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personal wikiOur story starts with something called TiddlyWiki. In a nutshell, TiddlyWiki is a single-file wiki, which makes heavy use of JavaScript. You can download it to your own computer, Dropbox or USB stick, and use it to maintain notes about anything. That’s lovely, but it’s not exactly a website in the common sense of the word. In sweeps Osmosoft, BT’s open-source research arm. Osmosoft took TiddlyWiki and added server-side functionality and other bells and whistles, ending up with something they call TiddlySpace.

TiddlySpace lets you create, share, link and organize notes online. It’s a personal wiki, but with some interesting twists.

personal wiki

Okay, that’s a bit busy, at least at first glance. Let’s take a closer look at that Getting Started note, and see what can be easily configured:

personal online wiki

Anything you want to change about your mini-site, you can change by editing special topics. A topic is called a “tiddler”, which is kind of like a Wiki page. It’s not called a “page” because the entire Wiki is one single page. For example, let’s change the site’s name by editing the appropriate tiddler:

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personal online wiki

Now that I’ve edited and saved the tiddler, the site title is instantly updated:

personal online wiki

To create a new tiddler (note, topic) on your fledgling site, simply click the new tiddler button:

personal online wiki free

Now you can just start writing your content, and save it once you’re done:

personal online wiki free

The end result looks like this:

personal online wiki free

The formatting is done using simple Wiki syntax, so to create a bulleted list, I only needed to start each line with an asterisk. You can also easily create links to other topics, of course (and you shouldn’t take my note too seriously!).

Tiddlers are divided into categories, and you can navigate between them using the menu on the right. There’s a special kind of tiddlers called “Shadows”, which contain configuration information. The SiteTitle tiddler we’ve edited before is a good example for a Shadow tiddler. There are quite a few of these, and some of them don’t even look like wiki pages.

For example, here’s the Advanced Options tiddler:

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You don’t necessarily have to share every note you make with the world; each note has a menu with several options, one of which being “make private”, which makes it so only you can read that note:

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Each TiddlyWiki hosted by TiddlySpace is called a “space” (big surprise there, I know). Each space contains quite a few configuration options, but what’s most interesting is that you can enable a wide variety of plugins for added functionality.

Here’s a quick peek into the extensive list of plugins:

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That’s just the beginning, and there’s definitely a learning curve here. Some plugins are not even documented with a single comment (such as TiddlySpaceCSRF – what is that supposed to mean?), but others are quite clear (and dare I say, cool) such as the ImageMacro plugin, which lets you add SVG images into your “space”.

TiddlySpace In The Wild

This is all a bit theoretical, I admit. Fortunately, TiddlySpace created a featured spaces page, showing a bit of what can be done with this interesting tool. Just two examples: TiddlyPocketBook shows how TiddlySpace can be used to create a slick cheat sheet:

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The other example is called colmbritton, and shows a funky homepage, with lots of social tools in the sidebar:

personal wiki

Bottom Line

Is TiddlySpace for everyone? Certainly not. But if you’re looking for an innovative, low-overhead way to get your content out there and let your voice be heard, you really should take it for a spin.

Let us know if you use TiddlySpace or another wiki app.  What do you like about it and why?

  1. Aibek
    September 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    In case someone interested in the locally installed wiki I suggest checking out Zim. It was covered a couple of times on MakeUseOf before.

    Zim: An Easy To Use Desktop Wiki For Your Life & Everything
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/zim-desktop-wiki-life-universe/

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/zim-a-desktop-wiki-note-taking-app-linux-windows/
    ZIM – A Desktop Wiki / Note Taking App [Linux, Windows]

    • 10piecesofcake
      November 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Zim is a completely different animal.

      TiddlyWiki is a webpage (.html), that consists of Javascript blocks - engine and extensions(tiddlers). Extension consists of header, content and tags. Normal extensions are just stored, they are static - they are "user content, notes".

      But a special tag marks the extension to be literally executed by the engine - this causes these extensions being able to affect extensions or how engine behaves.

      This is software written in JS that requires just a browser.

      It can be "locally installed" - just store that html file on your computer. If you put it on server and apply correct permissions to this html file, then everyone can modify it and its suddenly "global".

      Zim is a classic software. Its not good or bad - its just different. TiddlyWiki is far more universal and crossplatform, but ... you require a browser that correctly parses javascript.

  2. Aibek
    September 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    thanks for the tip

  3. Cell Travis
    September 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

    This is the first time I'm hearing about TiddlySpace but it reminds me (for some strange reason) of the quick notes and jottings I make in Tumblr. I think it would be a good minimalist complement to that platform.

    • Erez Zukerman
      September 23, 2011 at 7:36 am

      Yes, that can definitely work. :) The biggest difference, I think, is that TiddlySpace is not really time-oriented. It's more like a mind-map (or, well, a Wiki), where things are related by topic rather than by time.

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