Wiki Slice


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The Wiki Slice project aims to create snapshots of wiki sites for use as offline reading material. A prototype example is at .


You can pull or clone from the code hosted at

git clone git://

or if you already have a git repo

git fetch git:// master:my_new_branch

Also see the README.txt file.


If you want to contribute files or patches, please send an email to library at with the subject heading 'Wikislice Contribution'. Please indicate what your are adding/patching, and one of the maintainers will review and push your code. Alternatively you can specify a public git repo to pull from. You can also chat with one of the maintainers on #olpc-content on irc at


Right now there is an existing perl implementation that I don't know too much about. You can have a look inside the old_perl_scripts directory. There is a new perl proof-of-concept/implementation in perl called by mncharity, and a new outline implementation in python. Both of these are outlined below.


Taking wikipedia as an example of a wiki that we would want to slice, the general workflow is as follows:

  1. Get a list of pages to be included in the slice. This can be done via a configuration file, or can be 'harvested' from a web-page.
  2. For each of the pages:
    1. grab the wikitext of the page using the action=raw cgi parameter passed to the wiki's index.php script
    2. remove unwanted templates. These are specified in a configuration file.
    3. get the wiki text from expanding the templates (wia the Special:ExpandTemplates page)
    4. for wiki-links that refer to pages also included in the slice, turn these into local anchor tag links
    5. for wiki-links that refer to pages not included in the slice - de-link them (possibly highlight them)
    6. generate html. There are several methods to do this:
      • create a sandbox entry and generate the page
      • create a page preview (does not always work)
      • use the preview generated by Special:ExpandTemplates
    7. save the html
    8. find <img> tags and:
      1. download the image
      2. make the url refer to the local image
    9. wrap the html inside olpc's html wrapper
    10. save the html

The implementation uses command-line options, local file caching, and pipelining to step through the workflow process. A typical usage is:

./op --process-article article_list_file en A 92413199

where the article_list_file contains a list of articles in (lang,page_name,oldid) tuples. The last three entries on this line is one of these tuples. oldid specifies the version of the page to be grabbed. A pipeline can be seen with

./op --stage1 article_list_file en Addition 92943836 |./op --wikitext-templates|./op --templates-curate en |sort -u > tmp.html


find en_raw_files -type f|./nl0|xargs -0 cat| ./op --wikitext-templates|sort -u

Essentially there are command-line options for each stage in the pipeline, with the stages

  • "working with templates, prior to template expansion"(stage1)
  • "template expansion"
  • "working with wikitext, which must follow template expansion"(stage2)
  • "rendering of wikitext as html"
  • "working with html"(stage3) is a single perl file.

The wiki_slice python implementation is a little different in spirit. Rather than have each step of the workflow implemented as a command line option, they are implemented as methods in a WikiPage object. The file defines three classes:

  • WikiPage - represents a single wiki page and has methods for performing the workflow above
  • WikiPageContainer - a container for a group of wiki pages - it tells the wikipages to run their workflow and tells them about blacklisted templates and what other pages are in their group
  • WikiSite - a container for information about the wiki site the pages are coming from. WikiPage's own a WikiSite object.

A sample driver script that uses these classes is in, with config information written in The driver looks something like:

    import wiki_page
    import wiki_slice_config
    #Setup the site and the page container
    site = wiki_page.WikiSite('')
    container = wiki_page.WikiPageContainer(wiki_slice_config.base_dir)
    for name in wiki_slice_config.template_blacklist:
    #create pages and add to the container
    page = wiki_page.WikiPage('A','en','92413199',site)
    pictogram_page = wiki_page.WikiPage('pictogram','en','146198358',site)
    #process the pages
    #output pages

The idea is for batch jobs to be run with scripts like these, while more trouble-shooting jobs can be done within the python interpreter. Caching is not implemented yet, although there are notes in on one way to make WikiPage objects cache their history. We could then cache WikiPage objects with pickle, or cache some dumped representation of them.


  • 2007-07 - A python-based infrastructure was begun. (wikisnap, and the spike, were perl).
  • 2007-07 - An experimental spike explored doing manipulation in wikitext, rather than just in html (as wikisnap did). Using the originating wikipedias to expand templates, and to render wikitext to html.
  • 2007-07 - For Trial-2, a smaller, ~20MB wikipedia snapshot was needed. A subset of the 2006 snapshot was made, based on User:Sj/wp-small.
  • 2007-07 - projects/wikislice created. wikisnap added.
  • 2006 - wikisnap was created, and used to generate a wikipedia snapshot based on User:Sj/wp.
  • 2006? - A 10 article x 6 language demo wikipedia snapshot was done.

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