Extension:Semantic Watchlist

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Semantic Watchlist

Release status: beta

Implementation Special page, API, User interface, Ajax
Description Provides a watchlist and notifier for changes to semantic properties
Author(s) Jeroen De Dauw, Nischay Nahata
Latest version 0.2.2 (December 2013)
MediaWiki 1.17.0 or higher
PHP 5.2 or above
Database changes Yes
License GNU GPL v3+
  • $wgDefaultUserOptions
    (swl_email, swl_watchlisttoplink)
  • $egSWLEnableEmailNotify
  • $egSWLMailPerChange
  • $egSWLMaxMails
  • $egSWLEnableTopLink
Added rights
  • semanticwatch
  • semanticwatchgroups
Hooks used


Translate the Semantic Watchlist extension if it is available at translatewiki.net

Check usage and version matrix; code metrics

The Semantic Watchlist extension (abbreviated as SWL) enables users to "watch", i.e. monitor changes in, properties defined by the Semantic MediaWiki extension. SWL defines a new watchlist page that lists changes to these properties. Users can choose to follow one or more watchlist groups, which are administrator defined, and cover a set of properties and a set of pages (category, namespace, or SMW concept). Notification of changes to watched properties is also possible via email.

Rationale[edit | edit source]

Users often want to keep track of the changes made on a wiki. On small wikis the RecentChanges special page often suffices for this. For bigger wikis, you might only be interested in changes to some of the articles, for example those which you are knowledgeable about, or those which contain sensitive data. The MediaWiki watchlist is a great tool for watching content on per-article basis.

In semantic wikis, you might be interested in only watching changes to semantic properties that you care about. For example, on an auction wiki, the price of an item might be the only thing you are truly concerned about, on the page for that item. The Semantic Watchlist extension allows for such fine-grained watching of changes.

Feature overview[edit | edit source]

Requirements[edit | edit source]

Semantic Watchlist requires:

Installation[edit | edit source]

  • Download and place the file(s) in a directory called SemanticWatchlist in your extensions/ folder.
  • Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php:
require_once "$IP/extensions/SemanticWatchlist/SemanticWatchlist.php";
  • Run the update script which will automatically create the necessary database tables that this extension needs.
  • Configure as required (see below)
  • Done! Navigate to "Special:Version" on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.

Updating from version 0.1[edit | edit source]

If you're updating from version 0.1 of Semantic Watchlist, you will need to add one more column to one of the SWL database tables. To do that, call the following SQL within the database:

ALTER TABLE /*$wgDBprefix*/swl_groups ADD COLUMN group_custom_texts BLOB NULL

Configuration[edit | edit source]

Configuration of Semantic Watchlist is done by setting various global variables in the LocalSettings.php file. These statements need to be placed AFTER the inclusion of Semantic Watchlist. The options, and their default values, are listed below.

Email notifications[edit | edit source]

  • $egSWLEnableEmailNotify - whether to email users on changes (default is true)
  • $egSWLEnableSelfNotify - whether users will be notified of their own changes (default is false)
  • $egSWLMailPerChange - whether to send an email on every change, as opposed to a generic "something changed" email for the first $egSWLMaxMails changes (default is true)
  • $egSWLMaxMails - the maximum amount of generic emails to send about changes until the user actually checks their semantic watchlist (default is 1)
  • $wgDefaultUserOptions['swl_email'] - the value for the user preference to receive email notifications (default is true)

Top link[edit | edit source]

  • $wgDefaultUserOptions['swl_watchlisttoplink'] - the value for the user preference to view a top link to the semantic watchlist (default is true)
  • $egSWLEnableTopLink - whether to display a top link to the semantic watchlist (default is true)

Permissions[edit | edit source]

Semantic Watchlist adds 2 permissions to MediaWiki: one to use the semantic watchlist (i.e. Special:SemanticWatchlist) and one that allows configuring the watchlist groups (i.e .Special:WatchlistConditions).

