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Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to set up MediaWiki with MathJax on Xampp

There are two mainstream PHP/MySql servers available: XAMPP and WAMP, a third option which I have worked with quite a lot is The Uniform Server. Before you decide on any software package, always check the user forums and how easy / difficult it is to get help when you have run into trouble. Where XAMPP runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris, WAMP and Uniform Server are typical Windows solutions.

This time I selected XAMPP and I used the following checklist to install it How-To: MediaWiki on XAMPP, although you can also use this detailed installation guide.

As a last step you have to add MathJax to MediaWiki. You should do this in two steps. First install MathJax and test if it works in your environment by simpling trying to render some of the pages that come with distribution.

Finally, you have to install the MathJax extension for MediaWiki. This step consists of creating and saving a php file and modifying a settings file. Now MathJax should work in MediaWiki. It did in my case as you can see below.

At this stage you can edit your wiki just on your own computer. In a later stage, you might think of sharing your work with other internet users. You can do this by by exporting your mediawiki database and import it to a hosted mediawiki solution. If you like administrating computers and databases you can build MediaWiki again on some host computer, which are usually equipped with Linux. A step in between is that you give internet users access to your site via Opera Unite WebProxy. I am considering this option myself.

Setting up is something you have to do only once. The administration of a wiki site is minimal, i.e. you have to maintain a backup cycle and be prepared to restore a database.

Most of the work in the creation of a Wiki has to do with adding and maintaining content. To use as much experiences of people who did it before you, reading a book on the subject might help. I have read MediaWiki Administrators Tutorial Guide by Mizanur Rahman, and the Missing Manual:

You will see that there are various other books once you start browsing Amazon.

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(Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, colloquially aka Raumpatrouille Orion was the first German science fiction television series. Its seven episodes were broadcast by ARD beginning September 17, 1966. The series has since acquired cult status in Germany. Broadcast six years before Star Trek first aired in West Germany (in 1972), it became a huge success.)