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Wikitravel talk:Technical details

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Wikitravel Code?[edit]

moved from travellers' pub by Evan

I could not find any links on the main page, in the footer, in the FAQ, or the Help pages about what code you use to run this wiki. Is it something you wrote yourself, or are you using the MediaWiki project, or something else?

You probably haven't tried looking for MediaWiki with the "Find" thingy? :) If you had you knew it was MediaWiki. Guaka 09:51, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)
It's in the FAQ. Actually, our version is slightly modified in some ways -- mostly stylesheet changes. I've added an RFE to MediaWiki to add a "powered by" logo, but it's not in the current version. But you're right -- we should probably have that info on the Wikitravel:About page, too. --Evan 12:45, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)
The FAQ does mention MediaWiki, though it doesn't note what version you're running, BTW. -- Beland 03:05, 25 Jul 2004 (EDT)

min·us·cule ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mn-skyl, m-nskyl) also min·is·cule (mn-skyl)--

WikiMedia upgrade? =[edit]

I'm guessing that the version of WikiMedia that Wikitravel is using is older than the one Wikipedia is using. The latter seems to have an easier-to-read layout and I find its editing interfaces a little spluftier. Are there plans in the works to upgrade, if that's the case? -- Beland 02:56, 25 Jul 2004 (EDT)

long term stability?[edit]

i'm just wondering what plans there are for long term stability of the site, e.g.:

  • Is there any formal relation to the Wikimedia Foundation?
  • Most probably there are many informal links with wikimedia techies/projects. Can someone say roughly what these are, so we have some idea of how independent and/or crosslinked the projects are?
  • i guess there should be details in [1] but so far there's nothing... :(

The point is that many of us already have some trust that wikimedia projects are properly backed up and sql dumps are available etc, and we wouldn't like to contribute to a web site which might get lost and so lose all our work... presumably would not want to lose its reputation by allowing things to get lost, but in any case, maximum transparency etc etc would be a good idea.

There is no formal relationship of any kind, although there's a lot of cooperation as many users are shared. Jpatokal 12:14, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)
No formal relationship, but we're friendly. Many if not most users are Wikimedia editors, too. I'm a MediaWiki developer and I fix bugs and add features to the MediaWiki codebase -- both stuff that helps Wikitravel and stuff that helps Wikimedia sites. I've been a Wikipedian since 2002.
I understand that some people who haven't got a lot of experience with wikis think Wikimedia is the be-all and end-all of the wiki world. It is not; there are tens of thousands of wikis in the world, and that number is growing by leaps and bounds.
 :) i'm not trying to suggest that wikimedia is the be-all and end-all of the wiki world, i don't like centralisation and hierarchy :). Boud 08:21, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)
As for long-term stability: we've been around for 2 years, and we don't intend to go off the air any time soon. --Evan 15:47, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Good :) Boud 08:21, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)


Is there somewhere where people can download weekly sql files? Boud 12:02, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)

This gets asked a lot, but the answer remains "No". Jpatokal 12:14, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Private backups of the entire site are made on a daily basis, for the record. --Evan 15:37, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Thanks - it's good to know about the backups and the link that Jpatoka gave: Wikitravel:How to re-use Wikitravel guides provides a good explanation for the "No" (which to me reads as "Not yet, and also probably not soon"). Boud 08:21, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Software setup[edit]

The following was moved from Evan's talk page, and seems like valuable info to include under Wikitravel:Technical details. The only reason I didn't include it there is that Evan is (at present) the only person who can keep it up-to-date, and I'm not sure it's something he wants to deal with:

Cache 404[edit]

The key difference is the 404-handler caching system, which flops plain HTML files out onto the filesystem when a file isn't found. This way, Wikitravel serves mostly flat HTML files. This is our "medium-sized" solution -- generating every page every time is too costly for us, but we don't have an array of reverse-squids, like Wikimedia does.

There's a read-only arch repository for the Cache404 extension at (category mw-cache404). It should have at least some of the info you need to get it set up. It's an extension, not a patch-- you should be able to cp -R everything to your MediaWiki setup.

