WBStack setting changes, Federated properties, Wikidata entity mapping & more

May 3, 2021 4 By addshore
This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series WBStack

During the first 3 months of 2021, some Wikimedia Deutschland engineers, from the Wikidata / Wikibase team, spent some time working on WBStack as part of an effort to explore the WBaaS (Wikibase as a service) topic during the year, as outlined by the development plan.

We want to make it easier for non-Wikimedia projects to set up Wikibase for the first time and to evaluate the viability of Wikibase as a Service.

Wikibase 2021 Development plan

This has lead to a few new Wikibase features being exposed through the WBStack dashboard for sites that run on the platform. These features are primarily features developed by the Wikibase team in 2020 and 2021. The work also brought some other quality of life improvements for the settings pages.

Here is a quick rundown of what’s new and improved.

Mapping entities to Wikidata

The Wikibase team developed an extension called WikibaseManifest in 2020. This extension is now loaded onto all WBStack sites.

The WikibaseManifest extension provides an API endpoint that allows for automated configuration discovery of the Wikibase it is installed on; the endpoint returns automatically discovered configuration information from the local Wikibase for use by external tools.

WikibaseManifest Documentation page

You can find the endpoint of my alpha test site here (rest.php/wikibase-manifest/v0/manifest).

One of the manifest features allows mapping of entities on a local wikibase to wikidata entities. These mappings can then be used by tools that want to be generically written for Wikibase rather than hardcoded for Wikidata.

The example above maps P31 (instance of) on Wikidata to a local P15, and P1630 (formatter URL) to a local P13 on the Wikibase site. The formatter URL local Wikibase property is then used for the Wikibase formatterUrlProperty setting, allowing formatting of property value to result in links for example.

Federated Properties

The Wikbase team also developed worked on initial steps toward property federation in 2020, and this functionality is now available on WBStack (though the setting comes with a warning).

This initial property federated step allows use of properties from Wikidata directly on your Wikibase site, currently at the cost of having your own properties.

A next iteration of this functionality is on the Wikibase roadmap for 2021.

Current settings revealed

In the first version of the WBStack dashboard various MediaWiki and Wikibase settings were exposed, but their current values didn’t make their way to the UI for users to see.

Now actual values are displayed in the setting panels, so you can see the existing skin, or current logo, without needing to guess what the existing value is.


WikibaseLexeme has been available on WBStack for some time, but only enabled if specifically requested by email or message.

As various setting related changes were made it also made sense to add Lexeme as a UI option.

This setting also comes with a warning if you try to turn it off as disabling when you already have lexeme data can lead to errors

But don’t worry, there is a UI to make sure you don’t unintentionally make these changes!

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