December 31, 2020

Interesting TiddlyWiki Apps

3 minute read


I continue to be fascinated by the world of TiddlyWiki, and have been trying to scratch an itch in my mind by learning more about it. One of the deeper aspects of TiddlyWiki, called out by its creator Jeremy Ruston (https://jermolene.com/), is that TiddlyWiki can be leveraged by non-software-developers to craft ad-hoc, well-tailored informational “apps”. This is very similar to how non-software-developers have used Microsoft Excel’s spreadsheet-scripting to do likewise in business, crafting custom programs to meet a need, without paying for software developers to get into the mix. And this is bolstered by how TiddlyWiki is entirely self contained (see Playing with TiddlyWiki).

Here are just a couple of the cooler apps I’ve learned have been built in TiddlyWiki.

mGSD

Some people might be familiar with Project Management or Personal Productivity apps like (non-exhaustive list) Todoist, Things, OmniFocus, and so on. These apps are probably all great and worth the money. I’m not going to say that TiddlyWiki is better than those dedicated apps…

But what’s cool is that, as far back as the 2000’s, the original version of TiddlyWiki (“TiddlyWiki Classic”) had a plugin/distribution that was basically the same as those tools: “mGSD” (formerly “Monkey Getting Things Done”). The website appears to be down, but thanks to the magic of Wayback Machine and of TiddlyWiki programs being self-contained HTML files, you can still view and even download fully-functioning copies of mGSD from back in the day:

GSD5

Someone wrote a port of mGSD for the newer version of TiddlyWiki (“TiddlyWiki5”), but from what I’ve read, it doesn’t have quite as many features as mGSD.

“Digital Gardens”

In You and your mind garden, neuroscientist Ann-Laure Le Cunff describes a “mind garden”:

A mind garden is… [about planting] new ideas… by consistently taking notes, and combining them together… Sometimes, two seemingly remote or even incompatible ideas will give birth to a new insight.

She goes on to argue that digital tools like TiddlyWiki make the best mind gardens. Notes jotted down with paper and pencil, are easy to remember but painstaking to edit and recompose. Notes dotted down in an appropriate digital tool, like TiddlyWiki, may not be easier to remember; instead, they are trivial to search, edit, and recompose.

You can read Le Cunff’s article How to build a digital garden with TiddlyWiki to learn more, and you can watch “TiddlyWiki Hangout #106” to learn more about her process:

Dungeons and Dragons Game-Manual

I “TiddlyWiki Hangout #107”, two Dungeons and Dragons game-masters describe how they built custom programs for describing an ever-growing universe of Dungeons and Dragons adventures. Not only that, they also have sub-routines for “character-generators”, to quickly create new adventures and characters on-the-fly during games. (This video is a bit long, but you can watch 5-10 minutes to get the idea.)

C Compilers

This one is more of a cool hack than an actual productivity tool, but for me it really captures the essence of TiddlyWiki:

© Jeff Rabinowitz, 2020