Technical documentation refers to any documentation that contains information regarding a technical product, process, or task.
Documentation for Wikimedia projects is widely spread across different wikis and websites. This page focuses on technical documentation for MediaWiki and related software.
Why contribute to technical documentation?
Technical documentation is an important part of Wikimedia technical projects. Quality documentation is especially important for open-source projects where folks from all over the world are working together. It provides history, context, accurate information, and repeatable steps that people can follow.
If you are interested in contributing to Wikimedia's technical projects, improving technical documentation can be a good starting place.
Where to find Wikimedia technical documentation
There are many Wikimedia technical projects, and sometimes it can be difficult to determine the best place to find or publish technical documentation. Following is a list of the main places to find Wikimedia technical documentation.
- MediaWiki - MediaWiki software documentation and technical documentation for many other Wikimedia technology projects. This is the default space for publishing technical documents about Wikimedia technology.
- Wikitech - Technical documentation for Wikimedia Foundation infrastructure and services. This includes production clusters, Wikimedia Cloud Services, Toolforge hosting, the Beta Cluster, and other data services.
- Wikidata - Technical documentation related to the Wikidata project, particularly the Tools page.
- PAWS - Documentation about PAWS, Wikimedia's hosted Jupyter notebooks instance. Notebooks are frequently used to create tutorials and documentation for Wikimedia technology.
- Phabricator - Phabricator is a collaboration tool that is used by the Wikimedia technical community for task and bug management. You can find many issues and software projects documented here. Use best practices for software documentation when filing tasks and interacting in this space.
- On MediaWiki.org:
- A Technical Manual for information about the MediaWiki Software.
- Project based documentation. This includes user guides, API documentation, tutorials, development information and reference materials related to specific projects.
- Help pages contain end-user specific documentation and Special pages provide some on-demand documentation.
- Auto-generated API documentation:
- Documentation generated from the source code of MediaWiki: doc.wikimedia.org.
- Text files in the /docs directory of MediaWiki source tree have code related information.
Supporting resources include blogs, talk pages and discussion forums.
Primary users of the MediaWiki documentation and the most useful set of pages for each user-group are listed below.
- Wiki users (end users of the MediaWiki software)
Help:Contents at mediawiki.org and meta are concise forms of end-user documentation.
- System administrators
Pages linked to Category:MediaWiki for site admins and Sysadmin hub contain sysadmin specific information. Manual:Contents serves as the reference guide.
- Wiki administrators
MediaWiki Administrator's Handbook and Manual:Administrators contain resources for administrators. Manual:Contents serves as the reference guide.
- Code developers and administrators
New Developers, Manual:Contents and linked pages are a starting point for beginners. Experienced developers refer to Developer hub.
- Add-ons developers
References include Developer hub, Manual:Extensions, Category:Extensions, Gadget kitchen, Manual:Bots, etc., besides the software installation guidelines.
Pages linked to Design.
- Translators and technical writers
Translator hub and Help:Contents for getting started followed by the project specific mediawiki pages.
- Code developers and administrators
For a more comprehensive exploration of the types of people who use Wikimedia technical documentation and their motivations, see Audiences for Wikimedia technical documentation.
New to technical documentation on Wikimedia projects? This page will help you get started right away.