2013 Jun 06: These directions are changing as Wikipedia switches to use Scribunto for templates. Check the comments for copying the files from my wiki. ^_^
I’ve been working on my instance of MediaWiki for a while now, and Kevin is starting to drop a bunch of info in it concerning Kay Seif. I wanted a nifty navigation box somewhere, but I didn’t want to build a table or something myself. I read Wikipedia all the time, so I am familiar with the Navbox template, though only from using it as navigation. I knew I wanted to use it, but looking at the talk page for it is intimidating. However, after getting it over, I realized it was actually really easy, and just in case someone else is having trouble, here is how to do it in six steps (they basically mirror the steps given, but are hopefully easier to follow).
Real quick, these steps assume you have shell access to your server, as well as being able to install software from your distro’s repositories. Also, the namespaces assume you use the defaults when it was installed, such as having a MediaWiki namespace. Everything else is copy and paste!
You actually need to do all the steps to get them working, so the order is kinda arbitrary.
Step One: ParserFunctions
Install the ParserFunctions extension. Standard stuff, download, add the bits to your LocalSettings.php, and visit Special:Version to check if it is installed. The extension page has installation instructions.
Step Two: HTML Tidy
There will be mentions to the non-HTML Tidy version of the Navbox template, but this step is so easy it doesn’t matter, except that it will be easier to keep in sync with the regular templates if they change (more on that later).
HTML Tidy is a library that cleans up HTML as it is parsed. It is available for lots of languages, but we need the PHP version for MediaWiki. Check your server’s distro for what the package is called. In Ubuntu it is php5-tidy.
sudo apt-get install php5-tidy
Step Three: Navbox template
This part actually kept me busy for a while, but mainly because I knew enough to be tricked by transclusion. That is to say, I couldn’t figure out where the template was, because the page itself has all this content on it explaining usage and such. The template itself is really intense, so I got confused for a bit there. Anyhow, it is easy, just copy the content when you view the source.
To keep things simple, copy it to Template:Navbox in your wiki as well. I am betting there are some template references coded in there, so for now let’s keep the same names.
Step Four: Navbar template
Same as step one, copy the source of the Template:Navbar. Navbar is what adds the “VTE” links at the top of the Navbox, which link to the View, Talk and Edit page for the template you are viewing. Very helpful for easily changing the content used for navigation.
Step Five: MediaWiki:Common.css
You can of course style it however you want, and there is plenty of documentation for that, but to start we want to get it all over exactly as it looks on Wikipedia, which means copying the stylesheet for it as well. This part actually taught me about these special pages in MediaWiki, it is pretty cool. Normally you would track down a CSS file somewhere and change it, which I was dreading since I use git to hold my instance. Turns out it is the same as the templates, just copy and paste.
In this case, go copy the MediaWiki:Common.css source, and paste it in the same place in your instance. Done!
Step Six: MediaWiki:Common.js
Same as the CSS, grab the source from MediaWiki:Common.js, and paste it in the same place in your wiki. This code allows you to use the collapsible styles, which are pretty cool to have.
Testing it out
I needed the Navbox for a group of articles that are related, so I had a few ideas of what I was going to make already. Make sure to read the usage documentation once through, it all makes sense. Also, I always preview my templates a lot before saving them, so you can see what they will look like.
To start, you will probably want to create a new template, and include the Navbox in it. There are plenty of examples on Wikipedia, so check them out.
Also, if you have an account on Wikipedia, you can watch the templates and interface pages, in case they are updated! I think that is pretty awesome. ^_^