I keep an eye out for new ideas in Wiki technology (see my post from February Looking at Wiki), and I recently became fascinated by TiddlyWiki. It is sort of a one-page client-only Wiki written completely in Javascript and HTML. Like my Edit This Page PHP, it appears to be an elegant experiment to look into the future of this medium of user-editable content.

The key feature of TiddlyWiki is that instead of Wiki Name links leading to new pages, it displays a new set of microcontent at the top of the current page, pushing your previous content toward the bottom of the page. Thus your link history is all on a single page rather then through your browser’s back button. You really need to try it out to understand it.

In its current form, TiddlyWiki is still really more a technology demonstration than a useful tool, as you can’t save the changes you make. However, there are people that are creating a PHP TiddlyWink based on it.

There are a number of things about TiddlyWiki that interest me. One is that it is more microcontent focused, rather then page focused. I’ve seen a few attempts to do blogs in Wikis and to date I have been unsatisfied – part of the reason is that most blogs consist primarily of a chronological series of microcontent, whereas Wikis tend to be more oriented around pages. The ideas in TiddlyWiki may offer an alternative.

Another unique aspect of TiddlyWiki is its approach to link history. I’m not sure if new microcontent should appear at the top, as it does in TiddlyWiki, or at the bottom, but it certainly is an useful experiment.

TiddlyWiki also seems to also be an interesting way to create hypertext stories – see for instance see the interactive fiction Baby Dog Sitter.

Finally, I see TiddlyWiki as an encouragement to other Wiki designers to see what can be done with client-side Javascripts. One of the reasons that Orkut feels so responsive is due to its use of Javascript, and OddPost does some amazing things emulating the Outlook mail client exclusively using Javascript inside a web page. FlexWiki is one of the few other Wikis that use Javascript in novel ways; however, they are Microsoft-centric rather than standards-centric, so I’ve heard that some of their features don’t work on Mozilla-family browsers. I’d like to see more experimentation combining Javascript and Wiki.

I look forward to seeing what shakes out as this tool matures.


I just posted about TiddlyWiki and found that you did the same. As I wrote, I think it has some good ideas worth stealing.

Don Park 2004-09-28T21:21:48-07:00

URL: Did you see the new version? The author of TiddlyWiki has released version 3 with many new features.

Will 2005-04-15T08:33:26-07:00

In the same vein and for “heavier” stuff: http://www.kevembuangga.com/hwk/ Alas, still in Beta and Firefox only Any comments appreciated anyway

Kevembuangga 2005-04-21T21:51:31-07:00

Life With Alacrity

© Christopher Allen