Using the Wikipedia API - Live Demo with Source Code

wikipedia api

Wikipedia recently introduced a new auto-complete search feature that offers keyword suggestions in real-time as you type the characters in the Wikipedia search box.

For instance, if you type “GOO”, the drop down will show titles of all Wikipedia entries that begin with the word “GOO” (see screenshot).

This Google Suggest like feature is actually built on an undocumented but public Wikipedia API that can easily be used to retrieve useful information from the Wikipedia database. To demonstrate the use of Wikipedia API, here is a simple Wikipedia spell checker app:

<iframe marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="" frameborder="0" width="400" scrolling="no" height="40"></iframe>

The above spell checker fires an Wikipedia API query to see if Wikipedia has an entry about the word you just entered in the search box and says “Correct” if it finds one.

For the geeks, here’s the actual source code:

var url = '**value**&format=json&callback=**spellcheck**';
var elem = document.createElement ('script');
elem.setAttribute ('src', url);
elem.setAttribute ('type','text/javascript');
document.getElementsByTagName ('head') [0].appendChild (elem);

A related example - if you want to know about Wikipedia articles that begin with the term “India”, just the following URL in your web browser:

The above Wikipedia URL would return the following set of words:

[“india”,[“India”,“INDIA”,“India (album)”,“India (cat)”,“India (disambiguation)”,“India (name)”,“India (porn star)”,“India (region)”,“India (singer)”,“India (subcontinent)”]]

So what else could one do with the Wikipedia API ? Here are some more uses:

1. A Wordpress plugin which auto links terms to Wikipedia articles.

2. A “better” Wikipedia search which hooks up Google ”Did you mean” with the Wikipedia API, so that misspellings also direct to the correct article.

3. A Firefox extension which allows single click querying of terms.

The Wikipedia API was dissected by Pratham who maintains a very interesting tumbleblog at and tweets here. Note that this not an official API (Wikipedia is not talking about this yet), therefore use on a production system is not advised.

Related: Track Changes To Your Favorite Wikipedia Articles

Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


Awards & Titles

Digital Inspiration has won several awards since it's launch in 2004.

Google Developer Expert

Google Developer Expert

Google awarded us the Google Developer Expert award recogizing our work in Google Workspace.

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

Our Gmail tool won the Lifehack of the Year award at ProductHunt Golden Kitty Awards in 2017.

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft awarded us the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for 5 years in a row.

Google Cloud Champion

Google Cloud Champion

Google awarded us the Champion Innovator title recognizing our technical skill and expertise.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date.

We will never send any spam emails. Promise.