Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
MediaWiki is a Wiki software package licensed under the GNU General Public License. It is a feature-rich wiki implementation, and is used to run Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as many other wikis.
It is written in PHP and uses an underlying MySQL relational database management system. Its logo symbolizes how its markup language uses brackets ("[[","]]") to link articles together, in contrast to CamelCase. MediaWiki is capable of interfacing with other, optional programs to improve performance and capabilities. Support for memcached, the Squid cache system, and TeX math rendering are all available in the current version. An extension system allows users to add their own features and program interfaces.
MediaWiki was originally written for Wikipedia by the German student and Wikipedia developer Magnus Manske. The site previously used UseModWiki (aka "Phase I"), which used Perl, then switched to PHP with a new version ("Phase II") on January 25, 2002. The day is known within the Wikipedia community as Magnus Manske Day.
A further rewritten and improved version of the Phase II software was at one time known as "Phase III". It was renamed MediaWiki in recognition that the software was capable of supporting not only Wikipedia but also other projects, and that a more meaningful system of version numbers was needed. The software was named MediaWiki as a play on Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikipedia parent organization. The name is occasionally criticised for its similarity to "Wikimedia", which leads to confusion among people new to the project.
MediaWiki 1.4 is the current stable version, released on March 20, 2005. Lead developer is now Brion Vibber. For version 1.4 the code has been cleaned up a bit, so that certain tasks are performed in half the time. The interface language can now be chosen by the user, making other language projects more accessible.
There is also an improvement on the amount of hard disk storage used. Since MediaWiki 1.4 gzip is used to store text, which results in compression to about 15% of the original. MediaWiki 1.4 also supports "block-compressed revisions", which combines multiple revisions before compressing. This results in a greater space savings. However, block-compressed revisions are not currently fully compatible with the deletion and undeletion functions, so deletion of articles using such revisions is disabled.
Features under development in the experimental version of MediaWiki include PostgreSQL support and a system to validate articles which are accurate and complete. The experimental MediaWiki 1.5 also includes a redesigned database schema, which will increase the speed of various operations like page moves and generating page history listings.
- MediaWiki on Sourceforge
- MediaWiki users guide and sites using MediaWiki on Wikimedia's meta-wiki site
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