Help:Introduction to Templates

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Templates are a way to include in an article blocks of MediaWiki source which have been given a name. They used in the Computer History Wiki to prevent the reduplication of work and help provide a uniform layout.

For example, we have the template {{stub}} to indicate a short, very incomplete article. Instead of having to include this text manually on every such article, placing the text {{stub}} in an article produces:

We also have several series of templates which are used to provide information in standardized ways.


Infoboxes allow the uniform display of information based on a template. Custom data can be fed into the template by entering it into the article, for example:

{{Infobox Machine
| name = Apple I 
| manufacturer = [[Apple Computer]]
| form factor = [[Personal Computer]]
| year introduced = July 1976 
| year discontinued = March 1977
| cpu = [[MOS 6502]]
| clock speed = 1 MHz
| ram = 4 KB standard
| graphics = 40x24 character output
| successor = [[Apple II]]

Apple I
Manufacturer: Apple Computer
Year Introduced: July 1976
Year Discontinued: March 1977
Form Factor: Personal Computer
Clock Speed: 1 MHz
Memory Size: 4 KB standard
Graphics: 40x24 character output
CPU: MOS 6502
Successor(s): Apple II

produces the box on the right of the screen here. The Infobox Machine template is the general template for most computer systems in this wiki. See Template:Infobox Machine for an overview of the values you can use with this template.

To avoid the insanity of a haphazard set of datasheets for a million different devices, we've got some basic templates in place which we really would like you to use:

If these are not sufficient, or you have any requests or comments, you can discuss it on the talk page of this article -- the people writing the infoboxes are watching these talk pages.


For showing the contents of registers (in CPUs and devices) we have a series of display templates.

To begin with, for 16-bit registers, there are Template:16bit-header‎ and Template:16bit-bitout‎, which used thusly:

| Unused || colspan=7 | Length || Trapped || Written || colspan=2 | Unused || Direction || colspan=3 | Access Control

produces this:

Unused Length Trapped Written Unused Direction Access Control
15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00

Following that, a number of similar register templates have been created. For each word length, there's one header template (like the one above), shared between all the versions, and then one or more footer ones, which produced differently-formatted output.

They are:

Finally, motivated by how nice the 36-bit ones looked, grouped into 3's by colour, versions of the 16-bit ones with simiilar blocks, for both hex and octal machines (Template:16bitoctal-bitout‎ and Template:16bithex-bitout‎), were added.