Installing and Configuring a Wiki






Installing and Configuring a Wiki

A Wiki is a series of web pages that can be easily edited using only a web browsera simple and convenient way of producing a collaborative web site. Perhaps the most impressive examples of Wikis are those operated by the Wikimedia Foundation (http://wikimedia.org), including Wikipedia, the Wiktionary, and WikiBooks.

Fedora Extras includes the Wiki software used by the Wikimedia Foundation, named MediaWiki. Once installed, it can be configured and ready for use in a few minutes.

How Do I Do That?

MediaWiki requires a MySQL server. yum won't automatically install a MySQL server when you install MediaWiki because MySQL isn't truly a dependency: the database server doesn't have to be on the same computerbut for a small installation, that makes the most sense.

To configure MediaWiki, start your web server (if it's not already running) and then, using a browser on the same computer as the MediaWiki software, go to http://localhost/mediawiki/. You will see an introduction page like that in Figure, informing you that the software must be configured before use.

MediaWiki before initial configuration


To configure the software, click on the link provided. The page shown in Figure will appear.

MediaWiki configuration page


This page presents the results of some initial configuration tests, followed by a form that you must fill in with configuration information. The fields on this form are:


Site name

Input an opaque string (no spaces and no punctuation marks) of letters and numbers for the name of your Wiki.


Contact email

Enter an email address that can be used to contact the Wiki administrator. It is probably best to use an email alias here.


Language

The language for the Wiki prompts and messages (the content can be in any language, regardless of the value you choose here).


Copyright/license metadata

The license that will be used to tag the Wiki contents. You can choose not to tag your pages with license information, or you can use one of two types of open content licenses: GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL) or a Creative Commons license. If you are not sure what to use, select "no license metadata."


Sysop account name and password

Enter the username of the system operator (sysop) or Wiki administrator. This user does not have to have a Fedora login account. The password must be entered twice to verify that it is typed correctly.


Shared memory

Use a memory cache system for performance acceleration. This is not necessary for small installations.


E-mail (general)

Enable all email operations. In almost all cases, this should be left on.


User-to-user e-mail

Enable users to send mail to each other; whether this makes sense depends on the intended use of your Wiki.


E-mail notification

Select the events that trigger an automatic notification email. Use the middle setting for most small-to-medium Wikis.


E-mail address authentication

If enabled, this feature sends a token to the email address of newly registered users to verify that the email address is valid. This presents a minor inconvenience to your users, but prevents email from being sent to invalid addresses and, more importantly, prevents a user from entering someone else's email address.


MySQL server

Leave this set to localhost if the MySQL server is on the same computer as the MediaWiki software.


Database name, DB username, and DB password

The name of the MySQL database, and the username and password for the MySQL access account, respectively. Leave the default values for the Database name and the DB username, and make up a new password (twice) for the DB password.


Database table prefix

If you are running more than one instance of MediaWiki, set this to a unique value for each instance. Otherwise, leave this field blank.


Database charset

Leave this value set to "Backwards-compatible UTF-8."


Super user and Password

The MySQL database and access account for the Wiki can be created by hand, or you can enter the user ID and MySQL password for the database administrator here, and MediaWiki will create the database and access account automatically.

This is the MySQL administrator account (root) and the MySQL password for that account; do not enter the Fedora root password!


Once you have entered this information, click the Install button at the bottom of the page. You will see a confirmation page.

At this point, copy the configuration file from the config directory to the main mediawiki directory:

# cp -v /var/www/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /var/www/mediawiki
\Q/var/www/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php' ->    \Q/var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php'

You can now click the link at the bottom of the confirmation page or go to http://<hostname>/mediawiki/ to view the front page of the Wiki.

The only other customization that is necessary is to install a new logo image. The image should be 155 pixels wide and 135 pixels tall and in .gif, .png, or .jpg format. Edit /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and find the line that reads:

$wgLogo              = "$wgStylePath/common/images/wiki.png";

Change the path on the righthand side of the equal sign to the path of your image location, relative to the Apache Document Root. For example, if your image is in /var/www/mediawiki/images/draft-cover.png, edit this line to read:

$wgLogo              = "/mediawiki/images/draft-cover.png";

You can then edit the front page of your Wiki by clicking on the "edit" link at the top of the page; changes are made using the same Wikitext format used on Wikipedia. Figure shows a fully configured MediaWiki installation.

Configured MediaWiki front page


How Does It Work?

MediaWiki is written as a collection of PHP scripts, with some Perl scripts for maintenance functions. The Fedora Extras MediaWiki package installs these files in /var/www/mediawiki, which is within the default Apache Document Root. The file /etc/httpd/conf.d/mediawiki.conf limits access to the mediawiki subdirectories, ensuring that only a browser on the same machine as the server can access the configuration page and making several other directories inaccessible through the Web.

All of the Wiki content is stored in the MySQL database for fast, index-based access. Users indicate how they want text to appear by using Wikitext markings; most of these are converted to HTML when the page is displayed, but some (such as --~~~, which is converted to the user's name) are translated when the page is saved.

What About...

...changing the appearance of the Wiki?

You can alter the appearance of the Wiki by editing the value of $wgDefaultSkin in /var/www/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php. This variable must be set to the name of one of the skin files in /var/www/mediawiki/skins/; for example, to use the simple skin, place this line in the LocalSettings.php file:

$wgDefaultSkin="simple";

Additional skins are available from the Wikimedia "Gallery of user styles" (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gallery_of_user_styles).

...using a logo that isn't rectangular?

Use a graphics tool such as the GIMP to create an image with transparency, so that the page background shows through the portions of the 155x135 logo rectangle that are not occupied by your logo image. For example, if you had an oval image, the space between the outer edge of the logo and the edge of the logo rectangle would be transparent. Save your image in PNG format.

...moving or deleting a page, or protecting a page against edits?

All of these operations can be performed by the sysop user. Go to the main page of the Wiki and log in using the sysop username and password created during the initial configuration of the Wiki, and you will see additional tabs on the top of each page for protecting, deleting, and moving.

Where Can I Learn More?



 Python   SQL   Java   php   Perl 
 game development   web development   internet   *nix   graphics   hardware 
 telecommunications   C++ 
 Flash   Active Directory   Windows