Mediawiki extension that provides extraction of searchable text and metadata from uploaded files, via Apache Tika

Fund package maintenance!
Donate To Ctap

Installs: 44

Dependents: 0

Suggesters: 0

Security: 0

Stars: 0

Watchers: 0

Forks: 2

Open Issues: 1


1.0.1 2021-12-17 21:31 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2022-11-17 23:21:01 UTC


TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) is an extension for MediaWiki which facilitates full-text search over uploaded files, by using the Apache Tika content analysis toolkit, which "detects and extracts metadata and text from over a thousand different file types". In practical terms: if you already have CirrusSearch set up and working on your wiki, TATF will allow you to perform full-text searches over the contents of almost any uploaded file --- not just the PDF's.

TATF's features and capabilities:

  • extract embedded digital text from any type of uploaded file and index for full-text search;
  • extract and index printed text from bitmap image files and from images embedded in document files, e.g., image-only PDF's (requires Tesseract OCR)
  • extract metadata from any type of uploaded file for display on File: pages;
  • index metadata properties along with text, to enable simple searching for properties within full-text search;

Brought to you by... CTAP

This extension is developed by the Center for Transparent Analysis and Policy, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. If this extension is useful for your wiki, consider making a donation to support CTAP. CTAP All The Donations!


To make use of TikaAllTheFiles (TATF), you will need:

  • PHP >= 7.4.0

  • Mediawiki >= 1.35

    • TATF has been developed/tested with MW 1.35. See Known Bugs for possible issues with newer versions.
  • CirrusSearch extension

    • TATF's text extraction functionality will only be exercised by a search engine that performs full-text indexing and search, i.e., CirrusSearch.
  • Apache Tika Server >= 2.1.0

  • (optional) Tesseract OCR

Setting up the prerequisites is beyond the scope of these instructions, but some pointers for Tika and Tesseract are provided in Hints and Tips.

Theory of Operation

TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) has defaults that should get it to do something useful out-of-the-box, but it is helpful to understand how it works a bit before installing it.

In MediaWiki, any operation on an uploaded file that requires interpreting its content is provided by a MediaHandler. Thumbnails, image display, metadata extraction, text extraction, etc all depend on a MediaHandler. Without a MediaHandler for a file, MediaWiki only knows about its name, size, and MIME type.

MediaHandlers are registered to MIME types. MediaWiki provides a handful of MediaHandlers in its core code, e.g., JpegHandler for JPEG images (MIME type image/jpeg). The rest are provided by extensions. The PdfHandler extension, which ships with MediaWiki and is installed by default, provides a MediaHandler for PDF files (MIME type application/pdf).

TATF works by providing a MediaHandler that knows how to extract text and metadata by farming files out to a Tika server. Unlike a typical media extension, however, TATF does not register its MediaHandler for specific MIME types, Instead, it installs a special MediaHandlerFactory that knows how to provide its MediaHandler for any MIME type that shows up. (It's called "Tika All The Files" for a reason.)

When MediaWiki needs a MediaHandler for a file, it asks TATF's factory and the factory returns one of three results:

  • the original MediaHandler for that MIME type (as registered by core or another extension), if any;
  • a solo TATF MediaHandler;
  • a TATF MediaHandler that wraps the original MediaHandler.

Which outcome occurs depends on the configuration of TATF's MimeTypeProfiles parameter.

A TATF MediaHandler offers two types of functionality:

  • content: providing text to be indexed by a search engine;
  • metadata: recording and formatting metadata for display to the user.

The content and metadata functions are independent of each other; if both are enabled and if both are invoked by MediaWiki for a given file, then TATF will actually query Tika twice for that file. One query would occur when the file is initially uploaded (to record its metadata in the database); the other would occur when the search engine indexes the file (to obtain the text content to be indexed).

A solo TATF MediaHandler will simply provide its Tika-based content and/or metadata services, and that's that. It is not able to provide thumbnails or previews or any other MediaHandler functionality.

A wrapping TATF MediaHandler is able to delegate to the wrapped MediaHandler for any function beyond content or metadata. Thus, TATF can be used to add text extraction (and enhanced metadata extraction) for MIME types and MediaHandlers that don't already support it. This is, for example, what enables TATF to be used to extract searchable text from bitmap image files.

Which of content and/or metadata functionality is provided by TATF, and how the Tika results are blended with the native output of a wrapped MediaHandler, is all configurable via the MimeTypeProfiles parameter.


The recommended installation method for TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) is to use composer. This will automatically install any (future) PHP dependencies.

  • Go to your MediaWiki installation directory and run two composer commands:

    $ COMPOSER=composer.local.json composer require --no-update centertap/tika-all-the-files
    $ composer update centertap/tika-all-the-files --with-dependencies --no-dev --optimize-autoloader

    The require command will add an entry for TATF to your composer.local.json file (creating the file if necessary). The update command will update your composer.lock file and download/install TATF in the extensions directory.

