Wikibase
MediaWiki Wikibase extension
Federated Properties

Federated Properties is a feature that allows a newly created Wikibase instance to use the existing Properties of another Wikibase. This enables new users evaluating Wikibase to get started without having to spend a lot of time defining basic Properties first.

Installation

The setting is off by default. To enable Federated Properties from Wikidata, set $wgWBRepoSettings['federatedPropertiesEnabled'] = true; in your wiki's LocalSettings.php. To configure a different source wiki, the federatedPropertiesSourceScriptUrl setting must be set accordingly to the source wiki's script path url, e.g. $wgWBRepoSettings['federatedPropertiesSourceScriptUrl'] = 'https://wikidata.beta.wmflabs.org/w/';.

Configuring EntitySources

Using federated properties by only enabling the feature will default the federatedPropertiesSourceScriptUrl to https://www.wikidata.org/w/. In this case no additional configuration of entitysources is required.

Using the feature with any other source wiki will however require entitysources to be manually configured in order to get the correct RDF representation of entities, links and namespaces.

The following example is a configuration of entitysources similar to what is automatically generated. However here we are using wikidata.beta.wmflabs.org as the source wiki.

Adding this to the LocalSettings.php of wikidata-federated-properties.wmflabs.org would result in the RDF representation to be correct.

$wgWBRepoSettings['entitySources'] = [
'local' => [
'entityNamespaces' => [ 'item' => 120 ],
'repoDatabase' => false,
'baseUri' => 'http://wikidata-federated-properties.wmflabs.org/entity/',
'interwikiPrefix' => '',
'rdfNodeNamespacePrefix' => 'wd',
'rdfPredicateNamespacePrefix' => 'wdt',
],
'fedprops' => [
'entityNamespaces' => [ 'property' => 122 ],
'repoDatabase' => false,
'baseUri' => 'http://wikidata.beta.wmflabs.org/entity/',
'interwikiPrefix' => 'wikidatabeta',
'rdfNodeNamespacePrefix' => 'fpwd',
'rdfPredicateNamespacePrefix' => 'fpwd',
],
];

The two configurations contain separate sources for the local item and federated property. The entityNamespaces for these entities must always match the namespace mapping that exists on the local wiki. So if the local Property namespace is 122, and your federating to wikidata.org with a Property namespace of 120, your entityNamespaces value for Properties would be 122.

The interwikiPrefix is a configuration to support links between MediaWiki instances. This also depend on the configuration on each instance and should point to a wiki defined in the interwiki table For more information on interwiki links see https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Interwiki. If this is not done various links will not be correctly rendered.

Privacy notice

Once you enable Federated Properties in your Wikibase installation, all requests to the federation source Wiki will include an anonymized unique identifier as the useragent. This will be used only to detect abnormal traffic to the source Wiki for the purposes of preventing abuse.

Limitations

For now the feature is not intended for production use. It is only meant to facilitate the evaluation of Wikibase as a software for third party use cases.

Federated Properties must only be enabled for a fresh Wikibase installation without any existing local Properties. Local Properties and Federated Properties cannot coexist on a Wikibase at the same time. The setting should be considered permanent after entering any data into the wiki (see Known Issues).

Implementation

The following sections describe the implementation details of the Federated Properties feature. It is intended for developers working on the code, and those who want to know what is going on under the hood.

Requesting Data from the Source Wiki

A Wikibase with Federated Properties enabled fetches data about those Properties using the source wiki's HTTP API. The two endpoints that are currently used are wbsearchentities for searching, and wbgetentities for fetching the data needed to display statements on Item pages and for making edits.

For simplicity's sake the initial API based implementations of data access services such as PropertyDataTypeLookup and PrefetchingTermLookup directly requested the data they need from the API. While effective, this naive approach generates a lot of traffic on the source wiki and is not very performant. Ideally, we want to minimize the number of requests.

As a first measure, an ApiEntityLookup service that wraps calls to wbgetentities was introduced that optimistically requests all data that could possibly be needed (data type, labels, descriptions) to render statements using the Federated Property. The service internally caches the API's response for each Property so that for the duration of an incoming request to the target wiki no data would need to be fetched more than once for the same Property. The service can also request data for multiple Properties at once, so that all data for all Properties that are used in statements of an item page could be fetched in a single request if it is done before any individual requests for Property data happen.

Unfortunately, of the two data access services implemented for Federated Properties, the PropertyDataTypeLookup which looks up data types one at a time is called first so that the batching functionality of the ApiEntityLookup doesn't come into effect. Changing the PropertyDataTypeLookup interface to allow batching data type lookups might work, but a more generic data prefetching mechanism for data of entities that are referenced on a given page seems like the cleaner approach.

