FCKEditor: WYSIWYG editor for MediaWiki

IMPORTANT: As of April 2008, this page is OUTDATED. FCKeditor is now a regular extension for MediaWiki and there is no need for using a patch. For more details see this post.

Update: Please take a look at this page for the list of all versions of the patch (including the newest!).

Please, read the comments and other related pages before you decide to use this extension! In brief, it is not stable yet!

If you don’t want to read the whole article, download and install MediaWiki 1.10.1, download the patch which I prepared, copy it into your installed directory and add into your LocalSettings.php the line ‘require_once(“extensions/FCKeditor/FCKeditor.php”);’. You may see the full procedure on FCKeditor site dedicated to MediaWiki. Note that you still shouldn’t use it for public wikis (while it is working just fine on my local wiki).

A month or two ago I was positively surprised with Wikia‘s new look. However, it was just CSS and small PHP changes, possibly all of them using some extensions. But it was good to see that MediaWiki may look completely different.

Then I realized one more thing. They have WYSIWYG editor! Last time I was reading something about that issue, it was written something like “it is still too complex to parse wiki syntax”.

So, I tried to investigate the case 🙂

This was the time when I started to fill my SourceForge project with my older (but sometimes useful) software. While SourceForge has a number of disadvantages and I would, for sure, prefer Savannah because of ethical reasons, one thing is very true: SourceForge makes life much easier to developers.

I was amazed when I saw that they are giving now a wiki, too. And their wikis have WYSIWYG editor. As far as I was able to understand, their wikis are hosted by Wikispaces. So, I went there to see what is that wiki engine.

Wow, they developed blog-like (but not bliki!) providing. And it is a very good concept.

So, what is their wiki engine? Hm… Didn’t find… OK, I know for a good place to find it. Of course, it is Wikipedia. There is very useful comparison of wiki farms. Wikispaces, Wikispaces…

Wiki engine: custom. ARGHHH!

Even this is completely legal according to the free software licenses, in the age of moving software toward server-client model it is hardly to say fair. BTW, because of such issues I like Reciprocal Public License. At least, FSF should find some way to deal with such issues. If GPL 4.0 woudn’t think about such cases, we will have again world full of proprietary software which excuse is perfectly legal. Something like “if you make non-trivial changes and changes to your [GPL’d] software and your changed software is publicly used, you have to make your changes available”. (Because of that I like, for example, WordPress. While WordPress is making money on their blog service, they are giving back their software to the community — even WordPress MU is available.)

Then I went to MediaWiki site. The only relevant page which I was able to see was this page (I think that the version is right): there are some concepts, a lot of thoughts, but nothing which may be used (at least on my local wiki which I am using as my office suite).

At this moment I started to think a lot of bad things about Jimmy Wales: “So, you went to the close source! I can’t believe! What were you talking about even last months! …”

So, I went to #wikia channel on irc.freenode.net to see what is going on. Someone of Wikia’s admins told me that it is just an extension. Huh? OK. At least it is good that I was wrong about Jimmy. And because of that I was confused enough and didn’t ask what is that extension.

And I forgot all of this because I was thinking that WYSIWYG editor for MediaWiki is not stable yet.

Yesterday I was looking for wiki related resources for Wiki World. This search has a goal to find relevant enough pages which would be linked from the Wiki World site.

And I came to the page Comparison of wiki software. Inside of the (present) section “Features 2” it is stated that there was some experimental editor for 1.5.3 MediaWiki, but FCKEditor, too. (Maybe I saw the last time the same information, but it was a little bit confusing: Is FCKEditor also for MW 1.5.3?)

I went there and it is almost possible to say that the rest is history. I am just a little bit surprised about the fact that no one speaks loudly about the fact that MediaWiki has working WYSIWYG editor! Maybe still in the beta phase, but it is completely useful for small wikis.

The problem is that it is not possible to download the patch and install it, but it is necessary to try a couple of times with different methods. MediaWiki extension page is outdated. Even on the mediawiki.fckeditor.net site they state that their repository contains MediaWiki 1.10.1 + extension + patch,but patch doesn’t exist and after installation you are not able to edit your MediaWiki pages. The only valid manual is the FCKeditor integration guide.

So, I made a full patch.

  • Check how the editor looks like on mediawiki.fckeditor.net’s Sandox.
  • Don’t install the extension on the public wikis yet! (However, Wikia, as well as my local wiki, are working just fine.)
  • Download and install MediaWiki 1.10.1 or update your MediaWiki to this version.
  • Download patch which I prepared and unpack it inside of your installation directory.
  • Add line ‘require_once(“extensions/FCKeditor/FCKeditor.php”);’ into your LocalSettings.php.
  • Enjoy 🙂
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~ by millosh on August 29, 2007.

