January 19, 2006

You found TiddlyWiki Yet?!?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by dgcombs

I’d been talking with a friend who is compiling lots of information about Beauty (with a capital “”B””). His work is slowly going up on a website he’s been working on to define Radiance.

He asked if I knew of something that could help him publish and get some more input on his thoughts and put some structure around it… a WIKI. Well, I’d been looking into WIKI’s lately and I stumbled on something pretty cool, TiddlyWiki. The author calls it a “”reusable non-linear

The basic idea is that we generally (like in this Blog) send information to readers one “”page”” at a time. However, humans absorb information better when they can take it in smaller chunks or tiddlers. The author calls this concept microcontent.

So TiddlyWiki is designed to collect and organize microcontent into tiddlers. You keep adding information until you’re ready to publish it. Then you take the single web page (which includes JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets) and upload it to your web server.

Or if it’s a personal thing, you can put it on a single USB Memory device and carry your wiki around in your pocket. A wiki on a stick!

Of course, something this cool is bound to generate a ton of variations. And so there are variations and adaptations galore. You can get a TiddlyWiki to do GTD (Getting Things Done) and one to organize your Student Notes and one to coordinate ideas. Not only variations, but people talking about using it and people making lists of variations!

One of the things that is less appealing is that TiddlyWiki is not designed to run ON a web server. It is designed to have no back-end database. It is all one single HTML file with embedded javascript. This means that you can’t share the task of adding content to the wiki. And this gives rise to a number of variations that use PHP, PERL, RUBY (and Ruby on Rails) and even Python to provide a backend for saving information.

Which brings me back to the problem at hand. For the initial purpose of gathering and organizing data, it looks like TiddlyWiki is just perfect. But once you get it off the ground, you might need something with a little more oomph. I’m leaning toward one of the PHP variants which doesn’t connect to a MySQL back-end (read lots more work!). It looks like it’s working for Tony!

I’m still looking.

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