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Blog of MediaWiki and the virtualMV wiki

Getting started (stuff from MediaWiki)



Wiki transferred to 2015 version


  • 2013-02-27 Twitter Tag not showing all tweets for class

Tried changing some of the code in

  • Didn't seem to make any difference


  • 2012-6-22 On the widget roll. Created a widget to embed slidecasts. As per the others, its all based on a flash wrapper.
  • 2012-6-20 Adapted Widget:Google Video to accept video stored in google drive repository. Widget:Google Drive Video Accepted file formats: AVI, MOV, MP4, M4V, WMV.
  • 2012-6-19 Added Widget:Google Video
  • 2012-05-13: Added Widget:Google Calendar, may be of some use now that the wiki has its own google account. Calendars need to be public, can add unlimited calendar accounts. Using the default google calendar requires email address in the widget, best add a new calendar and use the unique calendar id generated. See widget page for details.
  • 2012-03-07: Need to find a regular expression for the white-list page ( MediaWiki:Spam-whitelist ) see
  • 2012-01-22: could try
  • 2012-01-15: Spam unmanageable +100 account creations and equiv. spam pages being added daily. (Deleted +150 new spam pages on 16th) Lifted IP addresses of 60 known spam servers from Wikieducator and blocked at that level. Lifted abused open proxy IPs from Wikipedia and blocked at that level. No noticeable improvement as since discovered need to enable Range blocks "$wgSysopRangeBans = true;" in LocalSettings.php. The CheckUser extension to identify and target the range of IPs being used here would be helpful also.


  • 2011-09-03: Added import from WikiCommons ($wgForeignFileRepos ) To embed an image simply use [[image:name_of_commons_picture.jpg]]
  • 2011-08-14: Added google adsense extension ( restricted to anon users only.
    • Also created new user vmvpresent and attached mobile css. This removes left hand bar for overhead projection. May have to play around with the css to remove some of the extra stuff at the top of the screen. Added a home button in the header template as the link home is way at the bottom of the page.
    • Looks like you can create a user page to edit css e.g. MediaWiki:Common.css will be applied to all pages, MediaWiki:Vector.css will only apply to Vector.
  • 2011-08-13: Initiating Google Adsense, to explore the use of eCommerce. Much better login process than whe I looked at it 6 months ago. Will look at as uses the left hand toolbar.
  • 2011-07: Spam on Backup wiki givin Stef extra work. Have blocked all editing on the Backup wiki except for Admins. Intend to explore other login options (like Captcha)
  • 2011-07: Backup wiki error caused by order of extensions (worked fine in Windows server (Brinkster) not on Apache(hostable))
  • 2011-04-29: Apparently the Syntax Highlighter now uses <syntaxhighlight lang="php"> rather than <source>
  • 2011-04-22: Disabled discussion extension to see if causes site crash errors
  • 2011-04-08: Major Web Services failure around 10am (Friday). System would go down after a 5 min uptime. Tech support told me to raise a Token. Communication 12 hours later, indicated token had a 48hr service time. Worked on Wiki for 1.5 hrs on Saturday (so far so good )
  • 2011-03/04: Wiki has been experiencing regular Cache file crashes since upgrade. Needs phpMyAdmin table repair to fix. Also some pages getting a Site/Single php page error message (actually has a page full before the page is shown) a refresh of the page often fixes it or an edit.
  • 2011-03-23: Using Quiz_Multiple_Choice template in WikiEducator. Allows true/false with immediate answers. Will try to add to own wiki
  • 2011-03-21: Found way to add wiki commons images - will look to implementing in the near future
  • 2011-03-07: Added Extension AntiBot ( )
  • 2011-03-06: Added Extension SpamBlacklist ( )
  • 2011-03-06: Upgrade extension Google Analytics to Ver 2.0.2
  • 2011-03-01: System showing a variety of errors. cache file corruption. Will need to look first to upgrading the extensions.


