Pet Pet TiddlyWiki

Sam Hart

2007-06-05 03:32:34

I've used TiddlyWiki in the past with things like the documentation for my ASAV Gateway that I've given in talks and presentations. However, I don't think I was ever really using it effectively before now.

In case you don't know, TiddlyWiki is this handy-dandy little Wiki that is entirely self-contained in a single HTML file. All of the Wiki-functionality it has is handled client side in your browser instead of server-side. This means that (unless you set up some complicated authentication system via web interface) all of your Wiki changes will be local only.

On the surface, this may not seem very useful, but that's only until you alter your perception of what a Wiki can be used for.

A Wiki as a Notebook

Imagine you're working on something and need a quick place to jot down notes or information as things come up. Perhaps you're writing an extension to Mediawiki that allows for easier integration with aMember[1], and, as you're researching, you need a place to put useful URLs you may have found, jot down the current problems, or have a running dialog with yourself about what issues you're facing and what solutions you've come up with.

It makes sense to put such things in a notebook, but writing them out by hand or using a text-editor is probably not the most ideal way to do things. You likely want to organize findings in a logical fashion and have the freedom to link from one segment of the document to another. E.g., it sure as hell would be handy to have a Wiki, wouldn't it?

For this need normal Wikis like Mediawiki and its ilk are complete and total overkill. They need scripting languages like PHP be installed, databases set up, and gasp web servers! This is exactly where TiddlyWiki comes in.

Save TiddlyWiki, Edit, Repeat

Just browse on over to this empty TiddlyWiki and save it to your local disk. Call it whatever you want, just leave the extension as HTML so your browser can know what to do with it. Once you've downloaded it, set up your preferences and begin to edit.

Keep using it for whatever needs you have, and get a new one when you next need another notebook. Simple.

The best thing about it is that your entire wiki will be contained in a single HTML file. Email it, copy it to a USB key, even publish it online. You can literally do anything you could otherwise do with any other file.

[1] : This is in fact the very thing I was doing when I discovered how useful TiddlyWiki can be when used right.