About a 6 weeks ago, I uploaded a great piece of software into Debian. The package is libwww-mediawiki-client-perl but you can also get it by installing the package mvs. The software seems to be a couple years old — but it’s new to me and I’m been thrilled with it so I thought I would share.

The package is a library but its usefulness to me centers around a cute little command-line wrapper to the library called mvs. mvs essentially provides a simple CVS-like interface to an instance of Mediawiki that facilitates offline editing of Mediawiki pages and much more.

Here’s a quick little walk-through that I wrote for the README.Debian file that might give someone a pretty good description of how the software works:

Step 1: make a directory to store pages from this Mediawiki instance:

 mkdir en-wp cd en-wp 

Step 2: log in to the host with your username/password:

 mvs login -d -l en -u 'Benjamin Mako Hill' -p password 

Step 3: download a page that you want to edit by adding ".wiki" to the end:

 mvs update 

Step 4: edit the file to make changes:


Step 5: preview your changes:

 mvs preview 

Step 6: commit your changes into the wiki:

 mvs commit --minor yes -m 'made spelling fix' 

And that’s all there is to it! It brings a whole series of things that were almost prohibitively difficult through the web interface into reach (e.g., diffing two different pages to see if they’ve diverged) and its changed the way that I interact with Wikipedia in some exciting ways.

Thanks to Mark Jaroski for writing and maintaining the software!

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