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This week (#4): e x t e n s i o n s

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Hi there course survivors :)
For academic purposes, some years ago I managed to install and customize one of my firsts MediaWiki installations, which I still use it as a personal wlog (wiki+blog), ToDo list manager and writing tool. You can find it here: And here the way I did it (skin but also extensions used):
So the critical question now that you're starting to customize yours is: how do I what this wiki to work and look like? There's a world full of possibilities starting from here:
Do you need some restricted pages? Only for registered users, or only for admins? Do you want bread crumbs to facilitate navigation? You feel it would work better with another WYSIWYG editor? Do you like maps and want to geolocate pages in a kind of map functional index? A tag cloud for categories? Just take some time to think about your project needs and preferences, and let's discuss it here if you need advice but this software really is like plasticine! :D
Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Tue, 2011-02-22 00:56


Although there are many extensions for that, preventing access or editing form non registered users is such an issue in MediaWiki (wich by default is radically open), and there are more easy things instead of using the methods here:

Consider first what's the combination you need: only registered users can edit or even view, or only admins maybe, or everyone can view all pages but registered users are the only that can edit. Registration open of by approval?

All these options determine your wiki openness but sometimes safety away from unwanted participants: So localsettinging is a must for that again :)

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Thu, 2011-02-24 17:48

This week, Enric has asked us to think about the objectives for our wikis. With the proper goals identified, we can start to build the proper tool.

I started with a goal of building a unified resource of personal information - a large personal information manager (PIM). Then I read Enric's post on wlog,, and found he has sought to accomplish similar objectives. Many of the extensions mentioned in his wlog have started to enable his wiki as him PIM.

This article was also thought provoking,, if not a little dated.

In a later post, I'll start to link what extensions and structure match my objectives. Suffice it to say here, my approach is one of using a model for the wiki building. The model follows the typical steps of INPUT --> PROCESS --> OUTPUT organization (interestingly, Enric has already identified a lot of appropriate extensions).

I mentioned that I've considered a lot of software tools, web apps, etc., but have yet to find one which addresses all needs. At the risk of boring all to death, i'll repeat the list of programs which only came 'part-way': Gqueues; google notebook; Xmarks;; QuickNote; Evernote; OneNote; Scribd; Diigo; OmniOutliner; Nag; Google Docs. Interestingly, Diigo seems to be coming the closest, and they are on the 'move'.


Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sat, 2011-02-26 09:30

Hi all, we're nearly there!

Many of you have already installed your MediaWikis, and customized them a little bit. Before we move to the semantic stuff we should take also this step about extensions (in fact Semantic MediaWiki is an extension, a big one).

My proposal is that, instead of discussing here which ones as I proposed, I pass you a brief lists of some of the most interesting extensions for me.

You should at least install one (upload it to /extensions directory + paste a line into LocalSettings.php + test, nothing else usually) and write back here about it: success, testers needed, problems, other findings, etc.

Then we move to the Semantic issue with some more background with extension, ok?

:: 4 useful/cool extensions (Enric's list :)

- This great one let's you easily embed maps, videos, Twitter, Flickr, Google stuff... It's the mother of all widgets!

- Wikis are not very easy to navigate sometimes, with this extensions there you have path for going backwards to the wikipages you have been visiting.

- Adds a Chat tab to every wiki Article that switches to an embedded chatroom with the same name as the article title.

- This one let's you create a graphical timeline where each milestone is a link to a wikipage.

- Or any other extension you find sexy here:

Jason Nyquist's picture
Jason Nyquist
Sat, 2011-02-26 17:29

Just switched skins to Vector with the UsabilityInitiative extension. Looks and works great!

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sun, 2011-02-27 19:12

Hi Jason,

The mobile sidebar works fine and is a good solution for your wiki, since you have so many pages. I see you're dealing with the shortening URL issue, now with // there. Say something of you need more help.