The key thing for Apache is to set up MediaWiki as an ErrorDocument for a directory, so that if a file isn't there, MW+Cache404 will try to put it there. The one in /en/ looks like this:

 ErrorDocument 404 /wiki/en/index.php
 ExpiresActive on
 ExpiresDefault M0

 RewriteEngine On
 RewriteBase /en/

 RewriteRule ^(Special:.*) /wiki/en/index.php?title=$1&%{QUERY_STRING} [L]

 RewriteRule \.html$ - [L]
 RewriteRule ^$ Main_Page.html [L]

 RewriteRule ^(.*)$ $1.html [L]

I think the Rewrites for .html aren't terribly necessary -- they could be done with MultiViews. The Rewrite for Special: is to make sure that e.g. Recent changes isn't cached.

For LocalSettings.php, you have to include the extension, and set a couple of variables. The most important is to turn off file caching in MediaWiki (else you get a redirect loop).

 $LP = "$WEBROOT/$wgLanguageCode";
 # ...
 $wgCachePages = false;


 $wgCacheDirectory = "$LP";
 $wgCachePath = "/$wgLanguageCode";
 $wgCache404MaxCount = 800;
 $wgCache404MaxSize = 25600000;

Here, "directory" and "path" are the filesystem and Web path, respectively.

URL creation[edit]

I've also noticed a pretty big difference in the way vanilla mediawiki (either REV1_4 or the trunk) constructs URLs from the way Wikitravel does it. Would this also be a change to LocalSettings.php? -- Mark 08:39, 11 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Nevermind. Found it:
 $wgArticlePath    = "$wgScriptPath/$1";
-- Mark 08:46, 11 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Canaca link[edit]

When we were hosted on XLInternet, we had a link to their site (they gave us a discount, as the owner is a personal friend). Canaca isn't giving us a discount or really anything more than a reasonably-priced hosting service. I don't think it's particularly cogent that is the hosting service, and I think the link might be misleading -- that it's appropriate for Wikitravellers to contact Canaca directly (it's not -- please don't do that). So, unless there's a good reason, I'm removing the link. --Evan 15:40, 9 Aug 2005 (EDT)[edit]

A new .travel domain has been tentatively accepted by ICANN [2]. No word on which proposal has been accepted, but eg. for this one the eligibility requirements look pretty strict:

Applicants for a .travel domain name must be verifiable participants in the travel industry and each name applied for be a name to which there is a right that has been established through rights registration or use. Each applicant will be required to declare which category of right it relies on for the registration. In all applications, eligibility and name selection rights will be authenticated by a third party specialist as detailed in Part B (C).

Time to create a shoebox company or association for Wikitravel and join ACTA? They charge a fairly steep $175/year for the privilege though. Jpatokal 04:01, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)

I think there's some work underway on starting a non-profit or a foundation or something like that. If there's enough money left over after paying for bandwidth this might be useful, but it seems like it could be a lot to pay for very little in return. -- Mark 04:40, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)
Let me add that it is a neat idea, I just don't know about the cost. -- Mark 06:12, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)

Wiki software upgrade[edit]

Swept in from the Wikitravel:Travelers' pub:

Hi there, I have seen in the wikipedia that they are busy with a software upgrade from 1.4 to 1.5. Will this have any effect on wikitravel? Felix 27/06/2005, 16:31 (GMT)

Barring any problems we'll probably move up to 1.5 sometime after it's released. Or are you asking whether the 1.5 upgrade at Wikipedia is going to affect us? I'm not sure about that, but I doubt it. --Evan 12:00, 27 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I actually meant, if we are also going to upgrade! Felix

Show changes[edit]

Swept in from the Wikitravel:Travelers' pub:

Could we add "Show changes" button to the edit page, like wikipedia has? I find it helpful if I make several changes in one edit and don't remember them all, to make sure I haven't made typos and such before I commit them and check the "show changes" equivalent in history (Compare selected versions). TransUtopian 03:09, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT)

That's a feature of the MediaWiki 1.5 software, which is currently in beta (see When a stable version is released Wikitravel will most likely update, and the show changes button will then be available. -- Wrh2 03:19, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Thanks, Wrh2! And nice job on the sweeping. -- TransUtopian 09:07, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Breadcrumbs code?[edit]

First of all let me say "Great Site!" Now that's out of the way.

