I installed a local version of MediaWiki on my laptop today. MediaWiki is the software platform on which the UBC Wiki runs and I wanted to go through this process for a couple of different reasons: First, I hope to be able to do some experimentation with the UBC Wiki without having to bother the development guys who keep it running and healthy. Second, I really want to get a better grasp of how MediaWiki works behind the scenes. Afterall, while knowing how to drive a car is often all the knowledge you need, having a basic understanding of how the engine works can be the difference between a good day and a really expensive one.
At any rate, installing MediaWiki was much easier than expected. MediaWiki is a web application and to get it to run on a laptop, you need to have a program that can act as a localized web server, such as MAMP. After installing MAMP, I downloaded the latest version of MediaWiki (the 1.16 beta that has the new and sleek vector skin). I saved the MediaWiki files in the MAMP htdocs folders and then I just followed the basic steps outlined here.
It was quick and painless process and already I’ve begun to get a better idea of how the UBC Wiki is configured and what sort of effort it would take to add additional extensions. As I gain a further understanding of how the engine behind the UBC Wiki works, I hope to gain a clearer picture of it’s potential and how to keep it better organized. And, just as my folks never wanted me to tinker under the hood of their car, its good to have my own copy on which I can learn.