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"Crear uno, dos, tres... mil Wikipedias" Comandante Ernesto Wales

Object of this HowTo

This HowTo explains how to update the data files in the wikipedia activities or how to create new activities with other languages or different selections of articles.

The procedure is not very difficult if you already have a Sugar environment setup. If you have doubts or the information provided is not adequate, please contact me at gonzalo at laptop dot org or in the sugar-devel mailing list and I will try to help and improve this page.

If you want to create a wikipedia activity in your language, and do not have the technical resources, but can help translating a few files and doing quality control, contact me and I will help you to create the activity.

How to Create a new wikipedia activity or update an existing activity

This page describes how to generate the data files needed to create a wikipedia activity like Wikipedia es or Wikipedia en.

The general idea is to download an XML dump-file (backup) containing the current Wikipedia pages for a given language, then process the dump and select certain pages and compress them into a self-contained Sugar activity. Whether or not to include the images from the wiki articles will have a large impact on the size of the activity.

Generating a Wikipedia activity requires a computer with a lot of available disk space, ideally lots of RAM and a working Sugar environment. It is probably best to use packages provided by your favorite Linux distribution or in a virtual machine. The wikipedia xml file is very large (almost 6 GB for the Spanish wikipedia, and it is even bigger in English), and you will need lots of space to generate temporary files. The process does take a lot of time, but it is mostly automated, although you will need to confirm success at each stage of the process before moving on to the next one.

Download the wikipedia base activity

You will need to download the wikipedia base from This package includes the activity and the tools to create the data files.

You need to unzip it in your Activities directory, or install it, if you do not have another wikipedia activity already installed.

The git repository is here .

Download a Wikipedia dump file

Wikipedia provides daily (or nearly daily) XML dump files for each language.

This test was done with the spanish dump. The file used was eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml.bz2 from

You need to create a directory inside the previously created activity directory, and download the wikipedia dump file there.

The first two letters from your directory must be the language code, next a '_', and later any string. For example: es_es, en_us or en_history.

mkdir es_lat
cd es_lat
bzip2 -d eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml.bz2

Process the dump file

You need to edit the file tools2/, and modify the variable input_xml_file_name. If you are creating a wikipedia in a different language than spanish, modify the values of the other variables.

After saving the, you can process the dump file:


The process will generate files with the same prefix than the uncompressed xml file. This first process will create the following files:


If you want to have more information, you can use the option "--debug" to create the files prefix.all_pages, prefix.blacklisted and prefix.titles and help you to research about the process.

With the spanish file and a bit more than 2.3M pages, this process takes aprox 1:30 hours in my system.

Make a selection of pages

To create a selection of pages to be included in the wikipedia activity, you need create two files: favorites.txt and blacklist.txt The two files are a list of titles of pages.

The criteria used to select the pages is: all the pages in favorites.txt will be included and all the pages linked from this pages too, except the pages in the file blacklist.txt.

Our wikipedia activity has a static index page (static/index_lang.html) and you can create your own index page. I have created my favorites.txt with all the pages linked from the index page (in the case of spanish 130 pages) and 300 pages more selected from a statistic of most searched pages in wikipedia (

There is not a linear relation between the number of favorite pages and the final number of pages selected, but as reference, you can use this numbers:

           Favorites           Total selected pages
               130                     15788
               431                     45105
               544                     63347

The files favorites.txt and blacklist.txt should be in the same directory than the .xml file

To create the selection do:


After you have created the selection, you can look at the list of pages in the file pages_selected-level-1 and modify your favorites.txt and/or blacklist.txt files and rerun the process if you want to modify the selection.

The case of wikipedias with few articles

If the wikipedia in the selected language have less than 40000 articles, is possible include all the articles in the activity, then is not needed create the favorites.txt file. You can do the selection of all the articles doing:

../tools2/ --all

Create the index


This process is faster and when finished you can do a basic test:

../tools2/ page_title

and this will show you the content in wiki format of the selected page. At this stage, the process will be slow, because it needs to search for every template and do all the templates substitutions. To have faster results we will apply templates substitutions in all the pages.

