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Welcome to TiddlyWiki5

Welcome to TiddlyWiki5, a reboot of TiddlyWiki, the venerable, reusable non-linear personal web notebook first released in 2004. It is a complete interactive wiki that can run from a single HTML file in the browser or as a powerful node.js application.

TiddlyWiki5 is currently in early beta, which is to say that it is useful but incomplete. You can try out the prototype at, get involved in the development on GitHub or the discussions on the TiddlyWikiDev Google Group.


TiddlyWiki5 can be used on the command line to perform an extensive set of operations based on RecipeFiles, TiddlerFiles and TiddlyWikiFiles.

The command line interface for TiddlyWiki5 has been designed to support two distinct usages:
  • Cooking (or building) old 2.6.x versions of classic TiddlyWiki from the constituent JavaScript components
  • Cooking and serving TiddlyWiki5 itself


node tiddlywiki.js <options>
The command line options are processed sequentially from left to right. Processing pauses during long operations, like loading a recipe file and all the subrecipes and tiddlers that it references, and then resumes with the next command line option in sequence.

The state that is carried between options is as follows:
  • The set of tiddlers that are currently loaded into memory
  • The recipe file last used to load tiddlers (recipe files are used primarily to manage shadow tiddlers)
  • The TiddlerFileStore used to store the main content tiddlers. This is independent of the current recipe

The following options are available:
--recipe <filepath>Loads a specfied .recipe file
--load <filepath>Load additional tiddlers from 2.x.x TiddlyWiki files (.html), .tiddler, .tid, .json or other files
--store <dirpath>Load a specified TiddlerFileStore
--links noneDetermines how links will be generated by subsequent options. See below for details
--savewiki <dirpath>Saves all the loaded tiddlers as a single file TiddlyWiki called index.html and an RSS feed called index.xml in a new directory of the specified name
--savetiddler <title> <filename> [<type>]Save an individual tiddler as a specified MIME type, defaults to text/html
--savetiddlers <outdir>Saves all the loaded tiddlers as .tid files in the specified directory
--savehtml <outdir>Saves all the loaded tiddlers as static, unstyled .html files in the specified directory
--servewiki <port>Serve the cooked TiddlyWiki over HTTP at /
--servetiddlers <port>Serve individual tiddlers over HTTP at /tiddlertitle
--wikitest <dir> [save]Run wikification tests against the tiddlers in the given directory. Include the save flag to save the test result files as the new targets
--dumpstoreDump the TiddlyWiki store in JSON format
--dumprecipeDump the current recipe in JSON format
--verboseverbose output, useful for debugging


This example loads the tiddlers from a TiddlyWiki HTML file and makes them available over HTTP:
node tiddlywiki.js --load mywiki.html --servewiki
This example cooks a TiddlyWiki from a recipe:
node tiddlywiki.js --recipe --savewiki tmp/
This example ginsus a TiddlyWiki into its constituent tiddlers:
node tiddlywiki.js --load mywiki.html --savetiddlers tmp/tiddlers


The HTTP serving functionality built into TiddlyWiki5 is designed to support personal use scenarios. If you want to flexibly and robustly share tiddlers on the web for multiple users, you should use TiddlyWeb or TiddlySpace.

--servewiki and --servetiddlers are for different purposes and should not be used together. The former is for TiddlyWiki core developers who want to be able to edit the TiddlyWiki source files in a text editor and view the results in the browser by clicking refresh; it is slow because it reloads all the TiddlyWiki JavaScript files each time the page is loaded. The latter is for experimenting with the new wikification engine.

--wikitest looks for *.tid files in the specified folder. It then wikifies the tiddlers to both "text/plain" and "text/html" format and checks the results against the content of the *.html and *.txt files in the same directory.

--links controls the way that links are generated. Currently, the only option supported is:

none: Tiddler links are disabled


Test Scripts

Three test scripts are provided, each as a Mac OS X *.sh bash script and a Windows *.bat batch file. In each case they should be run with the current directory set to the directory in which they reside.

