Posted by: Sam Carson | 9 August, 2007

Tiddlywiki and blissful simplicity

There is power in simplicity, like many my favorite toy growing up was Lego.  With enough Lego and imagination you could build anything, and have fun doing it.  I get a kick out of reading Tiddlywiki discovery posts, when someone “gets it”.  There is a Eureka Moment when the the power of this simple sheet of HTML code hits the writer.  When they discover it’s like Lego, and the possibilities start to open up.

I have three Tiddlywikis, and will probably start a fourth.  I have one that acts as a dayplanner and brain dump, a modified version of MonkeyGTD 2.1a that I call TiddlySnip Palace.  It sits on my desktop and I dump interesting things in it using the TiddlySnip Firefox extension.  When my Snipped content is in the Tiddlywiki, I can turn it into a ToDo process, or add a reminder to it, or an address.  I can link it to other processes or things that I have dumped.  It is like a mashup between Google Calendar and Google Notebook.

My most impressive Tiddlywiki is the Discourse Tiddlywiki, which is a notebook of course notes from my University courses.  When taking notes, using a Tiddlywiki helped to organize the ideas, and concentrate them.  The content I produced in this is all interwoven through as series of links and tags.  By publishing them on free Tiddlyspot, it crossed the line from note-taking for me, to writing for an audience (of nobody most of the time, but thats not important).  This made me digest and explain the concepts I was learning rather than just take notes.

These are two examples of how I use it, but there are so many other ways.  Some use is as documentation for software, others to advertise.  There are a few people using it to write books, the individual bits of content so easy to manipulate and arrange.  Some see a cookbook, others use it as blogging software.  For some it keeps inventory.  It is like Lego.

It’s power comes partly from the vast number of plugins for it.  For my TiddlySnip Palace, I took a GTD base and added an addressbook plugin, a reminder plugin (defecating the GTD process I know… I’m sorry), and tied it to my TiddlySnip extension.  Discourse works on an array of additional plugins, in order to make the tags efficient, and the site fun to work with (it was an excellent procrastination tool before my exams too!).

Like any Open Source software, Tiddlywiki’s power also comes from it’s community.  It is the friendliest Group on Google, and answers are provided happily and promptly to the silliest of questions, from a range of Tiddlywiki enthusiasts/aficionados.

If you have any stuff you need to organize, content to play with, or just want to have a look at what a “non-linear Notebook” looks like.  I suggest you have a look at Tiddlywiki.


  1. where did you get the addressbook plugin? I am looking at twab at the moment and am having a bit of trouble with it. Cant seem to find any other addressbook wikis thanks!

  2. Twab is what I’m using, and its pretty good for what I need it for in this instance, simple temporary address storing. But the lack of export is a bit of a worry.

  3. Nice post.
    I just don´t understand how do you take notes using MonkeyGDT, because in MGTD you always have to associate your entry with a project, a context, etc.

    How can I use it to take notes with just the tags i want, without having to be tied to actions, projects, etc.. ?

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