Bang my head against the MediaWiki wall

May 28, 2010 by Tony Chung in Productivity

One of my really cool projects is to harness the collaborative CMS features of MediaWiki as a means to store comments within an HTML-based help system. I thought I’d start by implementing a forms-based entry that created wiki pages when first loaded, but after getting so far I’ve been banging my head against the wall.

Let me explain what I’ve done so far, with the hope that someone out there on teh Interweb would be able to help me out. I’ll post an update when I get it sorted out. (Sorry, I’m not posting screen shots to save time.)

One wiki, one plugin, and minimal code

So far I’ve been able to get away with minimal code. I installed MediaWiki Version 1.15.2, one plugin, and added a couple of variables to the LocalSettings.php to configure and register it within my wiki.

To add article comments, I found the extension: Article Comments by Jim R. Wilson. With little effort, I can embed a comment form in any MediaWiki page.

To embed the comment form on every new page, I added the extension’s markup to the special pages Newarticletext and Noarticletext. To figure out which pages to edit, I found all the default system messages listed on the page http://{mediawiki_server}/index.php/Special:AllMessages, where {mediawiki_server} is replaced by the location of your server.

This extension only adds comments to the Talk page of an existing article. While I can set the form to display on blank pages, I encounter errors when submitting the form because the article doesn’t yet exist, so the talk page can’t be created.

The $1,000,000 question

How do I convince MediaWiki to create a new page as soon as it’s requested? Can anyone point me in the right direction of recent resources?