Preface to the 3rd printing of the 2nd edition
In terms of the structuring of this book, though, the biggest change since 2020 is probably the release of the Canasta MediaWiki distribution. Canasta, which came out in April 2022 (though it was already in use on several sites beforehand), is a Docker-based distribution that I and several other people, representing various consulting companies and hosting services, created, in order to serve as a generic tool for easy installation of MediaWiki. It includes 10 skins and nearly 150 extensions, and thus is intended for setting up a truly workable MediaWiki installation, one with the full set of functionality people have come to expect from so-called “Enterprise MediaWiki”. (It should be noted that, though Canasta includes many skins and extensions, none but the Vector skin are actually enabled by default, and it is generally expected that any site will make use of just a subset of them.)
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 mediawiki.org 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 mediawiki.org are the best place to see the full set of information on their usage.