg);
-webkit-transform: rotate(180deg);
padding: 10px 0 0 0;

The external link works that way, i was trying put inside []

RJ Johnson's picture
RJ Johnson
Tue, 2011-02-15 20:55

I got our wiki installed and made some minor changes. I'm still working on changing to a different style sheet. Here's the link
Best regards,

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Thu, 2011-02-17 00:15

Hi JR,

I see you also shortened its URLs. You may want to consider if you want to modify your navigation sidebar. As you can see by default it comes with Community portal and Current events options, something more related to Wikipedia initial shape than to specific purposes, sometimes can originate confusion to newcomers about where to do what.

Janusz Gesicki's picture
Janusz Gesicki
Tue, 2011-02-15 22:47

Hi there!

[1] Here's the link
[2] added some custom links
[3] made some modifications to css (minor changes in footer and rotate trick by Brenno)
[4] modifiede LocalSettings.php - enabled user css, changed default language and site name

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Thu, 2011-02-17 00:20

Hi Janusz,

Nice logo too, very dynamic :) I see in recent changes you worked intensively on the sidebar and the page footer!

Janusz Gesicki's picture
Janusz Gesicki
Fri, 2011-02-18 14:51

Hi Eric,

thanks for Your appreciation:) I had a little problem customizing css - i've tried to accomplish the task by client-customize functions, but finally done it the right way:) simply following Your instructions:)

Jim Roma's picture
Jim Roma
Wed, 2011-02-16 03:43

Here's my wiki, nothing fancy, just your standard install:

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Thu, 2011-02-17 00:26

Hi Jim,

I see you already started to take your personal annotations there. In case you also want to have a comprehensive and standardized bibliographic tool for your purposes I recommend you to consider this extension for the following week: Bibwiki >

(More on extensions in general on the next thread :)

Toni Sant's picture
Toni Sant
Wed, 2011-02-16 12:18

I already installed MediaWiki just a few weeks before this course here with my technical partner. However, I'm wondering whether I should be installing a separate instance on a different domain just so I can play around with it, if that's what we're planning to do in this course. I'm not sure whether I can just work with the one I already have at, since it is live and there's a community building around it already.

I actually have a question: when we installed our MediaWiki at we missed the important suggestion about having a nice short URL. Is there a way to reverse this after the wiki has already been installed and running for some months? Perhaps a rewrite rule in the .htaccess file?

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Thu, 2011-02-17 00:37

Wow Toni,

Since your wiki dates from May 2010, has more than 500 pages, 120 users, uploaded stuff etc I obviously reccomend you to find a good moment and make sure you can revert things quickly if something goes wrong...

Have you tried anything from here?

Toni (the other Toni I mean :) may help here...

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Mon, 2011-02-21 04:03

A little behind, but no excuses.

As I mentioned at the outset, I'm looking at using mediaWiki as a repository for personal information, a huge personal information management tool. I also opted to trial this on Amazon Web Services, so that I could utilize the benefits of cloud computing.

Well, this has been a *real* learning experience, installing, configuring and running open source software on remote computers. Many of you have experienced this, I'm sure, but in this case I was kinda 'flying blind' - not knowing where the program installed, the directories, etc., and how to manipulate those server based files.

Here is my installation, as it stands now. I think I accomplished most of what was asked of us, but there is *plenty* yet to do. In particular, I want to spend more time on the customization aspects, working with the CSS and 'localSettings.php' file.

It's crude now, but that leaves lots of room for improvement :)


Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-22 00:27

Hi Jeff, good work :) Rare URL, but since is for your personal purposes that may not mind. However consider in your case (although I invite the rest to do it also) if you want contributors to freely make changes or just registered users.

This issue I mentioned it in week #4 is quite important and determines participation (also prevents vandalism and spam if your wiki gets attraction). So I gonna mention it with more details there...

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Tue, 2011-02-22 20:37

Hi Enric-
Yes the URL is odd, as it's simply the IP address of a generic box I'm using at Amazon Web Services. AWS has the capacity to add custom domains to these IPs, but that's an added cost, and not sure i'm ready for that. I guess similar thoughts on the single letter 'w' in the urls, which is probably more relevant for a wiki with broad public-facing exposure.

The AWS installation runs on ubuntu, and includes MySQL obviously. I've created two accounts, an Admin and a regular user, which I alternate back and forth to view the wiki after I make alterations. At this time, I really don't envision input from outside users. On the other hand, I may from time-to-time direct others to the wiki to read certain sections.