  • cooks the main recipe for TiddlyWiki 2.6.5 and compares it with the results of the old build process (ie, running cook.rb and then opening the file in a browser and performing a 'save changes' operation). It also runs a series of wikifications tests that work off the data in test/wikitests/.
  • builds TiddlyWiki5 as a static HTML file
  • serves TiddlyWiki5 over HTTP on port 8080



The heart of TiddlyWiki can be seen as an extensible representation transformation engine. Given the text of a tiddler and its associated MIME type, the engine can produce a rendering of the tiddler in a new MIME type. Furthermore, it can efficiently selectively update the rendering to track any changes in the tiddler or its dependents.

The most important transformations are from text/x-tiddlywiki wikitext into text/html or text/plain but the engine is used throughout the system for other transformations, such as converting images for display in HTML, sanitising fragments of JavaScript, and processing CSS.

The key feature of wikitext is the ability to include one tiddler within another (usually referred to as transclusion). For example, one could have a tiddler called Disclaimer that contains the boilerplate of a legal disclaimer, and then include it within lots of different tiddlers with the macro call <<tiddler Disclaimer>>. This simple feature brings great power in terms of encapsulating and reusing content, and evolving a clean, usable implementation architecture to support it efficiently is a key objective of the TiddlyWiki5 design.

It turns out that the transclusion capability combined with the selective refreshing mechanism provides a good foundation for building TiddlyWiki's user interface itself. Consider, for example, the StoryMacro in its simplest form:
<<story story:MyStoryTiddler>>
The story macro looks for a list of tiddler titles in the tiddler MyStoryTiddler, and displays them in sequence. The subtle part is that subsequently, if MyStoryTiddler changes, the <<story>> macro is selectively re-rendered. So, to navigate to a new tiddler, code merely needs to add the name of the tiddler and a line break to the top of MyStoryTiddler:
var storyTiddler = store.getTiddler("MyStoryTiddler");
store.addTiddler(new Tiddler(storyTiddler,{text: navigateTo + "\n" + storyTiddler.text}));
The mechanisms that allow all of this to work are fairly intricate. The sections below progressively build the key architectural concepts of TiddlyWiki5 in a way that should provide a good basis for exploring the code directly.


Tiddlers are an immutable dictionary of name:value pairs called fields.

The only field that is required is the title field, but useful tiddlers also have a text field, and some or all of the standard fields modified, modifier, created, creator, tags and type.

Hardcoded in the system is the knowledge that the tags field is a string array, and that the modified and created fields are JavaScript Date objects. All other fields are strings.

The type field identifies the representation of the tiddler text with a MIME type.


Groups of uniquely titled tiddlers are contained in WikiStore objects.

The WikiStore also manages the plugin modules used for macros, and operations like serializing, deserializing, parsing and rendering tiddlers.

Each WikiStore is connected to another shadow store that is used to provide default content. Under usual circumstances, when an attempt is made to retrieve a tiddler that doesn't exist in the store, the search continues into its shadow store (and so on, if the shadow store itself has a shadow store).

WikiStore Events

Clients can register event handlers with the WikiStore object. Event handlers can be registered to be triggered for modifications to any tiddler in the store, or with a filter to only be invoked when a particular tiddler or set of tiddlers changes.

Whenever a change is made to a tiddler, the wikistore registers a nexttick handler (if it hasn't already done so). The nexttick handler looks back at all the tiddler changes, and dispatches any matching event handlers.

Parsing and Rendering

TiddlyWiki parses the content of tiddlers to build an internal tree representation that is used for several purposes:
  • Rendering a tiddler to other formats (e.g. converting wikitext to HTML)
  • Detecting outgoing links from a tiddler, and from them...
  • ...computing incoming links to a tiddler
  • Detecting tiddlers that are orphans with no incoming links
  • Detecting tiddlers that are referred to but missing
The parse tree is built when needed, and then cached by the WikiStore until the tiddler changes.