19 Responses to “FCKEditor: WYSIWYG editor for MediaWiki”

  1. Wikia doesn’t have WYSIWYG editing yet, except on new pages where there’s no need to parse. And AFAIK they are using WikiWyg, not FCKEditor.

    (Still, their editing (along with the rest of the user interface) is miles ahead of Wikipedia. Sad to see, especially since Wikipedia is in much greater need of an intuitive, easy to use interface than the Wikia wikis whose target audience is usually internet literate.)

  2. Thanks for the correction about WYSIWIG editor on Wikia.

    FCKeditor is working so good even now and I believe that it will be stable enough in the next couple of months — to be used on Wikipedia. So, it is a great step forward.

  3. Wikia committed the current version of their Wikiwyg extension during Wikimania — see http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Wikiwyg

  4. Hmm… I am almost sure that I tested Wikia’s WYSIWYG editor before Wikimania. Maybe not current version? Am I right or not?

  5. We had a discussion about the FCKeditor for mediawiki while at WikiMania … we’re going to explore this with them because we understand they’re in Poland… which is where some of our developers are.

    As someone above posted, our current wysiwyg editor was submitted back to the MediaWiki svn… it’s based on one from SocialText. Wysiwyg editing of existing wikitext is non-trivial … we’re making progress but I think the FCKeditor version is very interesting.

  6. That’s fantastic, and I’ll be installing this on the work wiki!

    What it needs: a way to switch back to editing the wikitext.

  7. Button at the left “Wikitext” and you switched to the wiki text.

  8. John, it is good to see that Wikia is working actively on WYSIWYG editor for MediaWiki which would be able to implement to Wikipedia and other Wikimedian projects, too (and to other MediaWiki based sites, too).

  9. […] wiki synchronization (with WYSIWYG editor, of course) will be a great advantage for ordinary user, it is just the tip of the […]

  10. I can’t get it to work. 😦

  11. Assuming that you are using some GNU/Linux or Cygwin, you should do:

    $ wget http://download.wikimedia.org/mediawiki/1.10/mediawiki-1.10.1.tar.gz
    $ wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/millosh/mediawiki-1.10.1-FCKeditor_extension-20070828.tar.bz2?use_mirror=osdn
    $ tar zxf mediawiki-1.10.1.tar.gz
    $ tar mediawiki-1.10.1-FCKeditor_extension-20070828.tar.bz2
    $ cp -a mediawiki-1.10.1-FCKeditor_extension-20070820/* mediawiki-1.10.1/
    $ mv mediawiki-1.10.1/ /as/your/webserver_or_vhost/document/root/

    Then you should edi your LocalSettings.php and add before the (last) “?>” in the file: require_once(”extensions/FCKeditor/FCKeditor.php”);

    If it is not working (and you did everything described), please, tell me what is wrong (i.e. what type of error do you have). At least, I would be able to tell you where to find help (if I am not able to give you some useful advice).

  12. […] General Public License addresses problem about which I was thinking for a long time. I even mentioned that problem without the knowledge that license for such purpose […]

  13. Millosh – THANK YOU SO MUCH! It’s taken me a whole day and three installations… but finally, MediaWiki complete with WYSIWYG toolbar. Yay!

  14. worked perfectly. followed your instructions exactly and had no problems installing and using on 1.11

  15. Thanks for comments! Good to know that it is working 🙂 I’ll check FCKeditor site soon and update versions if they still don’t provide a full patch.

  16. Hello,
    I insאalled your patch and it all work perfect.
    I have several of questions:
    1. If i want to add buttons to fck editor which files i exactly should i change?
    Because of the need to change the files also in the fck editor and also in the parser to wiki text,
    i didn’t understand exactly how to make it. I will be grateful if you could help me.
    2. I want to ask you if know the situation that when you switch from fck editor to wiki text and opposite several of times, the content is gone.
    I will appreciate if you will give me your email address or contact me to shoham.gilad@gmail.com.

    Regards,
    Gilad.

  17. Shoham, I’ll send to you an email. For others: please, note that I am not a part of FCKeditor team, I am just packing the patch. You should use links to their sites for asking questions about FCKeditor features.

  18. Thanks for making this easy to use patch, I have had the hardest time getting MediaWiki to work with FCKEditor. Everything seems to work except the Image/Link buttons. Both of them come up with empty dialogs. The best I was able to do with my own efforts with FCKEditor and MediaWiki was to get the Image/Link dialogs to display without Browse buttons.

  19. FCKeditor is now a pure extension, no patches required.
    The latest version can be downloaded here: http://mediawiki.fckeditor.net/.
    Compatible with 1.10+ (up to 1.12 currently).
    A couple of important bugs has been fixed recently so I strongly encourage you to download the latest release 🙂

    Have fun using FCKeditor!

    BTW. If you find some free time and will be willing to improve the extension, feel free to join the project 😉

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