This may be more appropriately discussed under week#4, but I'll mention briefly - one immediate use of this wiki is to serve as a repository of PHP programming resources discussed in another P2PU course in which I'm currently enrolled. Others in that class have expressed an interest in viewing that info as its gathered.

Jason Nyquist's picture
Jason Nyquist
Mon, 2011-02-21 10:19

Even further behind:

  • Spinning logo ;)
  • Custom sidebar
  • Enabled upload & other LocalSettings.php tweaks
  • CSS: position:fixed sidebars - not pretty. I'd like to have each member slide in/out - maybe an extension?
  • URLs - can't seem to figure this one out.
Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-22 00:31

Hi Jason,

I see you worked a lot there, specially in the sidebars aspect can you specify a little bit more about what do you mean by each member slide in/out? The sorter URLs question I try to help in the other thread...

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Mon, 2011-02-21 22:39

In referencing mediaWiki skins, I'm finding mention of a skin 'Vector', which apparently is the new default. I can't find it as a choice under 'My Preferences'. Can anyone guide me to this?

I found another skin on this page,, under the Monobook heading, the second one from left with description starting as 'Rounds some corners; ...'. How would I go about implementing this skin?

In my newbie research, I'm finding that two files need be uploaded for each new skin, a CSS and a JS, and that these can be uploaded via the wiki itself instead of needing backend, server directory access. Is this correct? Also finding that skin defaults must be altered in the 'LocalSettings.php' file.

Many thanks for everyone's help.

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-22 00:48

I just found for example this very nice and cool skin, which you can use as a test for knowing the process (or even choosing it/adapting it). I really like it and the instructions are very clear:

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-22 00:45

Hi Jeff,

In relation to new skins, if not the ones already commented in your LocalSettings.php, the process usually implies rather than touching the css pages of the wiki (useful for specific details of the current skin) to download a folder to put in /skins, a .php file to call it and finally to specify the new route in LocalSettings.php

Ona Sumner's picture
Ona Sumner
Tue, 2011-02-22 19:24

Hi all,

Apologies, hopelesslly behind due to some work issues, but I'm getting there with a wiki:


Like Jeff, I'm planning on using my Wiki as a personal tool, so I'm not particularly bothored about the short vs. long URL issue.

I did create myself a logo, but had subsequent issues with skins... I tried downloading a couple of custom skins, adding the folder and php file to the skins directory and changing this $wgDefaultSkin in localsettings.php, but seemed to come up against a brick wall until I tried Cavenish, which doesn't use the logo. I'm not quite sure what I was doing wrong and why I struggled so much with the custom skins - Enric, I'll have a look at the SnaggleTooth link and instructions tomorrow, perhaps I'm just missing something.

I managed to get my menu/navigation looking ok, and have had a poke around localsettings.php without changing too much so far.


Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Wed, 2011-02-23 17:10

Hi Ona!

The wiki looks, well, like the Mozilla wiki! :) In fact there's that logo at the top also which I find confusing, since it points to

If you're going to use it for personal documentation purposes, now that you have more practice let me insist you consider this other skin I told you about in my last message: I think is very nice, at least not confusing as the one you're using now :)

Jared Brandt's picture
Jared Brandt
Tue, 2011-02-22 22:13

Finally done!

I have installed MediaWiki, modified LocalSettings.php, given myself a logo, and worked out *some* of the Pretty URL issues. Some pages have it, but some don't. If you check out my Main Page you will see what I mean.

It will primarily be a personal tool, although I will be asking some of my colleagues to help out if they are interested. It can be found here:

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Wed, 2011-02-23 17:12

Very nice and clean Jared, I also see you managed to shortened the URLS also.

Can you please describe which method you used for that? Jason and maybe someone else is having problems with it, maybe they can get ideas from the ones of you who have succeed :)

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Thu, 2011-02-24 17:13

I was really struggling with how to make layout (and skin) changes. I found a few links which helped me 'nail it down', and tripped across a useful hint (isn't it all 'trial-and-error' in the end anyway?).

The links, in no particular order, and gleaned little bits from each:,!5396832/customize-mediawiki-into-your-ultimate-collaborative-web-site,

It has been so long since i worked with Unix/Linux boxes that I had forgotten how sensitive they are to the character case of files' and directories' names. When I thought I had everything configured correctly, I still couldn't make skin changes. Then I tried making every file and directory name lower case, everywhere, and bingo - it worked. Check all your file names in the PHP coding also; no camel-case either.

Hope this helps,

1 person liked this