In the past, EntityInfoBuilder was used to load data about entities referenced (e.g. properties in statements, or statement values) on entity pages. Upon closer inspection EntityInfo appears to be largely unused, and either needs to be replaced or overhauled in order to be useful for prefetching Federated Properties. See T253125#6163636.

Handling IDs of Federated Properties

For the MVP, version IDs of Federated Properties carry no information about their source wiki. The decision is documented in the ADR about handling Federated Property IDs.

Caching

Enabling caching when using federated properties can result in changes from the source wiki being delayed for a few different reasons.

On the local wiki the parser cache will cache pages until the cache is either expired or the cache is manually purged. The parser cache can also be disabled which would ensure that the properties are always fetched from the source wiki, but has the downside of slowing down page requests.

To manually purge the cache of a page mediawiki offers a query parameter that can be appended to the url of any wiki. The following example shows this being done on the item Q1 on wikidata.org.

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q1?action=purge

This will display a new page with an OK button asking if the user would like to purge the cache for that page. Clicking OK will purge the cache.

Another option of clearing the parser cache would be to set the expiration of the cache to something smaller than the default value. The following example sets $wgParserCacheExpireTime to 10 minutes which would be more in sync with the cache on the API for fetching properties of wikidata.org.

$wgParserCacheExpireTime = 600;

A third option to clear the cache would be to disable it completely. This can be achieved by setting $wgParserCacheType to CACHE_NONE in the LocalSettings.php file.

$wgParserCacheType = CACHE_NONE;

For more information on caching and how it can be configured see the documentation for a complete overview on how caching is used in mediawiki.

Known Issues

In the current implementation, Federated Properties cannot be used in combination with local properties. This means enabling the feature on a Wikibase instance that already contains local properties is not supported. As there is currently no distinction between the two different kinds of properties, using local properties when federation is enabled will either cause them to display as a deleted, or as the property with the same entity ID on the federation source Wiki.

For the same reason, enabling Federated Properties and then turning off the feature is not supported once any statements have been added. Doing so will result in those properties displaying as deleted properties.

SPARQL Examples

SPARQL is the language used to query the data within Wikibase. Using Federated Properties opens up the possibility to describe your data using the same constructs other Wikibase repositories use to describe their domain.

The following SPARQL queries are examples on how you could setup your local instance with Federated Properties and issue queries to both your local and federated sparql endpoints.

An introduction to SPARQL can be found here.

# This example describes an example use case of Federated Properties
# being used in conjunction with a Federated Query to Wikidata.
#
# In this example we have setup a local wikibase repository and created an
# item with the federated property International Standard Name Identifier (P213)
#
# Running this query we are asking the local instance and the federated source wiki
# to return all items that are identified by INSI "0000 0001 1364 8293" which on
# wikidata.org returns Berlin and on your local instance could be just about anything.
PREFIX wdt: <http://www.wikidata.org/prop/direct/>
SELECT ?item ?ISNI
WHERE
{
VALUES ?ISNI {"0000 0001 1364 8293"}
{
SELECT ?item ?ISNI
WHERE
{
?item wdt:P213 ?ISNI;
}
}
UNION
{
SERVICE <https://query.wikidata.org/sparql> {
SELECT ?item ?ISNI
WHERE
{
?item wdt:P213 ?ISNI;
}
}
}
}
# This example describes an example use case of Federated Properties
# being used in conjunction with a Federated Query to Wikidata.
#
# In this example we are setting up a local wikibase repository for publications where
# we have created a few items and assigned them the statement of P577 (Publication date).
# With this setup we are querying the local database and the federated source wiki for
# any written work (Q47461344) with a publication date after 2000-01-01.
#
# Uncomment row 31 to narrow down the search for a specific genre
#defaultView:Timeline
PREFIX wdt: <http://www.wikidata.org/prop/direct/>
PREFIX wd-wd: <http://www.wikidata.org/entity/>
SELECT ?item ?itemLabel ?pubDate ?image
WHERE
{
{
SELECT ?item ?itemLabel ?pubDate ?image
WHERE
{
?item wdt:P577 ?pubDate .
OPTIONAL { ?item wdt:P18 ?image }
SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "en". }
}
}
UNION
{
SERVICE <https://query.wikidata.org/sparql> {
SELECT ?item ?itemLabel ?pubDate ?image
WHERE
{
?item wdt:P577 ?pubDate .
?item wdt:P31 wd-wd:Q47461344 .
#?item wdt:P136 wd-wd:Q8261 . # genre novel (Q8261)
OPTIONAL { ?item wdt:P18 ?image }
SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "en". }
}
}
}
FILTER (?pubDate > "2000-01-01T00:00:00+00:00"^^xsd:dateTime)
}
ORDER BY DESC(?pubDate)
LIMIT 100