  • 2010-12-23: Upgraded to 1.16.0. Lots of problems. Created alternative directory on Brinkster. Copied over extensions- not all files wanted to be copied! Run update from this folder and updated successfully (phew). Would not rename to replace wiki folder so ended up doing a crash and burn upgrade by copying all 1.16 files into the wiki folder. Lots of files would not copy (e.g. ..\includes and \languages\messages ) ended up having to do a file rename on Brinkster, then using the Brinkster FileManager uploading in sections. Grrrrrr. (Wish list for MediaWiki to upgrade like WordPress!). So far upgrade seems to have taken.. but.. we'll wait and see.
  • 2010-12-12: Blog: copied to index.html modified on front page. RSS feed connection to vmvBlog added to front page of wiki ( )
  • 2010-12-04: Wordpress reinstalled. Similar setup now to wiki (using vmvadmin). Email plug-in installed and working. Tried to set up mail post to WP but settings nnot working - no info on Dr. Google that helps :(
  • 2010-12-03: Forgot password to blog. Tried to do email recovery but brinkster requires mail pluging to be installed. will have to re-install wordpress!!
  • 2010-10-31: Experimented with Google Picasa web album to replace the Flikcr one with the fat play button. Found a blog that gave some extra parameters ( and added the interval tag to the Widget:Picasa. Wanted to show images in reverse date order. Finally worked out that to show images in a specific order go to the Web album in Picasa in MyPhotos >choose the album, Under edit choose Organise & ReOrder. You can either choose the date or Filename or just drag the photos into the order you want (which I had to do as there was no reverse date order). A real worry spent ages trying to find out how to get the caption showing when I realised I hadn't added one to the images on Picasa online.
  • 2010-10-16: All course content pages categorised. Added Browse Categories to sidebar.--User:Hesperides
  • 2010-10-15: URLs' on first page returned "pretty" URLs (without ?title= attribute). Spent an hour restarting local PC (no effect) tested on another PC( no effect). Got Brinkster to restart my server (initially no effect). Corrected itself after about 20 mins (whew). However reading help stuff it appears media wiki is now installing into a w (rather than wiki folder on the server) and you can put some settings into the ini file to create a "pretty" url. Looks like my upgrade to the next versio of Media wiki will have to wait until the Christmas break as it'll probably be quite involved.
  • 2010-09-24: Looked at "secret" pages. This is not something that should be implemented in a wiki. Could use Wordpress and password a page.
  • 2010-09-02: Replaced older style header and footer templates in Internet and Web and Multimedia pages with their current incarnation with link backs to all applicable entry points. - User:Hesperides
  • 2010-08-22: added clustr maps to wiki (in connected media page). Have to research an image linking to external page to enable zoom. Had to allow external image from clustrmap site in LocalSettings.php
  • 2010-08-08: Added an RSS Widget to connect wiki to blog ( - Widget:Feed) (RSS icon from )
  • 2010-07-31: Added new template Vmv:ProjectNav, needs class navigation added. Will need some research
  • 2010-07-20: Added reply template (borrowed from wikiEducator Template:Reply ) to allow for inline comments
  • 2010-06-17:Tried adding in an iFrame containing some interactive JavaScript. IE produced a security warning regarding the possibility of cross-site scripting. Must investigate this further in the future.
  • 2010-06-16: Adding Google picasa (same as Flickr) trying to get rid of fat arrow in middle of photo.
  • 2010-06-05: After suggestion from student tried to replicate interactive web page display (tryIt) from W3C. Built a Javascript page that I can load to vmvwiki into an IFrame
  • 2010-05-31: Installed Discussion threading - version 1.03 ( and ) seems to handle all the annotating stuff I needed for my virtualMe framework.
    • ran phpMySQL Admin to create new tables mw_discussion & mw_discussion_comments plus indexes mw_IDX_..
  • 2010-05-30: Weird result in activity box - eventually tracked it back to an equals sign. The wiki Compiler seems to see an = sign and the parser breaks the current block. To get around this substitute &#61;
  • 2010-05-17: Tried creating Widget:GiveawayOfDay however, I think I need to understand the smarties language before I can get the wiki to include an image link.
  • 2010-05-13:Video settings for small file size
    • Windows Movie Maker: (Don't forget to increase the volume in the audio track (show timeline {+} on video), Other settings High Quality Video (large) = 640x480
    • Adobe Media Encoder: Format [Windows media] Preset [PAL to High Quality Download (720x576], Frame Rate = 5 fps - Not right yet....
  • 2010-05-12: Possible Flash extension:, looking at ogg (ogv files) - playing in wikipedia so will need to look up which extension they use.
  • 2010-05-10:Twitter #tag issues. 1. # tags only active for about a week then deleted (but available from what the #tag. 2. RTs don't show up in extension.
  • 2010-04-24: Check Chrome text only increase - removed in version 2.0 and on the wont fix list (
  • 2010-04-20: Added Google Presentation widget (Widget:Google Presentation) e.g. DEANZ_2010
  • 2010-03-20: TwitterTag: Exploring twitter code again. (continuing from 2010-03-08) The escape modifier changes < > etc to asc values to prevent code injection (
  • 2010-03-15: Brainwave if I tie up the hide vertical nav bar with increase the text size that would be great for presenting on overhead. (simple code at - theres lots of examples with tricky code where each tag is restyled)
  • 2010-03-11: Trying to hide left vertical navigation bar. Media wiki documentation to make changes to the common.js page do not appear to work !! Tried using F10 as F11 reserved for full screen on browser. Check as appears may be IE specific. See MediaWiki:Common.js and MediaWiki:Sidebar

