New updates to the Theme extension

We’re proud to bring you a very cool new feature: themes! To be specific, per-user themes — that’s right, you can now set a theme that applies only to your user account!

Wait what? Themes?

A theme is a set of predefined colors and other such styles for a skin. In essence, a theme can be as simple as one CSS file.

Skins on the other hand always have some PHP code and whatnot, in addition to CSS/LESS and/or images and/or JavaScript code.

This distinction is important in the MediaWiki world. Other projects written in the PHP programming language, such as phpBB or WordPress, use terms like “templates”, “themes” and “skins” interchangeably to refer to various ways to change the look & feel of a website, but those words are not interchangeable in the MediaWiki world!

This seems awfully familiar…

Themes have been around on ShoutWiki for a long time — since Q2 2009 to be precise. However, before you were only able to select a theme when creating a new wiki, and there was no way to select your personal favorite theme (e.g. Pink MonoBook or Dark Vector). This has been fixed now and you can easily set your personal theme by going into Special:Preferences to set it for the current wiki.

What themes are available?

Not all skins support themes, and not all themes are available for all skins. Currently the following skins support themes:

  • Bouquet
  • Dusk
  • Gamepress
  • Monaco
  • MonoBook
  • Vector

The following themes are available for those skins, broken down per skin:

What’s the benefit?

Adding a new skin to ShoutWiki takes time, as often there’s a lot of code to review and to ensure that the new skin does not have any security issues. Themes can be added easily since themes are just CSS/LESS files added on top of a skin which has already passed code review.

Do you have an idea for a good theme? Let us know by emailing us at or if you’re a developer, feel free to submit a patch (see below for more info on where to obtain the source code, etc.)!

Who wrote this?

The Theme extension was originally written by Skizzerz; the theme CSS files and images are by various different authors. This update to the extension was written by Jack Phoenix with lots of helpful input and testing by SamanthaNguyen. We would also like to thank Wikimedia Foundation’s MediaWiki core developers for their help with this update.

I want to see the source code!

Like many other extensions written by ShoutWiki, the Theme extension is also free and open source (in fact, the PHP parts have been released to the public domain by their authors; the license for CSS and images varies). Head over to the extension’s information page on to find out more, including where you can grab a copy of the source code of the Theme extension.

I’ve found a bug, an error or some other oddity which shouldn’t be there. What do I do?

Please let us know by reporting this error on Phabricator, our bug tracking platform. To do that, log in to Phabricator with your ShoutWiki account by choosing “Login or Register — MediaWiki” on the login page.

If you don’t have a ShoutWiki account yet, create one now! It’s fast, easy and free!


MediaWiki 1.27.0 – Coming Soon!

The team’s activity last week was dominated by technical tasks. In particular, the main focus of the team was preparing for the MediaWiki 1.27.0 upgrade which will be happening soon.

While we’re not in a position to announce the date of the upgrade just yet, the technical team have been working continuously over the week to prepare it. A number of functions have been removed or replaced in this release which affects a larger chunk of our code than normal. In particular, skins and anti-spam tools which need to be updated before we can deploy 1.27.0 on all wikis.

We also pushed the last set of code to production from the 1.26 release which included a number of bugfixes for Aurora, JavaScript loading for a number of skins and i18n updates to point to our new bug tracking tool which we announced recently.

The customer support team continued their tireless work to respond to any queries and help as many users as possible, and our interns are continuing to make great progress on some interesting new project.

You can follow the progress of our upgrade work on Phabricator – Task 90.