    If you want to pin the major version of this extension (so that future updates do not inadvertently introduce breaking changes), change the first command to something like this (e.g., for major revision "194"):

    $ COMPOSER=composer.local.json composer require --no-update centertap/tika-all-the-files:^194.0.0
  • Edit your site's LocalSettings.php to load the extension:

    wfLoadExtension( 'TikaAllTheFiles' );
  • Configure TATF as needed. (See Configuration below.)

  • Run some post-configuration commands to (re)index files that have already been uploaded to your wiki. (See Post-configuration / Maintenance below.)


TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) has the following configuration parameters; each of them has a prefix of $wgTikaAllTheFiles_ which has been omitted here for brevity:

parameter default description
TikaServiceBaseUrl http://localhost:9998/ Base URL of the Tika server
QueryTimeoutSeconds 5 Tika server response time limit (seconds)
QueryRetryCount 2 Number of times to retry a failed Tika query
QueryRetryDelaySeconds 2 Delay (seconds) before query retry
MimeTypeProfiles see below Handler configuration, by mime-type
PropertyMap [] Additional mappings for Tika metadata

All the parameters have nominally reasonable defaults that should cause TATF to do something useful --- most important is that TikaServiceBaseUrl points to your Tika server. More details on the parameters follow below.

Tika service parameters

  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_TikaServiceBaseUrl

    • string, default value: http://localhost:9998/
    • Specifies the URL of the Tika server.
  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_QueryTimeoutSeconds

    • integer, default value: 5
    • Specifies the timeout, in seconds, for a single Tika query. TATF will abort a request (and possibly try again) if the Tika server does not respond within this many seconds.
  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_QueryRetryCount

    • integer, default value: 2
    • Specifies the number of times TATF will retry a Tika query in the event of timeouts/errors/etc.
    • E.g., if zero, TATF will not retry after an initial failure.
  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_QueryRetryDelaySeconds

    • integer, default value: 2
    • Specifies the number of seconds TATF will wait before retrying a Tika query.

Handler profiles

  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_MimeTypeProfiles
    • array, default value:
         'defaults' => [
                         'handler_strategy' => 'fallback',
                         'allow_ocr' => false,
                         'ocr_languages' => '',
                         'content_strategy' => 'combine',
                         'content_composition' => 'text',
                         'metadata_strategy' => 'prefer_other',
         '*' => 'defaults',

What the built-in default does

The effect of the built-in default profile configuration (shown above) is:

* Every MIME type is handled in 'fallback' mode.
* TATF will provide a "solo" handler for files that do not already have
  a handler (provided by the MW core or another extension).
* The TATF handler will provide Tika-extracted text for search indexing
  (but only text, not metadata).
* Text extraction will not use OCR.
* The TATF handler will provide Tika-extracted metadata to display on
  a file's File: page

Another profile configuration example

If you put the following in LocalSettings.php:

$wgTikaAllTheFiles_MimeTypeProfiles['*'] = [
    'inherit' => 'defaults',
    'handler_strategy' => 'wrapping',
    'allow_ocr' => true,
    'content_composition' => 'text_and_metadata',
    'metadata_strategy' => 'combine',

$wgTikaAllTheFiles_MimeTypeProfiles['application/pdf'] = [
    'inherit' => '*',
    'allow_ocr' => false,

it will build on top of the built-in defaults with the result:

* Every MIME type is handled in 'wrapping' mode.
* TATF will provide a "solo" handler for files that do not already have
  a handler, and a "wrapping" handler for those that do.
* The TATF handler will provide both Tika-extracted text and metadata for
  search indexing, and combine that content with any content produced by
  a wrapped handler.
* Text extraction will use OCR if it is available --- but not for PDF files!
* The TATF handler will combine Tika-extracted metadata along with metadata
  from a wrapped handler, for display on a file's File: page.

Details of profile configuration

How TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) handles any particular file is determined by the file's mime-type (that is, mime-type as decided by the MW core). TATF looks up the mime-type in the MimeTypeProfiles array and assembles a profile which configures a MediaHandler for the file.

The keys of the MimeTypeProfiles parameter array are called labels. A label can be any arbitrary string, but '*' has a special meaning as the catch-all label.

A label can map to:

  • a profile block (an array of profile parameters);
  • a reference to another label (a string);
  • the literal false, which causes profile assembly to abort.

A profile block contains profile parameters. The special parameter 'inherits' can be used to reference another label/block.

