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A bot is a computer program that automatically retrieves or updates wiki pages when it is executed. In general, bots are used for repetitive maintenance tasks, whose volume and characteristics are too large to be performed manually by users.
Developing and executing bots is normally outside the role of normal users, requires programming experience and must be done in coordination with the wiki's admins.
By default, bot edits are hidden in Special:RecentChanges.
Framework and interface for bot development
Bots do not access the wiki through the normal graphical user interface. MediaWiki has an API (Application Programming Interface) available for this purpose. An API is a protocol for standardized communication between two computer programs. Check API:Client code for more information.
To access a wiki through the API a bot must have a user account which has been granted 'bot' permissions.
Pywikibot provides a framework for the development of bots, which are commonly used to perform maintenance tasks such as adding a footer to some categorized pages (add_text.py), adding some wikilinks (replace.py), moving old contents of talk pages to subpages (archivebot.py), editing categories (category.py), or managing templates (template.py).
wiki-java is a lightweight Java framework for bot/application development and can be used to perform various tasks, such as uploading files, adding text to articles, parsing templates, basic I/O, etc. The library also comes with simple, but powerful standalone bot methods that can be readily utilized by a programmer.
Chris G's botclasses
Chris G's botclasses compose a PHP MediaWiki bot framework hosted at the toolserver.
- Extension:MassEditRegex — provides an alternative way to perform mass edits using regular expressions, through a special page in the wiki. Only admins can normally use this extension.
- Extension:Replace Text — another option.