Last modified on 27 November 2005, at 23:01

Help:External editors

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MediaWiki 1.5 required. Please also make sure you are using the latest version of the script if it is not working as expected.

The MediaWiki software allows you to edit any resource using any external tool. This is accomplished using a very simple system:

  1. When a resource is requested for being edited externally, MediaWiki sends out a control file that contains information about the resource; most importantly, its network location (URL) and the interface that is to be used for changing it.
  2. The user has to configure their browser so that the MIME type application/x-external-editor is associated with a special helper application.
  3. That helper application processes the control file, retrieves the resource, launches the favored application to edit it, and, if desired, saves the resource back to the server.

Examples of External Editor in use:

Helper applicationEdit

There is a reference implementation for the helper application called "" (available here, see README for usage and INSTALL for setup instructions). It is written in Perl and may be difficult to set up. However, it provides a complete set of features and a graphical user interface. Developers are welcome to write a more user friendly implementation, see Help:External editors/Tech for the specifications.

Note that the GUI makes it very easy to save the data back to the server, including an edit summary, or to cancel the edit. You can also make multiple edits on the server by using the "Save and continue" button.

Configuring ee.plEdit

For each wiki you want to use with, add an entry like this to ee.ini:

URL match=//

This is necessary so can log in -- it does not know your password otherwise! Note that if you are active on many wikis, such as multiple Wikipedia languages editions, and you use the same username and password, you can simply use something like "" or "" with this authentication information as the URL match pattern (or indeed ".org" if you only intend to access these sites). An example generic entry:


Bookmarklet for text editingEdit

You can invoke the external editor by using the following bookmarklet:

javascript:location=location + '?action=edit&externaledit=true';

Create a new bookmark/favorite in your browser and copy this into the field where you would normally write the URL of a webpage you want to visit. Visit the bookmark/favorite whenever you want to use the external editor. Note that this requires the external editor tool to be set up as described above!