Profile assembly for a mime-type works like this:

  1. Choose a root label.
    • If there is a label exactly matching the mime-type, use that.
    • Otherwise, if '*' is an existing label, use that.
    • Otherwise, abort.
  2. Starting with the root label as current and an empty profile, repeat until a complete profile is assembled:
    • Look up the value for the current label.
    • If unset or set to false, abort profile assembly.
    • Else, if set to a reference (string), that becomes the next current label.
    • Else, if set to a block (array), set any unknown profile parameters from the entries in the block. If the block contains a string value for 'inherits', that becomes the next current label.

If a complete profile cannot be assembled for a mime-type, then TATF will leave the file alone and it will get handled by the existing handler (if any) for that mime-type.

A complete profile requires values for each of the following parameters:

  • 'handler_strategy': keyword - one of:
    • 'fallback': TATF will only handle this type if there is no other MediaHandler already enabled for the type.
    • 'override': TATF will take over handling of this type, by itself, ignoring any other MediaHandler.
    • 'wrapping': TATF handle this type, injecting its own behavior for text and metadata extraction, but allowing an existing MediaHandler to handle the rest of the MediaHandler API.
  • 'allow_ocr': boolean - whether or not to allow Tika to perform OCR
  • 'ocr_languages': string - which languages to enable for OCR; see Tesseract OCR Tips below.
  • 'content_strategy': keyword for how to handle text extraction - one of:
    • 'no_tika': don't use Tika-extracted content at all
    • 'prefer_other': only use Tika-extracted content if no content is provided by another handler
    • 'combine': combine Tika-extracted content with any content provided by another handler
    • 'prefer_tika': only use content provided by another handler if there is no Tika-extracted content
    • 'only_tika': don't use another handler's content at all
  • 'content_composition': keyword describing what content should be indexed for full-text search; choose one of:
    • 'text' - index extracted text
    • 'metadata' - index metadata
    • 'text_and_metadata' - index extracted text and metadata
  • 'metadata_strategy': keyword describing how TATF should handle metadata; choose one of:
    • 'no_tika': don't use Tika-extracted metadata at all
    • 'prefer_other': only use Tika-extracted metadata if no metadata is provided by another handler
    • 'combine': combine Tika-extracted metadata with any metadata provided by another handler
    • 'prefer_tika': only use metadata provided by another handler if there is no Tika-extracted metadata
    • 'only_tika': don't use another handler's metadata at all

Metadata property processing

  • $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap
    • array, default value: []

TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) contains an internal property map which controls how metadata properties are formatted, both when rendered on File: pages and when added to search-indexable text content. You can add new mappings, or override existing mappings, by adding entries to $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap.

A PropertyMap example

Configuring PropertyMap like so:

$wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap['dc:language'] = true;
$wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap['!'] = false;

will cause the dc:language property to be trivially formatted, and all other properties will be discarded.

Details of PropertyMap configuration

The key of each key-value entry can take one of three forms:

  1. a Tika property name, e.g. 'some-name', to be matched exactly;
  2. the special string '!', which matches to any property that does not have a specific (1) entry in $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap;
  3. the special string '*', which matches to any property that does not have a specific entry in either $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap or in the internal property map.

A Tika property will be mapped to the first match in this order:

  1. entry in $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap with exactly matching name;
  2. entry in $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap with special name '!';
  3. entry in internal property map with exactly matching name;
  4. entry in $wgTikaAllTheFiles_PropertyMap with special name '*';
  5. fallback to value true if nothing matches.

The value of each entry can take one of three forms as well:

  1. false - drop/ignore the property;
  2. true - trivially format the property (render the name and value(s) as returned by Tika;
  3. [ callable, arg1, arg2, ... ] - process the property with callable.

In the third case, callable must be a PHP callable that accepts at least three arguments:

  • Tika's name for the property (a string)
  • Tika's value for the property (either a single JSON-serializable atomic value, or an array of such values)
  • false or an IContextSource context for string rendering

Any additional arg1, arg2, etc, in the property map entry will be provided as additional arguments to callable. The return value of callable must be either null (if the property should be discarded) or an instance of TikaAllTheFiles::ProcessedProperty. If you are still reading at this point, you should look at the code to understand how/why to construct a ProcessedProperty.

Post-configuration / Maintenance

The search indexing and metadata recording operations for an uploaded file are typically triggered once (each), when the file is uploaded. That means that when after you install and configure TikaAllTheFiles (TATF), you will want to tell MediaWiki to repeat these operations for the files that have already been uploaded to your wiki.

Likewise, when you upgrade TATF or change its configuration in a way that will affect its content or metadata extraction, you may want to rescan any affected files.

Refresh Metadata

If you are using the metadata extraction features of TATF (e.g., profiles with metadata_strategy other than no_tika), then you can force a refresh of metadata for all uploaded files like so:

$ php refreshMetadata.php --force

It is possible to refresh only a subset of files. See for more information (or, use the --help option).

