11 April 2006

Object Oriented Editing and Personal Wikis: Wildly Addictive!

I have been extensively using, for over a month, a personal mini-wiki tool called "TiddlyWiki". Do not let the deceptively funny name distract you from its powerful features! Over 3,600 del.icio.us users have bookmarked the original TiddlyWiki site by Jeremy Ruston. Why is it so successful?

A TiddlyWiki is a Free and Open Source, self-contained HTML file. That's it. No software, nothing needed, you can carry it around on a USB stick. It is similar to a wiki because you can create distinct topics that can reference each other. There are many flavours of TiddlyWikis, such as a student edition or the MonkeyPirate edition, or the advanced ELS Studio version.

A TiddlyWiki is incredibly simple to edit and to add new content: see this tutorial by JeremyH. There are a lot of good resources available and a very dynamic Google User Group.

I have used it to create and regularly update this discussion paper. Just as any other technology and solution out there, such as blogs and wikis, TiddlyWikis are not good solutions for all requirements. For example, Wikipedia would never fit in one TiddlyWiki.

TiddlyWikis are great:
  • For small web sites with micro-content;
  • For people (like me) interested in making non-linear papers available online;
  • For students, researchers, anyone wanting to organize personal notes and topics...
...And many more possibilities that you can imagine.

To be used in a Canadian federal government context, a brave soul would need to develop (a) a bilingual plugin (TiddlyWiki features can be significantly augmented with freely available plugins) to facilitate the creation and updates of bilingual tiddlers; and (b) a Common Look & Feel TiddlyWiki.