Manual:Using custom namespaces

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In addition to the built-in namespaces, it is possible to add custom namespaces to a MediaWiki installation, to further separate content and allow more logical organization.

Custom namespaces are simple to manage using the $wgExtraNamespaces configuration directive. It is also possible to define alias names for custom (and also predefined) namespaces, using the $wgNamespaceAliases configuration directive.

Creating a custom namespace[edit | edit source]

You register additional namespaces by adding them to the $wgExtraNamespaces global variable. All namespaces require a unique numerical index in this array. As an example of simple custom namespace creation, adding the following lines to LocalSettings.php defines a "Foo" namespace 100 and its associated "Foo talk" namespace:

// Define constants for my additional namespaces.
define("NS_FOO", 100); // This MUST be even.
define("NS_FOO_TALK", 101); // This MUST be the following odd integer.
// Add namespaces.
$wgExtraNamespaces[NS_FOO] = "Foo";
$wgExtraNamespaces[NS_FOO_TALK] = "Foo_talk"; // Note underscores in the namespace name.
Pick an unused number
As a convention, the namespaces numbered 100-199 are reserved for site-specific namespaces, although there are some extensions that don't follow this convention. Extension writers use higher numbers, up to 32767. When choosing your index, you should avoid any number already in extension default namespaces, since you might want to install that extension later.
Even then odd
Note the namespace array index is 100 in the above example.
Create the talk namespace too
You typically create a discussion "Talk" namespace along with each custom namespace. With this example, if you move a page into the "Foo" namespace, will be prompted to move its associated talk page, if any, and if you choose to do so, MediaWiki will place the talk page in "Foo talk".
Do it early
Manipulation of $wgExtraNamespaces must be completed during of MediaWiki initialization; for instance it cannot be manipulated in a post-initialization hook like $wgExtensionFunctions.
No spaces
Use underscores instead of spaces when registering namespace names. "My Namespace" is an invalid here; use "My_Namespace" instead.
Name the numbers you pick
The example defines constants for the namespace IDs, so that you can refer to these namespaces later on in the configuration, for example in $wgNamespaceProtection, $wgNamespacesWithSubpages, or $wgExtraGenderNamespaces.

You could go on to configure additional settings for your new namespace.

$wgNamespaceProtection[NS_FOO] = array( 'editfoo' ); // permission "editfoo" required to edit the foo namespace
$wgNamespacesWithSubpages[NS_FOO] = true;            // subpages enabled for the foo namespace
$wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['editfoo'] = true;      // permission "editfoo" granted to users in the "sysop" group

In extensions[edit | edit source]

Extensions often add their own namespaces, such as the Flow extension's "Topic" namespace. An extension can unconditionally add to $wgExtraNamespaces as described above, or if its namespace registration is conditional (for example EventLogging only defines its "Schema" namespace on the wiki where it stores schemas), then it can add a handler function for the CanonicalNamespaces hook that decides what to do.

The timing of registering extensions is subtle. Functions that extensions register with $wgExtensionFunctions are executed too late to register additional namespace (bug T47031). So extensions should bind the CanonicalNamespaces hook at file scope (in MyExtension.php) and check there whether the wiki should activate the extra namespace or not. Extensions can configure namespace permissions and content handlers unconditionally at file scope since they do not require the namespace to actually be created.

MediaWiki version: 1.25
Gerrit change 166705

The new extension.json registration system has a namespace key for an extension to list its namespaces that should always exist.

Content namespaces[edit | edit source]

When building the site statistics page (see Special:Statistics), MediaWiki uses values stored in the database to calculate certain totals. One particular total is the "number of articles" or "number of content pages" figure.

For a page to be considered an article, or proper content, it must:

When creating custom namespaces to hold additional content, it is a good idea to indicate this in the configuration. This is done via the $wgContentNamespaces configuration directive.

