DepositaryO Wiki

Manual:Developing extensions

▪ Extensions ▪ Tag Extensions ▪ Parser Function ▪ Hooks ▪ Special Pages ▪ Skins ▪ Magic Words

Each extension consists of three parts:

1. setup,

2. execution, and

3. internationalization.

A minimal extension will consist of three files, one for each part:


Stores the setup instructions.


Stores the execution code for the extension. For complex extensions, requiring multiple PHP files, the implementation code may instead be placed in a subdirectory, MyExtension/includes. For an example, see the Semantic MediaWiki extension.


stores internationalization information for the extension.

Note:''''' Originally, extensions were single files, and you may still find some examples of this deprecated style. When writing an extension, you should replace MyExtension above with the name of your extension. Files should be named in UpperCamelCase', which is the general file naming convention.[1]


1 Setup

1.1 Registering features with MediaWiki

1.2 Making your extension user configurable

1.3 Preparing classes for autoloading

1.4 Deferring setup

1.5 Defining additional hooks

1.6 Adding database tables

1.7 Set up internationalization

2 Execution

3 Internationalization

4 Extension types

5 Support other core versions

6 Publishing

7 See also

8 references


Your goal in writing the setup portion is to consolidate set up so that users installing your extension need do nothing more than include the setup file in their LocalSettings.php file, like this:

require_once( "$IP/extensions/myextension/myextension.php" );

If you want to make your extension user configurable, you need to define and document some configuration parameters and your users setup should look something like this:

require_once( "$IP/extensions/myextension/myextension.php" );

$wgMyExtensionConfigThis = 1;

$wgMyExtensionConfigThat = false;

To reach this simplicity, your setup file will need to accomplish a number of tasks (described in detail in the following sections):

· register any media handler, parser function, special page, custom XML tag, and variable used by your extension.

· define and/or validate any configuration variables you have defined for your extension.

· prepare the classes used by your extension for autoloading

· determine what parts of your setup should be done immediately and what needs to be deferred until the MediaWiki core has been initialized and configured

· define any additional hooks needed by your extension

· create or check any new database tables required by your extension.

· setup internationalization and localization for your extension

Registering features with MediaWiki

MediaWiki lists all the extensions that have been installed on its Special:Version page. For example, you can see all the extensions installed on this wiki at Special:Version. It is good form to make sure that your extension is also listed on this page. To do this, you will need to add an entry to $wgExtensionCredits for each media handler, parser function, special page, custom XML tag, and variable used by your extension. The entry will look something like this:

$wgExtensionCredits['validextensionclass'][] = array(

'path' => __FILE__,

'name' => 'Example',

'author' =>'John Doe',

'url' => '',

'description' '=>' 'This extension is an example and performs no discernible function',

'version' => 1.5,


See Manual:$wgExtensionCredits for full details on what these fields do. Many of the fields are optional, but it's still good practise to fill them out.

In addition to the above registration, you must also "hook" your feature into MediaWiki. The above only sets up the Special:Version page. The way you do this depends on the type of your extension. For details, please see the documentation for each type of extension:


Making your extension user configurable

If you want your user to be able to configure your extension, you'll need to provide one or more configuration variables. It is a good idea to give those variables a unique name. They should also follow MediaWiki naming conventions (e.g. global variables should begin with $wg).

For example, if your extension is named "Very silly extension that does nothing", you might want to name all your configuration variables to begin $wgVsetdn or $wgVSETDN. It doesn't really matter what you choose so long as none of the MediaWiki core begins its variables this way and you have done a reasonable job of checking to see that none of the published extensions begin their variables this way. Users won't take kindly to having to choose between your extension and some other extensions because you chose overlapping variable names.

It is also a good idea to include extensive documentation of any configuration variables in your installation notes.

Warning: To avoid register_globals vulnerabilities, ALWAYS explicitly set all your extension's configuration variables in extension setup file. Constructs like if ( !isset( $wgMyLeetOption ) ) $wgMyLeetOption = somevalue; do not safeguard against register_globals!

Here is a rather complex example from the CategoryTree extension, showing the full range of possibilities here:


* Constants for use with the mode,

* defining what should be shown in the tree


define( 'CT_MODE_CATEGORIES', 0 );

define( 'CT_MODE_PAGES', 10 );

define( 'CT_MODE_ALL', 20 );

define( 'CT_MODE_PARENTS', 100 );


* Options:


* $wgCategoryTreeMaxChildren

* - maximum number of children shown in a tree

* node. Default is 200

* $wgCategoryTreeAllowTag

* - enable <categorytree> tag. Default is true.

* $wgCategoryTreeDynamicTag

* - loads the first level of the tree in a <categorytag>

* dynamically. This way, the cache does not need to be

* disabled. Default is false.

* $wgCategoryTreeDisableCache

* - disabled the parser cache for pages with a

* <categorytree> tag. Default is true.