Janusz Gesicki's picture
Janusz Gesicki
Sun, 2011-02-27 13:07

Hi there!
i've managed to install mediawikiwidgets extension and used some of the widgets on Main_Page. Had some problems with embedding YouTube on my wiki, but used DailyMotion instead:-)
check it out:

1 person liked this
Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sun, 2011-02-27 19:14

Good video Janusz :) Weird though that the extension don't works with YouTube. About the maps, there's another one now that I see it that also lets you mark which points on the map you want to display, entering text there and even linking to other pages in the wiki...

Jim Roma's picture
Jim Roma
Wed, 2011-03-02 17:40

I've added an extension that gives me a rich text editor and have changed the wiki so only a logged in user can edit a page.

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sat, 2011-03-05 04:45

Hi Jim,

I see them and think work pretty well now. When limiting access as you have done, if you still want some people to participate apart from you is good to have a little note in the homepage saying they can edit when logged, best if linking there in your case to


Jim Roma's picture
Jim Roma
Wed, 2011-03-02 20:06

I'm trying to setup the Wigit extension but am getting the following error:

Warning: Smarty error: unable to read resource: "wiki:Daily Motion" in /homepages/25/d119572725/htdocs/w/extensions/Widgets/smarty/Smarty.class.php on line 1095
Any Idea?


Jim Roma's picture
Jim Roma
Wed, 2011-03-02 20:29

Scratch the last post, I got this to work using the EmbedVideo extension.


Jared Brandt's picture
Jared Brandt
Thu, 2011-03-03 03:27

Hello all!

This week I experimented with a couple extensions that I thought could benefit my wiki: BreadCrumbs and EmbedPDF.

I got both to work finally, but BreadCrumbs was giving me some grief! When I followed the directions everything came out just fine.

On my main page you will see the bread crumbs along the top just fine. Clicking on links will add to the list, so you can now always remember how you got where you end up.

Also, since my province produces their curriculum documents in PDF format online, I decided that I could use EmbedPDF to place the documents right on the page! Clicking on the link at the bottom of the main page called "Grade 9 Mathematics Curriculum" will take you to a page where you can see EmbedPDF in action.

I do have one problem with this, which is that I can no longer scroll the page using the scroll button on my mouse. This is more likely a problem with the way Firefox embeds PDFs in a page, so I cannot fault the extension for this. However, this little annoyance is probably going to be enough for me to go back and disable that extension.

Other than that, I'm really getting some good ideas for content and structure for the wiki! So more of that soon!

Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sat, 2011-03-05 04:51

Hi Jared,

As you can see the breadcrumb extension is very useful for navigating a wiki, I really recommend it to many people. In relation to the PDF one, another problem is that it requires an Adobe plugin to be installed. If you still think about an extension that allows to generate text in other printable formats take a look at

It's a quite advanced and more complex extension to install, but man it does incredible things as you can see here:

Jeff Weber's picture
Jeff Weber
Fri, 2011-03-04 03:48

OK, I'm sufficiently impressed with Mediawiki's capabilities :)

After tinkering with some extensions, I've installed three. First is a Google Gadget called clouds, and can be seen at The second, also a widget from Google Gadgets is Public Domain Search, seen here Both of these were straight from an example page.

The one i'm most impressed with is an RSS feed of the communications in this course, and can be seen here If all continues to work well, this posting should appear on that mediawiki page.

Playing with the different extensions, capabilities, etc of mediawiki is the only way to learn it. I've had clients in the past ask for books on learning software, like word processing, and I tell them you can only learn by jumping into it. This package is no different.

1 person liked this
Enric Senabre Hidalgo's picture
Enric Senabre Hid...
Sat, 2011-03-05 04:54

Hi Jeff, as you say you have to experience it yourself, after installing something and move back and forwards about it you make the process yours and really start to have control.

Cool the RSS extension, this can work really well on the homepage too, where all the pieces you can show from other pages should appear somehow. Or at least the ones you consider important for an overview of the activity there (even for yourself in this case :)