Optimize the data and download images

To expand the templates you need go out of the data directory:

cd ..
./tools2/ es_lat

When finish, you need go back to the data directory:

cd es_lat

And move your new file with the templates replaced and recreate the index:

mv eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml.processed_expanded eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml.processed
../tools2/ --delete_old

The option --delete_old is used to remove the old index

If you want to include images in your wikipedia activity, you can go again to your data directory and do:

cd es_lat

This command will download the images included in the pages in favorites.txt. If you want to include the images in all the pages, you should do:

../tools2/ --all

An option --cache_dir=directory is available if you have images already downloaded in another directory to acelerate the process.

Modify your activity to use the data files

To create a wikipedia in a new language, you will need create the following files:

  • activity/ is the file for your language. You can copy

one from other language, and modify the name, the bundle_id, the icon and the exec line.

  • activity/activity-wikipedia-lang.svg: is the activity icon. The file can be copied from

another language, and modify with a text editor the last text element, to put the labugage code. If you need edit the image with a graphic editor (like Inkscape) remember add the entities lines in the header and replace the entities for stroke_color and fill_color, after that.

  • DEPRECATED, SEE BELOW: is the startup class, sets the configuration values and starts the server.

You can copy the class from another language and set the parameters. You need set the name of the class, equal than the value in the exec value in the activity/ file.

  • static/about_lang.html: Is a static about page. Translate it from a similar page from other language.
  • static/index_lang.html: is the activity home page. Will have links to good pages to start to explore.

If you create your favorite list based in a translation of the home page from other language, would be a good idea translate the home page too.

DEPRECATED, SEE BELOW: Now, you can test your changes, starting the wikipedia server:

./ es_lat/eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml 8000

The first parameter is your xml data file and the second parameter a number of port.

In any web browser in the same computer you can look to a page, to check if is working:

In this example, we look at the page "Energía" pointing to http://localhost:8000/wiki/Energía

Wikipedia test.png

Finally, to create the new .xo file and distribute it, you must do:

./ es_lat/eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml

Now, in the directory dist, a new .xo file will be created and you can distribute it.

Notes on updates in the process

After version 38, with the intention of make more standard the process to allow package the activity in distributions, we added a standard To use it, is needed add the wikipedia initialization parameters to the file, as is displayed in the file

path = en_simple/simplewiki-20130724-pages-articles.xml
port = 8011
home_page = /static/index_en_simple.html
templateprefix = Template:
wpheader = From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
wpfooter = Content available under the 
 <a href="/static/es-gfdl.html">GNU Free Documentation License</a>.
Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
<a href="/static/about_en.html"> About Wikipedia</a> resultstitle = Search results for '%s'.

Another change important is that now is not needed create a activity_<lang>.py file, because the activity starts and read the config from the file, the "exec" line need be:

exec = sugar-activity activity.WikipediaActivity

Then to create the .xo you can do:

./ dist_xo es_lat/eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml

or to create the sources tar.bz2 file:

./ dist_source es_lat/eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml

With this new version, testing the wiki can be done on the command line doing:

./ es_lat/eswiki-20111112-pages-articles.xml 8000

The two parameters are optional, if are not provided, the parameters in file will be used.

Other changes needed

Image identifiers

If after finish the process of the files, the images are not displayed in the pages, check if the image identifier is included in the set imageKeywords in the file mwlib/ For example, in the Quechua wikipedia, the image identifier is "rikcha" and we needed add it because was not included.

More tools

Big image files

There are cases where a small group of images are very big, if you want remove them to have a smaller activity, can do:

mkdir big-images
find images -size +100k -exec mv {} big-images \;

(in this example, moving images with more than 100k to another directory)

Old information