To extend the example above, one might add the following to LocalSettings.php:

$wgContentNamespaces[] = 500;
$wgContentNamespaces[] = NS_FOO;

MediaWiki will now consider pages in the "Foo" namespace to be articles, if they meet the remaining criteria, and will include them when updating the site statistics counters.

Running maintenance scripts[edit | edit source]

  • When adjusting the value of $wgContentNamespaces, it is a good idea to run either the maintenance/updateArticleCount.php or maintenance/initStats.php script to update the internal statistics cache (see: Manual:Maintenance scripts).

Why you would want a custom namespace[edit | edit source]

There are several reasons on why you would want this:

  • A custom namespace can be used to hold content that should not be shown on the search results page, for example pages that are used only for transclusion.
  • Certain namespace require additional privilege(s), i.e. for reading or editing
  • You want certain namespace not to be subjected to certain limitation or default settings ($wgNoFollowNsExceptions for example)
  • A uniform prefix for specific content(s), which is searchable for that namespace only
  • If you're an MW developer, sometimes you need to have a custom namespace for your extension(s)

Dealing with existing pages[edit | edit source]

When storing page records, MediaWiki uses a namespace's numerical index, along with the remaining title text. Thus, when a page is created in a namespace that doesn't exist, e.g. "Bar:Some page", it is treated as being in the main namespace.

This can cause problems if adding a custom namespace definition for "Bar" at a later date, as MediaWiki will look for a page indexed via the proper namespace, but won't be able to find it, thus making the content inaccessible.

To correct this problem, there are three main approaches.

Move conflicting pages[edit | edit source]

If the number of pages affected is small (e.g. "Bar" held five pages created before the namespace was defined in the site configuration), then the following approach might be suitable:

  1. Comment out the namespace definition in the configuration file
  2. Access each affected page, and move it out of the pseudo-namespace, e.g. move "Bar:Some page" to "Bar2:Some page"
  3. Un-comment the namespace definition
  4. Move the affected pages back into the new namespace

Use a maintenance script[edit | edit source]

Within the maintenance directory, there is a maintenance script which performs the above operation more effectively for a large number of pages; NamespaceDupes.php. It is simple to use, but as with all MediaWiki maintenance scripts, consult the available usage information first (use --help) as an option.

Use a database query[edit | edit source]

To move all pages "Bar:Some page" into namespace 500, make the following database query:

page_title = REPLACE(page_title, 'Bar:', ''),
page_namespace = 500
WHERE page_title LIKE 'Bar:%' AND page_namespace=0

To handle discussion pages:

page_title = REPLACE(page_title, 'Bar:', ''),
page_namespace = 501
WHERE page_title LIKE 'Bar:%' AND page_namespace=1

Removing custom namespaces[edit | edit source]

The problem addressed above also occurs when a custom namespace definition is removed; MediaWiki is no longer aware of the numerical index for the namespace, and attempts to search the main namespace for the desired pages, leading to inaccessible content. This is a rare occurrence, since most sites will not need namespaces removed, but it is a problem. (See mailing list discussion).

Avoid namespace conflicts[edit | edit source]

In order for you to avoid namespace conflicts [e. g. your namespace has the same number as a namespace defined by an extension, the extension namespace list shows you which numbers to avoid to prevent conflicts.

Defining $wgNamespacesToBeSearchedDefault, $wgNamespacesWithSubpages, $wgContentNamespaces or $wgNamespaceAliases for an ID not associated to any existing namespace in $wgExtraNamespaces doesn't break the wiki; MediaWiki gracefully ignores such configurations.

Styling namespaces[edit | edit source]

For example, to set the background color of pages in a particular namespace (and its associated talk namespace) you can add following code to your common.css:

.ns-500 #content, .ns-501 #content { background-color: #f3f3ff; }
.ns-500 div.thumb, .ns-501 div.thumb { border-color: #f3f3ff; }

where 500 is the namespace's index and #f3f3ff is the color you want as its background color.

See also[edit | edit source]

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