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Category:MediaWiki extension
Extension name VisualEditor
About this article / disclaimer [[Has about meta information::The VisualEditor project aims to create a reliable rich-text editor for MediaWiki. [...] The extension relies on the separate nodeJS-based Parsoid parser service to be up and running in order to edit pages. Stable release is planned for 2014.]]
Logo VisualEditor-logo.svg.png
Screenshot MW1 24-visual-editor-test.png
Location of the main author Berlin
Coordinates of the main authors 52.517037, 13.38886
Mediawiki requirements 1.24 (or better). However, as of dec 2016, we recommend at least version 1.27. Also, installation and configuration procedures are different for older versions.
Dependencies node.js, parsoid
Related extensions (documented here)
Related extensions
Language support
Status beta
First release date
Last release date (as of 2015/04/20!)
Last version number 0.1.0 (as of April 2015). But there are several 0.1.0 subminor versions. E.g. on Dec 2016 it was (9da5996)
Programming language JavaScript, PHP
Alternatives none
Website home page
Support websites web site, web site
Example websites
Last edited 2015/04/20


The Mediawiki VisualEditor is a Wysiwyg editor for Mediawiki versions that came out in late 2014. The system is also deployed in most Wikipedia versions (however since it is still in Beta, only registered users can use it). Installation of this extension is more complex than usual and requires two components:

I managed to get this installed and working, both on a test server and in this wiki. Anyhow, VisualEditor does seem work on MediaWiki 1.24 and 1.25 and 1.27 but the installation is very tricky and the software combination needs to be right. VisualEditor also seems to handle most pages that include templates and semantic forms. I don't think that semantic tags will work, but since we always use semantic forms that is more or less ok. Though, I consider moving forms-based pages into a special name space. Will have to do some extra testing however - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 18:38, 26 June 2014 / Sept. 2015.

Notice: This extension sometimes breaks (depending on the combo of installed versions) - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 15:48, 19 September 2014 - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 12:37, 17 April 2015 (CEST). Therefore upgrade your wiki on a test server first, if you are keen to have this working all the time.

Installation notes for MW 1.27x under Ubuntu 16.x

It seems to be working for now - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) 20:01, 6 December 2016 (CET)


  • A node.js server and its npm package manager must be installed on your machine. To check if it exists, type nodjs --version
sudo apt-get install nodejs
sudo apt-get install npm
  • Curl must be installed, including the php library.
sudo apt-get install curl
sudo apt-get install php7.0-curl
sudo apt-get install php-curl
sudo apachectl restart

Installation of Parsoid

Parsoid is a service that will run under node.js server and that will do the backend of the editing process, i.e. parse MediaWiki and HTML.

If you have old developper versions installed it could be a good idea to remove these. My new install only started working after:

sudo apt-get --purge remove parsoid
rm -r /usr/lib/parsoid

My system admin skills are fairly low and I cannot explain why I had to remove every trace of an old parsoid...

Installing/upgrading parsoid

sudo apt-key advanced --keyserver --recv-keys 90E9F83F22250DD7
sudo apt-add-repository "deb jessie-mediawiki main"
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install parsoid

Configure parsoid

Edit file /etc/mediawiki/parsoid/config.yaml

For each wiki, add two lines likes this under mwApis:, one that defines the URL for the API and the other that gives a domain name (same as the one used in LocalSettings.php). Make sure the the API URL does work !

       - # This is the only required parameter,
         uri: ''
         domain: 'test'
       - # This is the only required parameter,
         uri: ''
         domain: 'your_wiki'

Restart parsoid:

sudo service parsoid restart

Installation of the extension

Normal users

(tested with MW 1.31, Sept. 2018)

Take the one from the official extensions directory and just extract the archive.

For example, do not use this, the URL will change


Advanced users

cd extensions
git clone
cd VisualEditor
git submodule update --init

Make sure to select the right version, 'master' probably will not work. Checkout the good version and update the submodule again

git checkout REL1_27
git submodule update --init

but, as we said above, for once it is a safer bet to get this extension from the distributor and not via git ....

In LocalSettings.php:

# Visual Editor

wfLoadExtension( 'VisualEditor' );

// Enable by default for everybody
$wgDefaultUserOptions['visualeditor-enable'] = 1;

// Optional: Set VisualEditor as the default for anonymous users
// otherwise they will have to switch to VE
// $wgDefaultUserOptions['visualeditor-editor'] = "visualeditor";

// Don't allow users to disable it
$wgHiddenPrefs[] = 'visualeditor-enable';

// OPTIONAL: Enable VisualEditor's experimental code features
#$wgDefaultUserOptions['visualeditor-enable-experimental'] = 1;

$wgVirtualRestConfig['modules']['parsoid'] = array(
	// URL to the Parsoid instance
	// Use port 8142 if you use the Ubuntu or Debian packages
	'url' => '', 
	// Parsoid "domain" -- ADAPT TO YOUR NEED, i.e. replace "your_wiki" by the same "domain" name you gave in the yaml.config file.
	'domain' => 'your_wiki'

Allow visual editing in more than default namespaces

Example (adapt to yours)

$wgVisualEditorAvailableNamespaces = [
                                      "0" => true,
                                      "2" => true,
                                      "102" => true,
                                      "104" => true,
                                      "106" => true,
                                      "_merge_strategy" => "array_plus"];

Tip: Look at the HTML source of Special:AllPages. The HTML options menu will list the numbers for your namespaces.


New installation is not working

It is really really crucial to get the URLs right in the various configuration files

1) Control if Apache is ok. On the command line, type:

 sudo apache2ctl -S

Depending on your installation you should get something like this (and not some random name that does not match your wiki URL !!)

VirtualHost configuration:* (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/mediawiki.conf:1)

Make very sure that in your Apache mediawiki.conf file you get the right name of your Internet alias, for example:

  	ServerAdmin ....@.....

2) Make sure that the Parsoid domain is correct and consistent.

3) Uninstall old code and configuration files and start fresh.

Parsoid did work and stopped working

This arrived on March 28, 2018, Ubuntu Server 16.04 / Mediawiki 1.27.4. According to a post on Mediawiki one should install an old version. Firstly make sure that this is the problem

apt-cache show parsoid

If it shows pool/main/p/parsoid/parsoid_0.9.0all_all.deb then you got version 9 and you could try downgrading. It's probably safer than trying to install a new visual editor that also can break everything, but I just do not know. Also make sure to copy the configuration files in case they go away.

apt-get purge parsoid
dpkg -i parsoid_0.8.0all_all.deb
apt-mark hold parsoid

Remember what you did here. apt-mark hold prevents installing a new package. Revert this after installing a new evething ...

 apt-mark unhold parsoid

https support

  • Requires getting and installing certificates...

Tips for old version

I had VisualEditor going for MW 1.25. After that it broke. You can browse through the wiki history if you are really interested in that ...