Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser

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This is the discussion page for the AWB project. It is also the place to discuss using the AWB program itself (if you need help, or have a question about AWB, etc.). Before asking questions, please read the Frequently asked questions below. Where to make specific types of reports or requests is explained in the Before you post section below...

Before you post[edit]

Do you want to ... Please use
Report a bug in AWB? Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser/Bugs
Report an incorrectly fixed typo? Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser/Typos
Request a feature for a future version of AWB? Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser/Feature requests
Request approval to use AWB? Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/AutoWikiBrowser
Ask a question about AWB or ask for help? This page

Frequently asked questions[edit]

  • When I start it up I get one of the following errors:
    "The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135). Click on OK to terminate the application.", or
    "To run this application, you must first install one of the following versions of the .NET Framework..."
    This error means your computer does not have the .NET framework version 2 installed properly. You can choose from various versions for download here, or you can run Windows Update and select version 2 of the .Net framework from the "Optional Updates" section, if you want the choice made for you.
  • Does AWB run on Linux or Mac?
  • Does AWB work on other projects/languages?
    Many Wikimedia projects and languages are supported, see the "User and project preferences" option in the general menu. Other languages will be added on request, though at the moment the interface is always in English. You are also able to use AWB with third-party wikis: Options > Preferences > Site, you can change the wiki there. The wiki must support the Bot API required by AWB. This means that it should have latest HEAD version of MediaWiki or something close to that. The wmf-deployment branch is also recommended, as this is what is currently live on WMF sites.
  • Under Windows 7 (and newer?), AWB is using wrong font size, which results in clipped text and lost buttons and options, (see example here). How to fix it?
    Solution #1: Go to "Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Display" and switch resizing of the fonts to 100%
    Solution #2: Right click on AutoWikiBrowser.exe --> Properties -> Compatibility (tab) --> enable the "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings" option
  • What interwiki link order does AWB use?
    The software reads the interwiki sort order from Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser/IW, which is generally mirrored to reflect the order at m:Interwiki sorting order.
  • AWB puts stubs after categories, though categories are always rendered the last by MediaWiki?
    According to WP:STUB#Categorizing stubs, By convention they are placed at the end of the article, after the External links section, any navigation templates, and the category tags, so that the stub category will appear last. If your wiki uses another order, please let us know here.
  • I don't like or use Internet Explorer; please use Firefox instead.
    AWB does not use Internet Explorer per se. It does, however, use the same web browser control (MSHTML) as Internet Explorer; the equivalent Firefox component does not provide the needed functionality.
  • How do I open the page in another browser if I can't use the one in AWB?
    Right click on the edit box in the bottom right side of your screen. Select "Open page in browser".
  • How do I edit a page that doesn't exist?
    Uncheck "Ignore non existing pages" in the "Skip articles" box.
  • How do I skip certain articles?
    Use the "Skip if contains" and "Skip if doesn't contain" on the "Skip" tab
  • Can't you leave up a "stable" version, so I don't have to download new versions?
    It is important to keep people up to date with the latest versions, because their use of the software doesn't just affect them, but the whole of Wikipedia. As any bugs that remain will be trivial, hopefully releases won't be too frequent.
  • How can I stop AWB clicking when it changes pages?
    This is a Windows sound theme setting. This page explains how to turn off the clicking sound.
    Alternatively, delete the following key from the Windows registry:
  • AWB randomly crashes upon page load on my system, and I always use a browser other than Internet Explorer when using Wikipedia.
    You may have installed custom scripts incompatible with IE. Wrap the contents of your monobook.js into conditional:
               //Detect IE5.5+
               if (navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE")==-1)
                   // Previous contents go here
  • I get Just In Time Debugger Messages when loading AWB/loading pages.
    In Internet Explorer, go to Tools → Options → Advanced. Make sure 'Disable Script Debugging (Internet Explorer)' and 'Disable Script Debugging (Other)' Are both checked. Press apply and close.
  • Why does AWB run very, very slowly if I try to make changes in the edit window on larger pages, especially pages with long lists or tables?
    If running on Windows, exit the Speech Recognition software that is built into some versions of Windows; don't just turn it 'Off', you must 'Exit' the software if you have started up Speech Recognition.
  • When I do a clean install of AutoWikiBrowser the application seems to find old setting data somewhere. I'd like to do a really clean install. Any ideas?
    Clean up your registry and remove the folder "C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\AutoWikiBrowser" (Windows XP) or "C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\AutoWikiBrowser\" (Windows 7). Note that the application data folder may be hidden.
  • AWB prompts that there is a newer version but won't update
    Check the version number of your AWBUpdater.exe. The current version is If you have an older version, you have to download the latest AWB version and make a clean install.
  • Which .NET Framework version do I have?
    You can find your .NET Framework version in Help → About box.
  • Where are the default settings stored?
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\AutoWikiBrowser
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\AutoWikiBrowser\Default.xml
  • I cannot copy text from the diff window using the Control+C keyboard shortcut.
    You must have Microsoft.mshtml.dll available for AWB to use for this functionality to work. You can try downloading the file (there are a number of third-party websites offering DLL file downloads) and putting it in the same folder as AutoWikiBrowser.exe. This is reported not to work for all users, presumably due to .NET Framework problems.
  • Is there any way to set AWB to not use https? (GFW blocks 443 port)
    In preferences, set project to "custom". Set the left box to http. In the webpage box, type (English Wikipedia) or (Chinese Wikipedia). Note that leaving off the /w/ will result in a "root element missing" error.


