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I know of three ways to enhance MediaWiki functionality:

  1. Using extensions.
  2. Using templates.
  3. Changing MediaWiki:Common.css & MediaWiki:Common.js

My question is, when I can choose which to do, which is best for performance? Obviously, templates only affect the pages on which they are included, but are they then faster than .css & .js changes? And which will slow down MediaWiki most - .css / .js changes or new extensions?

Specific example (following jscott's comment). A user wants to hide the numbers in the table of contents:

  1. I can use an extension: PSINoTocNum
  2. I can use a template (including this code: .tocnumber { display: none !important; } which I can include only on the required pages).
  3. I can change MediaWiki:Common.css.

Which has most / least performance hit?

Note - this is just an example. I want to know generally which approach is best and why.

share|improve this question
FWIW, the PSINoTocNum extension requires you to edit the common.css in addition to installing an extension. – jscott Sep 29 '10 at 11:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This question won't have a proper answer because rendering changes (css, js) depend upon the visitor's computing power and connection speed whereas MediaWiki extensions primarily depend upon the server's computing power.

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actually, I don't know about that - your answer is very helpful thanks. (Seems obvious now you mention it!) – Wikis Sep 29 '10 at 11:28
Glad to help! In principle it's best to waste other peoples' resources (like your display:none example) versus wasting your own - but I see you already knew that! – danlefree Sep 29 '10 at 12:30

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