* $wgCategoryTreeMaxDepth

* - maximum value for depth argument; An array that maps

* mode ; values to the maximum depth acceptable for the

* depth option. Per default, the "categories" mode has a

* max depth of 2, all other modes have a max depth of 1.

* $wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions

* - default options for the <categorytree> tag.

* $wgCategoryTreeCategoryPageOptions

* - options to apply on category pages.

* $wgCategoryTreeSpecialPageOptions

* - options to apply on Special:CategoryTree.


$wgCategoryTreeMaxChildren = 200;

$wgCategoryTreeAllowTag = true;

$wgCategoryTreeDynamicTag = false;

$wgCategoryTreeDisableCache = true;

$wgCategoryTreeMaxDepth = array(





# Default values for most options

$wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions = array();

$wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions['mode'] = null;

$wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions['hideprefix'] = null;

$wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions['showcount'] = false;

# false means "no filter"

$wgCategoryTreeDefaultOptions['namespaces'] = false;

# Options to be used for category pages

$wgCategoryTreeCategoryPageOptions = array();

$wgCategoryTreeCategoryPageOptions['mode'] = null;

$wgCategoryTreeCategoryPageOptions['showcount'] = true;

# Options to be used for Special:CategoryTree

$wgCategoryTreeSpecialPageOptions = array();

$wgCategoryTreeSpecialPageOptions['showcount'] = true;

Preparing classes for autoloading

If you choose to use classes to implement your extension, MediaWiki provides a simplified mechanism for helping php find the source file where your class is located. In most cases this should eliminate the need to write your own __autoload($classname) method.

To use MediaWiki's autoloading mechanism, you add entries to the variable $wgAutoloadClasses. The key of each entry is the class name; the value is the file that stores the definition of the class. For a simple one class extension, the class is usually given the same name as the extension, so your autoloading section might look like this (extension is named MyExtension):

$wgAutoloadClasses['MyExtension'] = dirname(__FILE__) . '/MyExtension.body.php';

For complex extensions with multiple classes, your autoloading section might look like this:

$wgMyExtensionIncludes = dirname(__FILE__) . '/includes';

## Special page class


= $wgMyExtensionIncludes . '/SpecialMyExtension.php';

## Tag class


= $wgMyExtensionIncludes . '/TagMyExtension.php';


Deferring setup

LocalSettings.php runs early in the MediaWiki setup process and a lot of things are not fully configured at that point. This can cause problems for certain setup activities. To work around this problem, MediaWiki gives you a choice of when to run set up actions. You can either run them immediately by inserting the commands in your setup file -or- you can run them later, after MediaWiki has finished configuring its core software.

To defer setup actions, your setup file must contain two bits of code:

the definition of a setup function

the assignment of that function to the $wgExtensionFunctions array.

The PHP code should look something like this:

$wgExtensionFunctions[] = 'efFoobarSetup';

function efFoobarSetup() {

#do stuff that needs to be done after setup



Defining additional hooks


Adding database tables

If your extension needs to add its own database tables, use the LoadExtensionSchemaUpdates hook. See the manual page for more information on usage.


Set up internationalization



The technique for writing the implementation portion depends upon the part of MediaWiki system you wish to extend:

Wiki markup: Extensions that extend wiki markup will typically contain code that defines and implements custom XML tags, parser functions and variables. You can click on any of the links in the preceding sentence to get full details on how to implement these features in your extension.

Reporting and administration: Extensions that add reporting and administrative capabilities usually do so by adding special pages. For more information see Manual:Special pages.

Article automation and integrity: Extensions that improve the integration between MediaWiki and its backing database or check articles for integrity features, will typically add functions to one of the many hooks that affect the process of creating, editing, renaming, and deleting articles. For more information about these hooks and how to attach your code to them, please see Manual:Hooks.

Look and feel: Extensions that provide a new look and feel to mediaWiki are bundled into skins. For more information about how to write your own skins, see Manual:Skin and Manual:Skinning.

Security: Extensions that limit their use to certain users should integrate with MediaWiki's own permissions system. To learn more about that system, please see Manual:Preventing access. Some extensions also let MediaWiki make use of external authentication mechanisms. For more information, please see AuthPlugin. In addition, if your extension tries to limit readership of certain articles, please check out the gotchas discussed in Security issues with authorization extensions.

See also the Extensions FAQ, Developer hub



If you want your extension to be used on wikis that have a multi-lingual readership, you will need to add internationalization support to your extension. Fortunately this is relatively easy to do.

For any text string displayed to the user, define a message. MediaWiki supports parameterized messages and that feature should be used when a message is dependent on information generated at runtime. Assign each message a lowercase message id.