Could you share with us what it takes to get the style of bread crumbs that appear at the top of each of your pages? I've been asking at and and there is no definitive answer. Thanks in advance.


It's our IsIn template, which can be found here. Which wiki are you using this on, because some changes may be required? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 10:50, 5 September 2006 (EDT)
Where can the latest version of the RDF extension be downloaded? The one in MediaWiki SVN is 0.4, but I've seen Evan refer to 0.5, but couldn't download it from there [[3]]. Also I imagine there is some change needed to the skin to actually print the trail. Where can that be found?


Attribution Question[edit]

Most articles say "Based on the work by ...." at the bottom of the page. I've just added a page (Hsipaw). Why doesn't it say "Based on the work by Wandering?" --Wandering 12:54, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Because it says "This page was last modified 16:17, 16 May 2007 by Wandering." Once the next person edits it, your name gets moved into the "Based on..." list. Jpatokal 13:06, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Thanks! All is now clear :-). --Wandering 13:14, 16 May 2007 (EDT)


Swept in from the pub:

What's the deal with google-analytics? I assume this is something that's connected with the Wikitravel site rather than just my browser, right? It seems like with a page of any length, it usually hangs while trying forever to finish loading something from there. The page appears complete, except sometimes some of the images don't load, and you can't (at least in Firefox) use the Print Preview function. Sailsetter 10:57, 22 March 2008 (EDT)

I believe it's something that IB installed to track page hits, etc... and I think it also may have contributed greatly to the site slowdown. Things are getting back up to speed, and I believe they're planning some new magic in the near future as well that'll fix even more issues... but you may care to comment on that link on shared – cacahuate talk 22:50, 22 March 2008 (EDT)

Page title extension?[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Looking at Special:Version there's an extension "setupTravelGuideTitle". Is this the extension that allows a page like Kingston (Ontario) to show up in the title bar of the browser as "Kingston travel guide - Wikitravel"? (I.e. the "(Ontario)" is stopped from displaying.)

Could we find out more about this extension? Much appreciated. --Chriswaterguy 22:55, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

List of Wikitravel articles in easy to gather format[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Hello all,

I was wondering if there was a list of wikitravel articles available in a format which is easy to import into a text doucumant such as notepad. I have found Special:Allpages, however it is not easy to extract this list to a usable format. Any suggestions to where i could locate such a list?

Many thanks,

--Sirtrebuchet 17:57, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

I'm not sure if there is a way to list all of the articles on one page or not, but I don't imagine it would be too difficult to write a Word macro (or equivalent) to organize the data in a way that would be helpful to you. If you would like help doing this please contact me. --Matt Talk 22:14, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
You can also use the api if you have some programming experience. The following link will return the first 50 article names in XML: Info on the API is available at If you decide to use it, be careful not to abuse the WT servers. Keep total number of articles requested at a time small (less than 500) and implement delays between requests. --Nick 08:07, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for all of the ideas. You guys are a great help. I am currently working with the second idea suggested, as it seems to be what i am looking for and i think i will be able to get it to do what i want. Thanks for the quick and helpful replies. --Sirtrebuchet 22:04, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

MediaWiki upgrade is in staging and ready for testing[edit]

Swept in from the pub

There is now a version of WT with the Mediawiki upgrade, live at this URL:

No credentials or password are needed to access this server. Just click through, poke around, and report any issues you find under BETA here:

Testing this is critical to ensuring that the transition to the full new site is smooth. This will be happening very soon (weeks or sooner) and we're anxious to hear feedback. So please, go look.


1. This is NOT the "real" Wikitravel site -- your updates won't carry over to the real site. This is just a testing environment for debugging; it will mimic the look & feel of the new site however.

2. The article data you will see on this staging server are several months old. New edits will not appear. Don't panic -- all the data will of course appear when the real site is switched over.

