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TiddlyWiki bookshelf

Posted 02-13-2015 at 04:02 PM by BenCollver

Back in the day, my brother introduced me to and it was good. The site gradually became more and more Javascript-intense until I couldn't use it from my netbook. The mobile site worked for a while, but then it too became unusable on my netbook. The injustice of it all! It was all the excuse I needed for a new programming project.

I had recently finished a book Introduction to Object-oriented Programming by Timothy Budd [1], and was eager to apply it. I wrote an object-oriented TCL script that featured 3 interfaces (CLI, CGI, and GUI) and 2 data stores (CSV and SQL). I also made a simple query language with a parser and adapter for CSV and SQL. The script was able to import and export the goodreads CSV format. I maintained this script for a few years. As much fun as it was to write, the software was over-engineered [2] and not something I wanted to show in public.

Ansible got me hooked on YAML, so I wrote a small script to convert my SQLite book database into a separate YAML file for each book. Around the same time, I wrote a file indexer and search engine on top of SQLite's full text search feature. Between ed, grep, and a web browser, my bases were covered.

Lately I have been listening to podcasts about web development and related topics. Much time is spent talking about front-end development, and I have seen some single-page applications. I needed a wiki for something at work. Clearly it was time for another programming project.

I played with DokuWiki and TiddlyWiki. TiddlyWiki's flexibility and minimalism won me over. By default, TiddlyWiki runs entirely in the web browser. TiddlyWiki is distributed as a single .html file with functionality in Javascript. When you save changes, it downloads an updated copy of itself. Wiki pages are known as tiddlers. TiddlyWiki can batch-export and batch-import the tiddlers in JSON format. TiddlyWiki has a CLI thanks to node.js, which is a boon for automation.

I wrote a small script [3] to convert the YAML book entries to a JSON file for import into TiddlyWiki. I wrote another small script [4] to convert TiddlyWiki to static HTML files, which can be indexed by Google and viewed by plain-HTML web browsers.

I am happy with the results so far [5]. Javascript enabled browsers are redirected to the TiddlyWiki content. Plain-HTML browsers view the static content.

The main drawback is speed. Due to the size of the TiddlyWiki data, it takes extra milliseconds to load. But for the most part it is snappy and easy to use.






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  1. Old Comment
    Short follow-up: My tiddlywiki is completely unusable on my android device because of slowness. Another promising option is below.
    Posted 03-28-2015 at 08:58 PM by BenCollver BenCollver is offline


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