base skin for MediaWiki, based on Bootstrap — layer your own style (fonts, graphics, color) on top
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Strapping, a friendly starter theme for MediaWiki

Strapping is an elegant, responsive, and friendly starter skin for MediaWiki. Its purpose is to provide a good base to build upon, and was primarily created to provide a great default for wiki-as-a-website — but it works well for standard wikis too.

Strapping is built on top of a modified Vector theme from MediaWiki and utilizes Bootstrap (currently Bootstrap 2; soon to be upgraded) for base layout, typography, and additional widgets.

Because Strapping uses Bootstrap with its responsive extension, any site using this skin works well on desktop browsers and scales down to display beautifully on hand-held devices like tablets and smartphones.

Strapping also has complete coverage for all of MediaWiki, including the user preferences and admin pages. All of MediaWiki's features are included, too.

Origin (and demo) of Strapping

Strapping was made from the need of reworking look attractive, have one place for everyone to edit content (instead of a mix of WordPress and MediaWiki), and have an easy-to-work with site so that anyone could either stick to MediaWiki marked up pages or do some more advanced layout (with columns, etc.) using Bootstrap.

You can see a (customized) instance of Strapping in action by visiting


  • Webserver with PHP (needed for MediaWiki)
  • MediaWiki 1.18.1 or higher (1.18.1 was the first release with jQuery 1.7+, needed for Bootstrap)

Get started

  1. Change to the "skins" subdirectory of your MediaWiki installation:

    cd skins
  2. Clone the repository:

    git clone strapping
  3. Add the following to LocalSettings.php:

    require_once( "$IP/skins/strapping/strapping.php" );
    $wgDefaultSkin = "strapping";

    (You may safely remove or comment out other mentions of $wgDefaultSkin.)

  4. Edit the wiki page MediaWiki:Sidebar with your web browser to change your navigation links.

  5. Customize the skin to make the site look how you'd want. (See "Customization", below.)

Optional configuration

Wiki-as-a-website (no edit links or toolbar)

Strapping was originally designed to be used in a wiki-as-a-website mode, where, to someone not signed in, it would be unable to notice that the site is powered by MediaWiki. (If someone is signed in and has access, then "edit" links and the toolbar appear.)

You can either leave full edit access available to anyone (even anonymous editors), which is the default for MediaWiki, or lock it down a bit.

To operate in this mode, add the following to LocalSettings.php:

$wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;


It's easy to make the theme look however desired, and there are several methods on achieving results.

Basic Bootstrap customization

Bootstrap has a customization page where you can change several aspects of the Bootstrap theme. Simply:

  1. Visit the Bootstrap customizer page
  2. change values
  3. click the giant button at the bottom of the page
  4. replace Strapping's bootstrap directory with the one in your ZIP file

Note: Since Bootstrap is based on the LESS CSS preprocessor, you can also achieve similar results from a command line.


Bootswatch is a project that provides drop-in Bootstrap CSS replacements.

Visit the site and grab a theme to start using it immediately.


This method can be used without any other customizations, or in addition to altering Bootstrap themes.

  1. In the screen.css file, uncomment the theme.css import.
  2. Add custom CSS to the theme.css file, including any colors and fonts you'd like to use.

Font sources

Custom fonts can be found on Google Web Fonts and you can make your own @font-face-ready fonts (if you have the permission to do so) with FontSquirrel's generator

Markup reference

While plain vanilla MediaWiki markup can be used, sites using Strapping can also utilize any of Bootstrap's CSS for more advanced layout and markup.


There are a few Strapping-specific CSS classes you can use.

FIXME: Elaborate on strapping-specific CSS classes here


Do NOT use tables for layout. Instead, use Bootstrap's scaffolding to do layout.

Bootstrap scaffolding is based on having rows that are formed with 12 possible columns. To span a column, you use a classname of span plus the number of columns you'd like to span, such as span2 to use up 2 columns. Everything should add up to 12 (or less, if there's going to be space on the right side).

Make sure to wrap the spans into rows for everything to work correctly.

It looks something like this:

  <div class="row">
    <div class="span6"></div>
    <div class="span6"></div>
  <div class="row">
    <div class="span6 offset2"></div>
    <div class="span3"></div>
    <div class="span1"></div>

For more information, please visit Bootstrap's documentation.


Please consult MediaWiki's formatting page for help with writing wiki text.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to use some more advanced formatting, you can attach any Bootstrap classes to divs.

Licensing, Copying, Usage

Strapping is open source, and built on open source projects.

Please check out the LICENSE file for details.