I was seeing some odd behavior in 1.19 alpha, so I decided to focus my attention on 1.18 instead, thereby increasing my confidence that my work would be against a known-good version of MediaWiki. Like 1.19 alpha, 1.18 is mostly working -- but here's a head scratcher. I'm getting strange rendering of some characters, such as the hyphen (-). Here's a page as seen in MediaWiki 1.18 on Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, and IIS 7.0. Notice the messed up "Model-View-Controller" in the table of contents. The page was copied over from the English Wikipedia. Here's what's very strange. The SQL database has hyphens in it, nothing remarkable. When I select the "Edit" tab, I can see the hyphens in the text box, so I press preview. The result looks fine! The table of contents now shows "Model-View-Controller". Why is the rendering different between the preview and the rendered page? Except for the database access, the code is pretty much identical between the official 1.18 code and my variant.
MediaWiki 1.19 alpha is up on Windows, with testing and perhaps modifications to come. Needs to use previous, rather than current version of the installer (as of NOLA Hackathon), but Max, who works on the installer, is aware of the problem, so I expect a newer version of the installer will work as well. Also, compression of values stored to the objectstore is disabled for this version, since I'm having problems when I compress and decompress those values.