3. Speed will be okay; not as fast as the full site, but not nearly as slow as the previous testing environment.

Thank you,--IBobi 14:43, 11 April 2012 (EDT)

FYI the staging server is now closed. The next step will be adding the booking tool and internally testing the site, then opening it up again on staging for the community to test before it goes live. This should happen in the next week.--IBobi 14:57, 20 April 2012 (EDT)
Just a reminder—MediaWiki is the name of the software. --Peter Talk 17:53, 20 April 2012 (EDT)
Thanks Peter -- think I reversed my MW and WM a couple times there.--IBobi 19:06, 20 April 2012 (EDT)

***RESCHEDULED for next week*** MediaWiki upgrade is scheduled for Monday 5/14/12[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Site will be READ-ONLY for up to TWO DAYS while the upgrade is occurring.

If there are edits you'd like to make, please do so over the weekend and on Monday.

When the new site comes online, it will be on new hardware as well. Bug reporting is available here:

If for any reason you need to contact me, I can be reached on my Talk page or my email address paul.obrien at

Thank you for hanging in there with us; once this major upgrade is complete we expect to be able to update the site software in a much more timely manner (1.11 to 1.17 is a big jump), and we have development resources to address any technical issues still lingering after the upgrade, as well as to address the next set of feature requests from the community. We're looking forward to the next stage of the project and hope you are too!--IBobi 17:47, 4 May 2012 (EDT)

I've updated MediaWiki:Sitenotice to note the scheduled outage. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:36, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
Thank you Ryan.--IBobi 18:59, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
Might be helpful to list the time in UTC (for the non-US users) in the message that displayed at the top. So: A MediaWiki upgrade is scheduled for Tuesday 8-May at 10AM PST (17:00 UTC). The site will be READ-ONLY for up to two days during the upgrade. AHeneen 23:38, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
Done –sumone10154 10:58, 5 May 2012 (EDT)

THIS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 5/15/2012 due to network issues today. As we get closer to the day, I'll post a time -- it is likely to be around 5am PST (12:00 UTC).--IBobi 14:22, 7 May 2012 (EDT)

THIS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 5/14/2012. It is still likely to be around 5am PST (12:00 UTC).--IBobi 16:28, 11 May 2012 (EDT)

Since the site isn't read-only as of 8AM (Pacific) on 14-May, is there any update on when the upgrade is going to happen? -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:56, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
I'm told 2 minutes from now.--IBobi 12:58, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
I'm following GW Bush's counsel [4]. --Peter Talk 13:33, 14 May 2012 (EDT)

I will update shortly on the upgrade status.--IBobi 16:55, 17 May 2012 (EDT)

Mission Accomplished!? --Peter Talk 20:18, 17 May 2012 (EDT)

Mediawiki upgrade status[edit]

Swept in from the pub

The planned MW upgrade has been postponed.

During the last 2 days, as you may have noticed, Wikitravel has been in read-only mode for a planned upgrade. Due to unforeseen technical circumstances, we had to re-schedule.

We have been working to transfer the entire site to new hardware while simultaneously migrating it to MW version 1.17 from 1.11.

As you can see, the existing version of the site running on 1.11 is back online for read-write access. Our technical department has built testing tools specific to the customized version of MW that runs Wikitravel, and we'll be using them to troubleshoot and log potential causes of the upgrade failure.

As soon as we have it, I will post a new timetable for the switchover to the new site.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns,--IBobi 20:37, 17 May 2012 (EDT)

Hi, this is Shoestring, an admin of ja:.
It will be very much helpful if you could kindly leave a brief message about the concrete schedule of the next system maintenance on the MediaWiki:Sitenotice of shared and en:, at least prior to a week.
Usually ja: users don't check the pubs on en: and shared so frequently, and we have totally no idea what on earth was happening on the site for the last couple of days.--Shoestring 07:22, 18 May 2012 (EDT)
Out of interest, what are the changes? Is it just performance improvements, or will this bring in new ads? Are we getting upgraded to the Vector skin, because the Monobook is starting to look quite old. I've seen non-Wikimedia sites do it; we should too. JamesA >talk 21:40, 19 May 2012 (EDT)
Any chance of providing a database dump for download at the same time? Please? Anjocu 23:05, 21 May 2012 (EST)