Working with MediaWiki
2nd ed., HTML version

Preface to the 3rd printing of the 2nd edition

What you are reading is the 5th version of this book. Working with MediaWiki was originally published in November 2012. A “2nd printing” of the 1st edition was released in April 2014; it had substantial changes and fixes to the content. The 2nd edition was then released in March 2017. It was even more of an overhaul; most notably, it removed most of the content about Semantic MediaWiki, replacing it with a chapter about Cargo. And the 2nd printing of the 2nd edition was released in June 2020; it updated a significant part of the book, especially the JavaScript-related parts.
And now, two years later, here is the 3rd printing of the 2nd edition. What has changed since the last version? The last two years have seen a great many changes in the real world, of course, but as far as MediaWiki is concerned, changes include a new default look for MediaWiki, still in the process of being rolled out (the Vector 2022 skin); the release of several new extensions and utilities, including Flex Diagrams, Page Exchange and Codex; a new MediaWiki logo; and a general update of MediaWiki's look-and-feel, brought about in part due to increased usage of the OOUI JavaScript library; which necessitated updating most of this book's screenshots.
Creating Canasta involved a lot of discussion about which skins, and especially which extensions, to include, which in turn led to a fair amount of research on which extensions are widely used, which of those are actively maintained, which have duplicate functionality, and so on. In some cases this process made me aware of extensions I had not heard of before, like the WikiForum extension.
This process generated what I would consider the current best attempt at a “best practices” for installing MediaWiki, along with skins and extensions. The resulting list is something that many MediaWiki administrators could benefit from, not just those running Canasta. Thus, it seemed only natural to modify this book to reflect the set of extensions and skins found in Canasta. Several extensions have been removed as a result, such as OAuthAuthentication. (Although they might have been removed anyway, since they were all becoming unmaintained.) But a great many more extensions have been added to the book: nearly 40, reflecting the wide variety of functionality being used within MediaWiki world, and thus within Canasta.
In order to keep the size of this book manageable, the chapters on the Cargo and Page Forms extensions were both reduced. These two chapters formerly consisted of, essentially, the entire documentation on these two extensions, which was extensive, and gets more so all the time. The portions of the book on these two extensions are still rather long, but they no longer include every detail. As with most of the extensions in the book, their documentation pages on are the best place to see the full set of information on their usage.
Yaron Koren
November 2022