Interwiki links are links, generated by specific wiki markup, pointing to a website registered in advance. For example, from any MediaWiki-powered website, you can link to the Sunflower article on http://en.wikipedia.org by typing [[wikipedia:Sunflower]]; “wikipedia” is the so-called “interwiki prefix”.
Until now, the list of interwiki prefixes available on a Wikimedia wiki was only visible in manually maintained lists. The Interwiki extension changes that by offering a special page of the wiki, available to all, and listing all available prefixes and their target.
Interwiki links are often intermixed with “interlanguage links“, the small navigation links that show up in the sidebar of most Wikipedia skins, and connect a page with their counterpart in other languages. Indeed, the new Interwiki special page shows both interwiki and interlanguage prefixes.
The special page to display available interwiki links was developed by Tiffany May Stevens in November 2005, because she was annoyed at forgetting the interwiki prefixes. Two years later, I added it to our version control system. In January 2010, Reinhart Wiewe requested that the Interwiki extension be installed on all Wikimedia wikis.
Since 2005, the following people have contributed to the Interwiki extension: Stephanie Amanda Stevens, Siebrand Mazeland, Raimond Spekking, Bertrand Grondin, Niklas Laxström, Alexandre Emsenhuber, Tim Starling, Brion Vibber, Jon Harald Søby, Meno25, Shinjiman, Purodha Blissenbach, Chad Horohoe, Rotem Liss, Jack Phoenix, Sam Reed, Aryeh Gregor, Platonides, Robin Pepermans, Thomas Gries, Chris Steipp and Amir Aharoni. This list doesn’t even include the 274 translators who have contributed translations over the past few years. Over the past few weeks, developers of the Wikimedia Foundation Localisation team have made a final effort to get the functionality ready for deployment on Wikimedia wikis.
Sometimes it takes a long time for something seemingly trivial to become available in your favorite wiki. Do know that volunteers, together with developers of the Wikimedia Foundation and other companies like Wikia, are working around the clock to improve each and every corner of the MediaWiki feature set.
Product Manager, Internationalization and Localization