Wiki software (also known as a wiki engine or wiki application) is a collaborative software that runs
a wiki, which allows users to create and collaboratively edit "pages" or entries via a web browser. A wiki system is usually a
web application that runs on one or more web servers. The content, including all current and previous revisions, is usually
stored in either a file system or a database. Wikis are a type of web content management system, and the most commonly
supported off-the-shelf software that web hosting facilities offer. There are currently dozens of actively maintained wiki
engines, in a variety of programming languages, including both open source and proprietary applications. These vary widely in
their platform support, their support for natural language characters and conventions, and in their assumptions about technical
versus social control of editing.
MediaWiki is a free and open-source wiki software. Originally developed by Magnus Manske and improved by Lee
Daniel Crocker, it runs on many websites, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikimedia Commons. It is written
in the PHP programming language and stores the contents into a database. Like WordPress, which is based on a similar
licensing and architecture, it has become the dominant software in its category.
The first version of the software was deployed to serve the needs of the Wikipedia encyclopedia in 2002.
Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects continue to define a large part of the requirement set for
MediaWiki. The software is optimized to efficiently handle large projects, which can have terabytes of content
and hundreds of thousands of hits per second.
Because Wikipedia is one of the world's largest websites, achieving scalability through multiple layers of
caching and database replication has been a major concern for developers. The software has more than 900
configuration settings and more than 2,000 extensions available for enabling various features to be added or
changed. On Wikipedia alone, more than 1000 automated and semi-automated bots and other tools have been
developed to assist in editing. It has also been deployed by some companies as an internal knowledge management
system, and some educators have assigned students to use MediaWiki for collaborative group projects.
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