Upgrade to MediaWiki 1.23

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In the coming days, we will be upgrading the software that powers MozillaWiki. This upgrade includes several significant changes to the software behind MozillaWiki, as well as extremely obvious changes to the wiki's appearance. Some of these changes may affect your user preferences.

This page will be updated as the changes are determined and deployed.

MediaWiki changes

  • Support for skins other than Vector (the current default skin) and MonoBook (a former default skin) has been dropped.
  • New diff view improves accessibility for colorblind users.
  • The info page action, which provides useful statistics for any given page, has been improved and turned on by default.
  • Watchlist e-mail notifications now clearly state which action was performed on watched pages.
  • Major improvements have been made to the patrolling system, which helps combat spam and vandalism.

Special pages

Magic words

  • New magic word {{PAGEID}} (226796) provides a unique, unchanging ID for the current page.
  • New magic word {{ROOTPAGENAME}} (News) provides the name of the topmost page (without the namespace) for a subpage.
  • New magic word {{REVISIONSIZE}} (6314) provides the size of the current page revision.

MozillaWiki changes

  • The default skin for new and anonymous users has changed from GMO to Vector. Custom styling has been applied to give Vector a more Mozilla-y feel. Note that any pages relying on custom styling applied to the GMO skin need to be updated.
  • Users are no longer given the option to use a skin other than Vector or MonoBook. However, users who have already selected such skins (such as Cavendish, GMO, or Modern) will be permitted to continue to use them for a limited time. Note that the MozillaWiki team will no longer maintain any of these unsupported skins, so any remaining bugs will not be fixed.
  • The Main Page has been redesigned to emphasize information that visitors are likely to be looking for. (The old Main Page is still available at Main Page/Legacy.)
  • The sidebar has been improved immensely to include links to important and widely-used pages.
  • The MozillaWiki namespace has been cleaned of cruft and claimed for meta pages about MozillaWiki and the MozillaWiki team. See MozillaWiki:About and MozillaWiki:Team for more information.


Date Action Bug
2014-08-07 Announce upcoming changes N/A
2014-08-10 Redesign Main Page N/A
2014-08-13 Hide all legacy skins except GMO bug 1053113
2014-08-20 Change default skin from GMO to Vector bug 1055857
2014-09-04 Hide GMO skin bug 1055895
2014-09-04 Remove user-specified preferences for all unsupported skins bug 1062656
2014-09-04 Upgrade to MediaWiki 1.23 bug 1032351
TBD Remove legacy skins from server TBD


Why has the appearance of MozillaWiki changed?

For much of the life of MozillaWiki, it has been using a custom skin by default. (A skin is what controls the appearance of the wiki; you might know it better as a theme.) Early on, it was using Cavendish, which closely matched the appearance of the Mozilla.org website at the time. Later, the wiki received an updated look with GMO. But GMO was abandoned before it was fully completed, leaving many glaring bugs unfixed. Many users chose to remain on Cavendish due to these shortcomings.

In addition to any problems in the appearance of the two custom skins, the code that powers them suffers from incompatibilities with newer MediaWiki software, which makes it difficult to upgrade the wiki when the time comes. In order to prevent this problem in the future, we have made the decision to drop support for the previous custom skins and instead build on top of an existing stock skin using the in-wiki capabilities provided by the MediaWiki software.

Why was Vector chosen as the default skin?

The default skin is the one that gets the most attention from MediaWiki developers and the one that users are most likely to be familiar with, due to its extensive use on Wikimedia wikis such as Wikipedia. In addition, it is the skin most likely to be maintained and supported by MediaWiki going forward. Since Vector is the current default skin in MediaWiki, the decision was made to build the MozillaWiki appearance around that.

What happened to my preferred skin?

Alongside the two custom skins, MediaWiki originally came with a number of stock skins. Since MozillaWiki has existed since very early on in the lifecycle of MediaWiki, a number of really old skins continued to stick around. In the time between the version of MediaWiki we're running now (1.19) and the version we intend to upgrade to (1.23), MediaWiki has dropped support for all but the current default skin (Vector) and the default skin immediately prior (MonoBook).

We consider all MozillaWiki skins besides these two to be legacy skins which are obsolete. For this reason, as well as other reasons mentioned above, we have decided to remove all such skins from MozillaWiki and transition users of these skins back to the default skin. We apologize for any inconvenience the transition may cause users, but this will make it easier to maintain the appearance of the wiki going forward.