Using the watchlist[edit | edit source]


# Users that can use the semantic watchlist.
$wgGroupPermissions['*'            ]['semanticwatch'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['user'         ]['semanticwatch'] = true;
$wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['semanticwatch'] = true;
$wgGroupPermissions['bot'          ]['semanticwatch'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop'        ]['semanticwatch'] = true;

Configuring watchlist groups[edit | edit source]


# Users that can modify the watchlist groups via Special:WatchlistConditions
$wgGroupPermissions['*'            ]['semanticwatchgroups'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['user'         ]['semanticwatchgroups'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['autoconfirmed']['semanticwatchgroups'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['bot'          ]['semanticwatchgroups'] = false;
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop'        ]['semanticwatchgroups'] = true;

(Until version 0.2.1, Semantic Watchlist defined its own user group as well, 'swladmins'.)

Usage[edit | edit source]

The watchlist[edit | edit source]

Each user can view changes to properties they watch on Special:SemanticWatchlist, which looks and works similar to the regular watchlist. Items that have not been viewed yet on the watchlist will be indicated as 'NEW'.

Watchlist preferences[edit | edit source]

Each user can manage which watchlist groups they follow via their user preferences. They can also choose if they want to receive email notifications or not. These preferences can be found on Special:Preferences, which is linked at the right top of the page in most skins for logged in users.

Watchlist groups[edit | edit source]

The watchlist groups can be managed via the Special:WatchlistConditions page by people that have the 'semanticwatchgroups' right, by default only administrators. Each group has a name, which allows users to easily recognize the groups in their preferences, and a single category, namespace or concept it covers. Only changes to properties on pages in this category, namespace or concept will be shown to users watching this group. Each group also has a list of properties, which further restricts what property changes should be shown to the user.

Version history[edit | edit source]

This is a copy of the release notes file on Git, which might be more up to date than this page.

Version 0.2.2[edit | edit source]


  • Fix for Special:AdminLinks when using SMW 1.9+.

Version 0.2.1[edit | edit source]


  • 'swladmins' group removed.

Version 0.2[edit | edit source]


  • Special:WatchlistConditions UI improved.
  • Custom text can be sent in emails.
  • Custom text can be set using Special:WatchlistConditions.
  • No email sent to a page's own editor, by default.
  • Fixed deleting of groups, which was not working.

Version 0.1[edit | edit source]


Initial release with these features:

  • Special:SemanticWatchlist showing changes to properties watched by the user.
  • Per-user optional email notification per edit that changes properties.
  • Integration with user preferences to allow users to specify which watchlist groups they want to follow, and if they want to receive emails on changes.
  • Special:WatchListConditions as administration interface for watchlist groups.
  • API module to query property changes grouped by edit for a single user.
  • API modules to add, modify and delete the watchlist groups.

Extending Semantic Watchlist[edit | edit source]

Semantic Watchlist is in part a workflow extension, allowing other extensions and tools to interact with it. This is made possible via the hooks and API modules that Semantic Watchlist provides.

API modules:

  • addswlgroup: API module to add semantic watchlist groups.
  • deleteswlgroup: API module to delete semantic watchlist groups.
  • editswlgroup: API module to modify semantic watchlist groups.
  • semanticwatchlist: Returns a list of modified properties per page for a persons semantic watchlist.


  • SWLBeforeEmailNotify: $group, $user, $changeSet, $describeChanges, &$title, &$emailText
  • SWLBeforeEditInsert: &$this
  • SWLAfterEditInsert: &$this
  • SWLBeforeChangeSetInsert: &$this, &$groupsToAssociate, &$editId
  • SWLAfterChangeSetInsert: &$this, $groupsToAssociate, $editId

Internationalization[edit | edit source]

Semantic Watchlist is fully internationalized. Translation of Semantic Watchlist messages is done through translatewiki.net. The translation for this extension can be found here. To add language values or change existing ones, you should create an account on translatewiki.net, then request permission from the administrators to translate a certain language or languages on this page (this is a very simple process). Once you have permission for a given language, you can log in and add or edit whatever messages you want to in that language.

Authors[edit | edit source]

Semantic Watchlist was originally written by Jeroen De Dauw, as WikiWorks consultant for the IEEE. It was then modified by Nischay Nahata, again for WikiWorks and the IEEE. Code and design contributions were also made by Yaron Koren.

Screenshots[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]