This talk page is automatically archived by MiszaBot I. Any sections older than 7 days are automatically archived to Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser/Archive 28. Sections without timestamps are not archived.

Update to the live CS1 module weekend of 30–31 July 2016[edit]

See Update to the live CS1 module weekend of 30–31 July 2016

Why replace {{bda}} with {{birth date and age}}[edit]

Why does AWB replace {{bda}} with {{birth date and age}}? I've often seen it do that but I don't get why that's "better". I realize it's just resolving a redirect, but I doubt about the usefulness of that in the case of short template names, because they're valid "shortcuts". Or is this the sort of thing I should take up with the editor, rather than with AWB? –Sygmoral (talk) 22:19, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

If this minor change that makes no difference to what the reader sees is all the editor (using AWB) changed, that is generally considered a misuse of AWB. However, if a substantive change was made at the same time, then it is considered reasonable to show the full name of the template to aid other editors, who may be new, especially given the full name of a template is decided by editors to be the more complete description of what it's about. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 22:45, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I consider the answer already given, that expanding the shortcuts especially of templates in order to aid inexperienced editors, is the best answer. When I was a newly registered editor back before AWB was used, I had to take an extra step or two just to figure out what something like "bda" actually stood for. And for many years I argued that when new editors take that extra step, it's part of a learning process that actually increases the speed of editing over time, which it did do for me. I learned more about templates simply by having to take those extra steps. Over the years, I've been in many discussions about this, and I can tell you that the trend in present times is to argue that one of the reasons new editors don't stay with Wikipedia is because the wikimarkup is often so cryptic, and that this is due in large part to the use of cryptic shortcuts like "bda". In the most recent discussion about this, I was actually ganged up on by several editors who strongly believed that cryptic shortcuts were a large reason for new editors leaving Wikipedia. I used to think that expanding the shortcuts without making "substantive" edits was just editors racking up edits; however, I don't think that way anymore. I don't think that it "is generally considered a misuse of AWB" to expand shortcut names only. It really does seem to be a particular thorn in some editors' sides to see cryptic shortcuts, so it has become a growing trend to correct that and to expand the names of shortcuts. Many still use WP:NOTBROKEN as an argument against, but others argue that a cryptic shortcut that beguiles new editors is indeed a "broken" redirect. So after several years, I have had to modify my own beliefs about this, and I haven't done so lightly. I presently consider the expansion of cryptic template shortcut names a "substantive" edit, and I don't think it should be considered "misuse of AWB".  Rules of enpagement Paine  14:20, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks all for your opinions! As a software developer myself, I certainly understand the need for clear code, so in that sense "birth date and age" is obviously vastly superior to "bda". But it is a very widespread 'trend' on Wikipedia to use shortcuts, and in some cases (like "nat fs g start" versus "National football squad start (goals)") you can understand that seasoned editors like to type the shorter variant. But the same argument you have all touched is valid here too, because new editors will no doubt be confused by "nat fs g start". Now, if that is indeed the conclusion, should we not do something about it for the greater good that is Wikipedia? Should Wikipedia then not officialy discourage creating and using cryptic template redirects, until they can eventually even be phased out? The collaborative element would certainly be an argument for that. (I know, a bold idea with huge consequences, but I like trying to launch these as otherwise nothing ever happens.) –Sygmoral (talk) 15:31, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Sygmoral, AWB's developers don't decide Wikipedia policies/guidelines, they just implement them (conservatively). This reads like something good to discuss at WP:VPP. Also, I would note that as a 12-year seasoned editor, I take the opposite stance and always spell out templates. This is part of my stance against unnecessarily abbreviating/shortening things (based on a number of factors, including not throwing off beginners). And as an AWB user, I know these templates will be ultimately expanded anyway. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 16:43, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Paine, I should note that it's not my opinion that expanding template shortcuts only is a misuse, it's actually in the AWB rules of use under #4: "Do not make insignificant or inconsequential edits. An edit that has no noticeable effect on the rendered page is generally considered an insignificant edit." My interpretation is that if you're not making a change (as part of the set of changes) that is visible to the reader, it's best to not to save the changes. However, I agree in principle that these shortcuts should be expanded, or not used in the first place. But given the rules of use, I would recommend making an edit that's visible to the reader at the same time. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 16:31, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, we'll just have to agree to agree. ;>) There are, however, significant edits that are made regularly that cannot be seen by readers, such as page-protection-related, invisible comments, removal of deprecated templates and unused parameters in infoboxs. The point seems to be that the expansion of shortcut names in redirects is fast-becoming significant and substantive. And the statement under #4, "Do not make insignificant or inconsequential edits, and its subsequent explanation, are vague at best and probably need to be better-explained. At any rate, we'll probably be seeing changes soon in whatever policies and guidelines apply, if they haven't been made already.  Rules of enpagement Paine  18:07, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Might be a bit off-topic, but the rules should really be clarified. Another AWB editor once warned me for bolding the title of an article in it's lead. Dat GuyTalkContribs 18:08, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
"Off-topic", not off-topic, no biggee – sometimes editing Wikipedia is knowing how and when to stand your ground. And a large part of that is knowing your policies and guidelines, and also knowing if, when and where WP:IAR applies.  Rules of enpagement Paine  18:19, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Oh, and it deserves mention that standing your ground must be accompanied by civil discourse, but of course! Face-smile.svg  Rules of enpagement Paine  19:41, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Unless it was some kind of rare case, bolding the title in the lead is a Manual of Style fix that should have been imperative for that or any article. I'd like to see what went on there, because at face value, that other editor was in the wrong. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 21:32, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
No, it wasn't a rare case. In point of fact, DatGuy had made two edits that were challenged by another editor with the #4 rule (I found the discussion in DatGuy's talkpage archives). Anyway, in both cases rule #4 in fact did not apply because both edits had made changes that altered the page to readers. One edit moved a clickable map down a bit so the hatnote would cross the entire page, and the other edit put a different page's title in boldface type in the lead – both edits were made using AWB and both edits altered the pages' appearances to readers. So the other editor, who by the way stated that it was okay to make these edits manually but not with AWB, was definitely in the wrong. I happen to know the other editor, who is by far one of the better editors on Wikipedia. So the problem/challenge that really needs to be addressed is the vague nature of rule #4.  Rules of enpagement Paine  03:58, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I meant "rare case" in terms of the subject bolding guidelines where it's not as straightforward as usual. Anyway, the other editor is incorrect to distinguish between AWB and manual edits, as they are both done by a live human editor -- AWB just helps us find what to fix faster and makes the edits more convenient. There is a misconception out there that the tool is fully automated and users robotically accept its suggestions, and that would be against the #1 entry in the rules of use. We're responsible for our edits, no matter how we are editing. As for the #4 rule, I've run up against only a few editors who object, usually because they can't find the reader-visual change(s) among the other ones. Making #4 less vague might help slightly, but I don't think the attitudes of editors who have a distaste for "automated nonsubstantive" changes will change, as they are basing their objections on policies/guidelines outside of AWB's control. I would submit it's more their misunderstanding of policies/guidelines at play (specifically, a heavy-handed application of WP:AINT). Stevie is the man! TalkWork 08:52, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Change to formatting in Preview[edit]

A few days ago. the Preview function of AWB changed for me. It now formats the article in a much more basic way than it always has. For example: the entire page seems to use Times New Roman; broken links are no longer identified in red; the TOC is formatted as a list but not as a box; wikilinks are formatted with underlining. I didn't consciously change any settings. I've tried changing my default browser back to IE, in case Firefox had changed something, but it's made no difference. Any thoughts? Colonies Chris (talk) 09:27, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Does no-one have any suggestions? Could this be caused by a corrupted/deleted CSS file somewhere? The page is rendering, but in a pretty rudimentary way, as if it didn't have a full CSS spec to follow. Colonies Chris (talk) 19:04, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, I can confirm that my previews also changed at about the time you made your report here. -- John of Reading (talk) 19:27, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Same here. I don't use the previews very often, so that's why I haven't chimed in. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 19:39, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks - it's useful to know it's not just me. I've created a bug report. Colonies Chris (talk) 08:47, 25 August 2016 (UTC)