Darn: Stopped working!! (suspect the laptop keyboard). Yippee wiki page history to rescue. Just retrieved an earlier (working) page version

/** Tried 
     Pause/break (19) - current one
     F9 (120) - 
     F10 (121) - in IE hides but no resize/ nothing happens in Chrome.
     F2 (113) - doesn't want to register
     Browser keys: F1(Help)F5(Refresh),F7(Caret),F10(like Alt),F11(Full screen),F12(Developer) 
     F11 (122) suggested one, problems as browser keeps wanting to go into full screen
     Home (36) problems when in edit mode
     Would like F5 as same as PowerPoint & could use remote.
   Instructions on MediaWiki:Sidebar       




2010 - December (1.16.0 )

  1. 2010-12-12
    1. Copied mediawiki-1.16.0.tar.gz from to c::\Downloads
    2. Unzipped using 7Zip to mediawiki-1.16.0.tar (47MB)
    3. Unzipped using 7zip to mediawiki-1.16.0 folder

Backup MySQL Files

Don't forget to update plugins

Download Brinkster PHPMail modification

2009 - July (1.15.0)

  1. Copied over new php files (1.15.0) to local computer (unzipped using 7zip)
  2. Deleted folder/files in Brinkster/WikiNew
  3. FTP'd all 1.15.0 files into Brinkster/WikiNew?? (about 1400 files @ 35MB)
  4. Followed Brinkster installation instructions for wikinew (
    1. Copy "WikiNew/" into the "/webroot/WikiNew/config" folder
    2. Set config file permissions using Binkster file tool
    3. Run from Browser
    4. Reset config file permissions using Binkster file tool


  1. reset permissions on config folder using Brinksters file manager
  2. Ran update

UserMailer.php: Comment out 109 -230 static function send (the original PEAR based mailer) insert new code (below) at about lines 230 - 321.

2009 - January (1.13.3)

Originally installed MediaWiki 1.12.0 (as per instructions on Brinkster home page) - This instructions are good :) So (as you do) I thought I should try to keep up to date with the current version (2/1/09 = 1.13.3). So downloaded 1.13.3 and attempted to follow the instructions. Copied all the files into my Brinkster folder

As I don't have command line access I followed the instructions on "Alternative 2: Re-run the installer" ( ). And by magic it said my MediaWiki was upgraded..

However testing it revealed that the edit capability no longer worked (it is looking for a new MySQL table), leading me to assume that although the updater ran the MySQL database was not updated.

After a lot of mucking around I used the following procedure to update the database then the software

1. Created a new folder WikiNew and installed as for a new installation using the settings for the original. .. this updated the database (which was the problem) 2. Copied the new version into the original wiki folder 3. All is running now!! This technique means that the wiki continues to run for users while you are updating.

Notes: If you cant remember your original settings look at LocalSettings.php

Setting up mail

Media wiki has been set up to use PEAR to provide the necessary links into the SMTP mailer. PEAR is installed with PHP rather than media wiki. However according to the forums, Brinkster can be hooked in using phpMailer. The following code was developed for MediaWiki 1.13.3 and was based on comments in

1. Change the following in includes/UserMailer.php

comment out the existing send function

static function send( $to, $from, $subject, $body, $replyto=null ){

and change to (Its really just the bit before the else statement)