In your setup and implementation code, replace each literal use of the message with a call to wfMsg( $msgID, $param1, $param2, ... ). Example : wfMsg( 'addition', '1', '2', '3' )

Store the message definition in your internationalization file (myextension.i18n.php) . This is normally done by setting up an array that maps language and message id to each string. Each message id should be lowercase and they may not contain spaces. A minimal file might look like this:


$messages = array();

$messages['en'] = array(

'sillysentence' => 'This sentence says nothing',

'answertoeverything' => 'Forty-two',

'addition' => '$1 plus $2 equals $3', //sentence with params


$messages['fr'] = array(

'sillysentence' => 'Une phrase absurde',

'answertoeverything' => 'quarante-deux',

'addition' => '$1 et $2 font $3', //phrase avec paramètres


In your setup routine, load the internalization file :

$wgExtensionMessagesFiles['myextension'] = dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/myextension.i18n.php';

For more information, please see:

Internationalisation - discusses the MediaWiki internationalization engine, in particular, there is a list of features that can be localized and some review of the MediaWiki source code classes involved in localization.

Localization checks - discusses common problems with localized messages


Extension types Extensions: Tag Extensions Parser Functions Hooks Special Pages Skins Magic Words

Extensions can be categorized based on the programming techniques used to achieve their effect. Most complex extensions will use more than one of these techniques:

Subclassing: MediaWiki expects certain kinds of extensions to be implemented as subclasses of a MediaWiki provided base class:

Special pages - Subclasses of the SpecialPage class are used to build pages whose content is dynamically generated using a combination of the current system state, user input parameters, and database queries. Both reports and data entry forms can be generated. They are used for both reporting and administration purposes.

Skins - Skins change the look and feel of MediaWiki by altering the code that outputs pages by subclassing the MediaWiki class SkinTemplate.

Hooks: A technique for injecting custom php code at key points within MediaWiki processing. They are widely used by MediaWiki's parser, its localization engine, its extension management system, and its page maintenance system.

Tag-function associations - XML style tags that are associated with a php function that outputs HTML code. You do not need to limit yourself to formatting the text inside the tags. You don't even need to display it. Many tag extensions use the text as parameters that guide the generation of HTML that embeds google objects, data entry forms, RSS feeds, excerpts from selected wiki articles.

Magic words: A technique for mapping a variety of wiki text string to a single id that is associated with a function. Both variables and parser functions use this technique. All text mapped to that id will be replaced with the return value of the function. The mapping between the text strings and the id is stored in the array $magicWords. The interpretation of the id is a somewhat complex process - see Manual:Magic words for more information.

Variables - Variables are something of a misnomer. They are bits of wikitext that look like templates but have no parameters and have been assigned hard-coded values. Standard wiki markup such as Extension Development Manual or DepositaryO Wiki are examples of variables. They get their name from the source of their value: a php variable or something that could be assigned to a variable, e.g. a string, a number, an expression, or a function return value.

Parser functions - Padron:Functionname: argument 1. Similar to tag extensions, parser functions process arguments and returns a value. Unlike tag extensions, the result of parser functions is wikitext.

Ajax - you can use AJAX in your extension to let your JavaScript code interact with your server side extension code, without the need to reload the page.


Support other core versions

You can visit the extension support portal to keep on top of changes in future versions of mediawiki and also add support for older versions that are still popular.



To autocategorize and standardize the documentation of your existing extension, please see Template:Extension. To add your new extension to this Wiki: Please replace "MyExtension" with your extension's name:

MediaWiki is an open-source project and users are encouraged to make any MediaWiki extensions under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved GPLv2 compatible license (including MIT, BSD, PD). For extensions that have a compatible license, you can request commit access to the MediaWiki source repository for extensions. Alternatively, you may also post your code directly on your extension's page, although that is not the preferred method.

A developer sharing their code on the MediaWiki wiki or code repository should expect:

Feedback / Criticism / Code reviews

Review and comments by other developers on things like framework use, security, efficiency and usability.

Developer tweaking

Other developers modifying your submission to improve or clean-up your code to meet new framework classes and methods, coding conventions and translations.

Improved access for wiki sysadmins

If you do decide to put your code on the wiki, another developer may decide to move it to the MediaWiki code repository for easier maintenance. You may then request commit access to continue maintaining it.

Future versions by other developers

New branches of your code being created by other developers as new versions of MediaWiki are released.

Merger of your code into other extensions with duplicate or similar purposes — incorporating the best features from each extension.


Credit for your work being preserved in future versions — including any merged extensions.

Similarly, you should credit the developers of any extensions whose code you borrow from — especially when performing a merger.

Any developer who is uncomfortable with any of these actions occurring should not host their code directly on the MediaWiki wiki or code repository. You are still encouraged to create a summary page for your extension on the wiki to let people know about the extension, and where to download it. You may also add the Padron:Extension exception template to your extension requesting other developers refrain from modifying your code, although no guarantees can be made that an update will be made if deemed important for security or compatibility reasons. You may use the current issues noticeboard if you feel another developer has violated the spirit of these expectations in editing your extension.

Please also consult Writing an extension for deployment.


See also

List of simple extensions

Manual:Extending wiki markup

Project:WikiProject Extensions

Example extensions in svn



↑ mailarchive:wikitech-l/2011-August/054839.html