Proposed upgrade of IFWiki’s MediaWiki software in 2021-22

I didn’t want to derail Updating IFWiki, which is about IFWiki’s content. So here’s a separate topic about its software.

@DavidC suggested I add a page to the wiki about my suggestion that the software behind the site be upgraded, so here it is: IFWiki:Proposed upgrade of MediaWiki software in 2021-22.

It would make sense to discuss it on the wiki, but I’ll copy and paste it below in case it’s easier to reply here :slight_smile:

I propose that our MediaWiki software (the software which powers IFWiki) be upgraded. Here are my reasons:

  1. It’s currently on version 1.25, which was released on 25 May 2015 and is no longer maintained .
  2. There have been so many security fixes since that version that I abandoned my initial plan of listing them here. Here are links though: 1.26, 1.27, 1.28, 1.29, 1.30, 1.31, 1.32, 1.33, 1.34, 1.35.
  3. As always, the database and file structure would be backed up before the upgrade starts.
  4. The MediaWiki upgrade process is really robust . You could upgrade from MW 1.5 (released October 2005 ) to 1.35 in one step, so 1.25 to 1.35 would be no problem.
  5. Upgrading core MediaWiki should cause no knock-on problems :
    1. IFWiki only uses a few extensions: these are Replace Text, UserMerge, ParserFunctions, ConfirmEdit and SpamBlacklist. All of these are officially bundled with MediaWiki so compatible versions would be included with the new MW version.
    2. IFWiki uses the default skin (theme) so, again, an upgrade would not affect this.
    3. All dependencies are included in the MediaWiki tarball.
    4. All IFWiki page content is in the database, and all file uploads are in one “images” folder. An upgrade just affects the MediaWiki files but the old database and images folder are retained.
  6. Being on a later version would allow the use of more extensions . Often extensions don’t support ancient versions. One that springs to mind is Page Forms, a well-established, stable extension, that gives the option of editing certain pages with data-entry forms.
  7. MW 1.35 bundles VisualEditor, the WYSIWYG editor that Wikipedia now uses. I’m used to wikitext so don’t use it (it is optional) but it is more welcoming for many people.

It could be upgraded to 1.35 which is the long-term support version (released 25 September 2020, end of life September 2023). We probably wouldn’t need to upgrade to the current stable version (released 18 November 2021, end of life November 2022), although that should be fine too.


I would add IFWiki to the thread title. Thanks.

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Who has the security right to do this upgrade? Who would need to be convinced?

All of the past upgrades I’m aware of have been done by baf (Carl).

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Maybe it’s time we convince Carl to let the IFTF take it over and get the upgrade done all in one swell foop.

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The recategorisation of some pages hasn’t worked as expected: see Community_portal#Job_queue_problem. I don’t mention that as an extra “reason to upgrade” – though an upgrade might somehow fix it, given the mysterious ways in which computers work – but it’s indirectly linked because it’s a problem that currently only Carl could investigate fully, and I imagine he’d rather someone else do it.