  static function send( $to, $from, $subject, $body, $replyto=null ) {
		global $wgSMTP, $wgOutputEncoding, $wgErrorString, $wgEnotifImpersonal;
		global $wgEnotifMaxRecips;
		if ( is_array( $to ) ) {
			wfDebug( __METHOD__.': sending mail to ' . implode( ',', $to ) . "\n" );
		} else {
			wfDebug( __METHOD__.': sending mail to ' . implode( ',', array( $to->toString() ) ) . "\n" );
		if (is_array( $wgSMTP )) {
      $mail = new PHPMailer(); 
      $mail->Host = ""; # Check your settings for your Brinkster server 
      $mail->SMTPAuth = true; 
      $mail->Username = ""; #your brinkster email 
      $mail->Password = "EmailPassword"; #brinkster email password to auth 
      $mail->From = ""; 
      $mail->FromName = "Wiki Admin"; 
      $mail->AddAddress($to->toString(), "Their Name"); 
      $mail->Subject = "Wiki mail"; 
      $mail->Body = $body; 
		} else	{
			# In the following $headers = expression we removed "Reply-To: {$from}\r\n" , because it is treated differently
			# (fifth parameter of the PHP mail function, see some lines below)
			# Line endings need to be different on Unix and Windows due to
			# the bug described at
			if ( wfIsWindows() ) {
				$body = str_replace( "\n", "\r\n", $body );
				$endl = "\r\n";
			} else {
				$endl = "\n";
			$headers =
				"MIME-Version: 1.0$endl" .
				"Content-type: text/plain; charset={$wgOutputEncoding}$endl" .
				"Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit$endl" .
				"X-Mailer: MediaWiki mailer$endl".
				'From: ' . $from->toString();
			if ($replyto) {
				$headers .= "{$endl}Reply-To: " . $replyto->toString();
			$wgErrorString = '';
			$html_errors = ini_get( 'html_errors' );
			ini_set( 'html_errors', '0' );
			set_error_handler( array( 'UserMailer', 'errorHandler' ) );
			wfDebug( "Sending mail via internal mail() function\n" );
			if (function_exists('mail')) {
				if (is_array($to)) {
					foreach ($to as $recip) {
						$sent = mail( $recip->toString(), wfQuotedPrintable( $subject ), $body, $headers );
				} else {
					$sent = mail( $to->toString(), wfQuotedPrintable( $subject ), $body, $headers );
			} else {
				$wgErrorString = 'PHP is not configured to send mail';
			ini_set( 'html_errors', $html_errors );
			if ( $wgErrorString ) {
				wfDebug( "Error sending mail: $wgErrorString\n" );
				return new WikiError( $wgErrorString );
			} elseif (! $sent) {
				//mail function only tells if there's an error
				wfDebug( "Error sending mail\n" );
				return new WikiError( 'mailer error' );
			} else {
				return true;

b. In LocalSettings.php add the following:

$wgSMTP = array( 
'host' => "", 
'IDHost' => "", 
'port' => 25, 
'auth' => true, 
'username' => "BrinksterUsername", 
'password' => "BrinksterPassword" 


Restrict anonymous editing

Once you have email working, in localsettings.php add

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;


This is a log of creating a local copy in virtualBox

  • 2009-04-03 : VirtualBox: WinXP + Service Pack 3 created,
    • WINAMP 2.0h installed. Running phpMyAdmin gives warning (-- need to check with John What to do?)
      • Your configuration file contains settings (root with no password) that correspond to the default MySQL privileged account. Your MySQL server is running with this default, is open to intrusion, and you really should fix this security hole by setting a password for user '.root'.
      • (Had a go at doing this but got locked out of phpMyAdmin :( - trying to uninstall phpMyAdmin and reinstall left the error.. must be a config file somewhere that is not cleaned out during uninstall)
    • Copied mediawiki to c:/wamp/www/wiki
    • Documentation indicates need to change config folder permissions with FileZilla, so installed Filezilla. Not sure what userid/password is for localhost on WAMP (another Q for John)

Installing MediaWiki

Updating MediaWiki for Localhost

Using the shell to re-run the web installer.

  1. Download .gz file, then 7Zip to tar, then 7zip to folder. Copy to wikiNew on web site at same level as wiki folder.
  2. Use browser, url = wikiNew (access localhost for normal wiki and change wiki to wikiNew)
  3. Use settings in LocalSettings.php in wiki folder to update settings (see text file
    1. D:\_mvdata\_Data\Wiki\WikiLocalSettings\LocalSettings\BrinksterUpgrade.txt
    2. ($wgDBserver = "localhost";)
    3. [Install] ...!!
  4. Rename LocalSettings.php in wikiNew to LocalSettings_WikiNew<version>_<date>.php
  5. Copy wikiNew over to wiki folder
  6. .. and thats all.. browse the wiki...

Now you can use MySQLAdmin to restore the database from Brinkster.

Backing up/restoring MediaWiki

In virtualBox: C:\Backups\MediaWiki\MediaWiki^LocalHost.txt