Refresh Search Index

If you are using the content extraction features of TATF (e.g., profiles with content_strategy other than no_tika), and if you are using CirrusSearch as your search engine, then you can force a re-indexing of all uploaded files like so:

$ cd YOUR-WIKI-INSTALL-DIRECTORY/extensions/CirrusSearch/maintenance/
$ php ForceSearchIndex.php

It is possible to re-index only a subset of files. Use the --help option to get a list of all the command-line options.

Hints and Tips

Tika Tips

TikaAllTheFiles (TATF) doesn't do anything without access to a Tika server:

If you want to quickly fire up a Tika server to try it out:

  • Install a Java runtime environment. E.g., on Debian:
    $ apt install default-jre-headless
  • Download tika-server-standard-2.1.0.jar:
    $ wget
  • Start it up:
    $ java -jar tika-server-standard-2.1.0.jar

That should be enough to get a Tika server listening for queries at http://localhost:9998.

Tesseract OCR Tips

See for information on installing and using Tesseract with Tika.

On Debian, it is as simple as apt install tesseract. However, that by itself will only the language pack for English. You will need to install more tesseract-* packages if you want support for other languages.

By default, Tika only enables English language support ("eng"). To enable other languages, in addition to installing the appropriate Tesseract language packs, you will need to override Tika's default configuration for the language parameter of TesseractOCRParser.

You can do this in TATF by setting a handler profile's ocr_languages parameter to a non-empty value. The parameter should be set to a list of Tesseract language codes, separated by + characters (for example, 'ocr_languages' => 'eng+fra+jpn').

OCR can be slow!

OCR is a really neat trick, but it can also be really slow, reportedly increasing Tika query times by a factor of a hundred. For that reason, the TATF configuration defaults to disabling OCR ('allow_ocr' => false).

If you enable OCR:

  • make sure your Tika server(s) can handle the load;
  • seriously consider increasing $wgTikaAllTheFiles_QueryTimeoutSeconds, and/or keep an eye on timeout errors in your log files.

PDF's and Tika and OCR

PDF's have an intricate relationship with Tika's OCR functionality; see the Tika wiki for the full scoop.

With Tika's default settings, it will do the following with PDF's:

  1. try to extract embedded digital text first;
  2. if no embedded digital text is found, and OCR is available and enabled by TATF, render each page and attempt to extract text via OCR.

So, if you want Tika to fallback to OCR on image-only PDF's, you will need to set 'allow_ocr' => true for a PDF profile in your TATF configuration.

PdfHandler Extension

MediaWiki comes with the PdfHandler extension, which (with the help of a few external programs like pdftotext) can extract searchable text, extract metadata, and display per-page previews and thumbnails of PDF documents. In other words, PdfHandler does everything that TATF does and more, for PDF files. With the default configuration, TATF will let PdfHandler take care of PDF files.

However, you may want to configure TATF to wrap PdfHandler instead, for a number of possible reasons:

  • PdfHandler stores its extracted text in the wiki database along with the file metadata. Thus, your wiki will end up storing three copies of the text for every PDF file: in the database, in the search index (e.g., Elasticstore), and in the original files. To stop PdfHandler from doing this, unset $wgPdftoText in your local settings:
    unset( $wgPdftoText )
  • With OCR set up and enabled, TATF can extract text from images within PDF files and from image-only PDF files. In a typical setup, PdfHandler can only extract embedded digital text from PDF's.
  • TATF will extract more metadata from PDF files.
  • TATF can combine metadata with text content for full-text search indexing.

For example:

$wgTikaAllTheFiles_MimeTypeProfiles['application/pdf'] = [
    'handler_strategy' => 'wrapping',
    'allow_ocr' => true,
    'content_strategy' => 'tika_only',
    'content_composition' => 'text_and_metadata',
    'metadata_strategy' => 'prefer_other',
    'inherits' => 'defaults',

will cause TATF to:

  • wrap PdfHandler (allowing PdfHandler to continue providing its page previews/thumbnails on the wiki);
  • prefer using only PdfHandler's metadata;
  • use only Tika-extracted text content, with OCR enabled;
  • index the metadata along with the text content in searches.

Release Notes


Known Bugs

  • TATF should work with MediaWiki 1.36 and 1.37, however it has not yet been tested with any version >1.35. If there are any version-related issues, we would only expect them to affect MIME types configured to use the wrapping handler-strategy.

  • TATF's metadata property processing/formatting is still under development, and is currently pretty coarse. The current efforts have focused on properties that would be found in document files (versus properties found in image files, which are already handled by MediaWiki). We try to use existing MW core facilities for interpretation and localization, but Tika provides a lot of novel properties. Setting up localization for Tika-only properties is on the ToDo list.

  • See TODO comments in the source code.


TikaAllTheFiles is licensed under GPL 3.0 (or any later version). See LICENSE for details.

SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0-or-later