Manual talk:Interface


inner names of the MediaWiki outer parts[edit]

Peter Blaise says: Does anyone know of or can we make this Manual:Interface include a "names of parts" page, making it easy to find the control for any MediaWiki screen element I'm staring right at! And when we do have something on screen with an apparent name displayed, it seems to be controlled by something under another name, such as, "discussion" is really "talk" and:

- on-screen "navigation" (called "site" here, but does NOT include "search" and "toolbox"!)
... = MediaWiki:Sidebar
... = http://your_wiki's_URL/index.php?title=MediaWiki:Sidebar

And so on. Please help find the inner names of the MediaWiki outer parts, such as:

- on-screen "search [__________] [Go] [Search]" area
... = (synonym?)
... = place for a wiki admin to edit/control it
- on-screen "toolbox" area
... = (synonym?)
... = place for a wiki admin to edit/control it

Because I want to CONTROL those on-screen MediaWiki elements, and I can't find any reference to what that are called. As, as exampled above, the name on screen is not used in any support documentation I can search at So, c'mon folks, if you know or can find it, please share links at or create it and then share links! Thanks!

-- Peter Blaise peterblaise 13:19, 7 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jim says: I think you have a point. If the Wiki model is to be ubiquitous, it must become easy to administer as well as to use. This software system is as good a candidate for wide adoption as I have seen. However, this is an ambitious goal.

I think that the state of the software is too fluid to do what you want with manual methods.

Here are two questions to consider:

  • How can you find the name (program identifier, what you called inner name) of some message in the wiki, so that you know which row in the table to customize.
  • How can you automate your customization steps, because I think you may want to repeat them.

Perhaps the place to start is to see how the names of the message text items are added to the table in the special:allmessages page. I doubt the page is built by hand.

Jim 02:28, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peter Blaise responds: Yes, Jim, and no. Thanks for your exploration and insight, but I think you are only thinking of special:allmessages. I find that special:allmessages is sorely limited, and being in alphabetical order, is not instructional as much as it is referential once you know what you are after. How do you learn to know what you are after in the first place? special:allmessages is a PHP-generated program, by the way - see ... but you're right - it CAN'T really be hand coded with each version ... can it? Geesh! There's GOT to be a dynamic generator for it ... right?

I'm also thinking of everything else on screen that's not in special:allmessages, including:

  • logos,
  • windows/subwindow/frame shapes, colors, and sizes,
  • font choices and sizes,

... and so on. Many of these are controlled by:

  • *.css configuration files
  • *.js configuration files

... and also the:

  • *.png image files

... themselves, as well as managing:

  • links under anything we can click on.

I'm looking for or trying to

create the treasure map to show where everything is buried!

I agree this is manually done and daunting. However, once some people get started, there tends to be a groundswell for automation. For instance, we used to manually edit the Windows registry using notes from cheat sheets, then

automated Windows registry editing with an endless list and mini programs, and

did the same.

Someone will eventually

create a single menu-driven control panel for MediaWiki,

including all the background mini-programs to control everything in the MedaiWiki interface, rather than every one of us having to do it all manually, searching for and editing each configuration file with a text editor. I've got pages and pages I refer to, but I haven't found everything I'm after, and I've not automated it ... yet. Anybody else?

-- Peter Blaise peterblaise 12:34, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there is a misunderstanding. I posed the question:

How can you find the name of some message in the wiki...?

The answer could be something that let you point at a visible screen element and get back the key you need. A gui tool. Just point.

I looked a bit further today. I started at Manual:Special_pages. This had a link to m:Writing a new special page, which discusses special page internals.

What I got out of that was that there is a construct called MessageCache which appears to be a hash table. It seems the key is that name thing, and the value is the message text. The writing a special page discussion encourages you to put all your text in the cache so that you can easily customize it.

I think this suggests where the all pages list comes from - the source code. If there is a single global table, then all the keys must be unique. We could automate finding all the keys and at least show where in the source code they come from, which would go some of the way.

If this is generaly useful then perhaps the next step would be to propose a standard for including meta data that would give a functional description i.e. where the message is used, what it is supposed to express. One way to incorporate meta data is with special comments. There are many precedents for special comments, they are used in C# and Java, for instance.

AJim 01:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where do find the spot to customize the results displayed on an atom/rss feed?[edit]

Where do I customize what my users see on their atom/rss feeds? -- Technical 13 (talk) 15:03, 11 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Document all messages here?[edit]

There seem to be a few subpages of here that are documenting interface messages. There are lots missing. Is this something left over from ages ago, or should we be adding missing ones here too? Some examples:

Sam Wilson 01:57, 9 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most of them should probably be documented at and deleted from here. --Ciencia Al Poder (talk) 09:30, 9 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ciencia Al Poder: I've marked 3 for deletion (noted on list above), to see if anyone objects. Actually, I think {{interface message}} could probably be deleted all together! Or is it used in other ways? Sam Wilson 02:45, 10 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If they're just simple messages then I'm in favor of deleting them and linking to the TWN qqq version, but for important messages like "mainpage" that people may often want to customize I think we should keep them here. Legoktm (talk) 21:44, 25 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Instead of several one-line-of-text pages with awkward titles, it may be more useful to describe all of them on a single page, to avoid having to open 20+ different pages to see a small description. --Ciencia Al Poder (talk) 21:20, 27 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both of those things make sense. Perhaps we can add more to Help:System message? I think message documentation more properly belongs in Help rather than Manual, as it's for end-users (administrative end-users, but still). Sam Wilson 01:46, 28 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]