TiddlyWiki5 uses multiple parsers:
  • Wikitext (text/x-tiddlywiki) in js/WikiTextParser.js
  • JavaScript (text/javascript) in js/JavaScriptParser.js
  • Images (image/png and image/jpg) in js/ImageParser.js
  • JSON (application/json) in js/JSONParser.js
Additional parsers are planned:
  • CSS (text/css)
  • Recipe (text/x-tiddlywiki-recipe)
One global instance of each parser is instantiated in js/App.js and registered with the main WikiStore object.

The parsers are all used the same way:
var parseTree = parser.parse(type,text) // Parses the text and returns a parse tree object
The parse tree object exposes the following fields:
var renderer = parseTree.compile(type); // Compiles the parse tree into a renderer for the specified MIME type
console.log(parseTree.toString(type)); // Returns a readable string representation of the parse tree (either text/html or text/plain)
var dependencies = parseTree.dependencies; // Gets the dependencies of the parse tree (see below)
The dependencies are returned as an object like this:
    tiddlers: {"tiddlertitle1": true, "tiddlertitle2": false},
    dependentAll: false
The tiddlers field is a hashmap of the title of each tiddler that is linked or included in the current one. The value is true if the tiddler is a 'fat' dependency (ie the text is included in some way) or false if the tiddler is a skinny dependency.

The dependentAll field is used to indicate that the tiddler contains a macro that scans the entire pool of tiddlers (for example the <<list>> macro), and is potentially dependent on any of them. The effect is that the tiddler should be rerendered whenever any other tiddler changes.


The parseTree.compile(type) method returns a renderer object that contains a JavaScript function that generates the new representation of the original parsed text.

The renderer is invoked as follows:
var renderer = parseTree.compile("text/html");
var html = renderer.render(tiddler,store);
The tiddler parameter to the render method identifies the tiddler that is acting as the context for this rendering — for example, it provides the fields displayed by the <<view>> macro. The store parameter is used to resolve any references to other tiddlers.


When rendering to the HTML/SVG DOM in the browser, TiddlyWiki5 also allows a previous rendering to be selectively updated in response to changes in dependent tiddlers. At the moment, only the WikiTextRenderer supports rerendering.

The rerender method on the renderer is called as follows:
var node = document.getElementById("myNode");
var renderer = parseTree.compile("text/html");
myNode.innerHTML = renderer.render(tiddler,store);
// And then, later:
The parameters to rerender() are:
nodeA reference to the DOM node containing the rendering to be rerendered
changesA hashmap of {title: "created|modified|deleted"} indicating which tiddlers have changed since the original rendering
tiddlerThe tiddler providing the rendering context
storeThe store to use for resolving references to other tiddlers
renderStepSee below
Currently, the only macro that supports rerendering is the <<story>> macro; all other macros are rerendered by calling the ordinary render() method again. The reason that the <<story>> macro goes to the trouble of having a rerender() method is so that it can be carefully selective about not disturbing tiddlers in the DOM that aren't affected by the change. If there were, for instance, a video playing in one of the open tiddlers it would be reset to the beginning if the tiddler were rerendered.

Planned WikiText Features

It is proposed to extend the existing TiddlyWiki WikiText syntax with the following extensions

  1. Addition of **bold** character formatting
  2. Addition of `backtick for code` character formatting
  3. Addition of WikiCreole-style forced line break, e.g. force\\linebreak
  4. Addition of WikiCreole-style headings, e.g. ==Heading
  5. Addition of WikiCreole-style headings in tables, e.g. |=|=table|=header|
  6. Addition of white-listed HTML and SVG tags intermixed with wikitext
  7. Addition of WikiCreole-style pretty links, e.g. [[description -> link]]
  8. Addition of multiline macros, e.g.
param1: Parameter value
param2: value
"unnamed parameter"
param4: ((
A multiline parameter that can go on for as long as it likes
and contain linebreaks.
  1. Addition of typed text blocks, e.g.
        return "This will have syntax highlighting applied"

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