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A reboot of TiddlyWiki for the next 25 years
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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 at version 5.0.0.a2 and is under active development, which is to say that it is useful but incomplete. You can try out the online prototype at, try out the command line incarnation, get involved in the development on GitHub or join the discussions on the TiddlyWikiDev Google Group.


TiddlyWiki5 can be used on the command line to perform an extensive set of operations based on tiddlers, TiddlerFiles and TiddlyWikiFiles. For example, this loads the tiddlers from a TiddlyWiki HTML file and then saves one of them in HTML:
node core/boot.js --verbose --load mywiki.html --savetiddler ReadMe ./readme.html


Running boot.js from the command line boots the TiddlyWiki kernel, loads the core plugins and establishes an empty wiki store. It then sequentially processes the command line arguments from left to right. The arguments are separated with spaces. The commands are identified by the prefix --.
node core/boot.js [--<option> [<arg>[,<arg>]]]


The following commands are available.


Load tiddlers from 2.x.x TiddlyWiki files (.html), .tiddler, .tid, .json or other files
--load <filepath>


Save an individual tiddler as a specified MIME type, defaults to text/html
--savetiddler <title> <filename> [<type>]


Run wikification tests against the tiddlers in the given directory. Include the save flag to save the test result files as the new targets.
--wikitest <dir> [save]
--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.


The server is very simple. At the root, it serves a rendering of a specified tiddler. Away from the root, it serves individual tiddlers encoded in JSON, and supports the basic HTTP operations for GET, PUT and DELETE.
--server <port> <roottiddler> <rendertype> <servetype>
For example:
--server 8080 $:/core/tiddlywiki5.template.html text/plain text/html
The parameters are:
--server <port> <roottiddler> <rendertype> <servetype>
  • port - port number to serve from (defaults to "8080")
  • roottiddler - the tiddler to serve at the root (defaults to "$:/core/tiddlywiki5.template.html")
  • rendertype - the content type to which the root tiddler should be rendered (defaults to "text/plain")
  • servetype - the content type with which the root tiddler should be served (defaults to "text/html")

dump tiddlers

Dump the titles of the tiddlers in the wiki store
--dump tiddlers

dump tiddler

Dump the fields of an individual tiddler
--dump tiddler <title>

dump shadows

Dump the titles of the shadow tiddlers in the wiki store
--dump shadows

dump config

Dump the current core configuration
--dump config


Triggers verbose output, useful for debugging



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.

Plugin Mechanism


TiddlyWiki5 is based on a 500 line boot kernel that runs on node.js or in the browser, and everything else is plugins.

The kernel boots just enough of the TiddlyWiki environment to allow it to load tiddlers as plugins and execute them (a barebones tiddler class, a barebones wiki store class, some utilities etc.). Plugin modules are written like node.js modules; you can use require() to invoke sub components and to control load order.

There are several different types of plugins: parsers, serializers, deserializers, macros etc. It goes much further than you might expect. For example, individual tiddler fields are plugins, too: there's a plugin that knows how to handle the tags field, and another that knows how to handle the special behaviour of
the modified and created fields.

Some plugins have further sub-plugins: the wikitext parser, for instance, accepts rules as individual plugins.

Plugins and Modules

In TiddlyWiki5, a plugin is a bundle of related tiddlers that are distributed together as a single unit. Plugins can include tiddlers which are JavaScript modules.

The file core/boot.js is a barebones TiddlyWiki kernel that is just sufficient to load the core plugin modules and trigger a startup plugin module to load up the rest of the application.

The kernel includes:
  • Eight short shared utility functions
  • Three methods implementing the plugin module mechanism
  • The $tw.Tiddler class (and three field definition plugins)
  • The $tw.Wiki class (and three tiddler deserialization methods)
  • Code for the browser to load tiddlers from the HTML DOM
  • Code for the server to load tiddlers from the file system

Each module is an ordinary node.js-style module, using the require() function to access other modules and the exports global to return JavaScript values. The boot kernel smooths over the differences between node.js and the browser, allowing the same plugin modules to execute in both environments.

In the browser, core/boot.js is packed into a template HTML file that contains the following elements in order:

  • Ordinary and shadow tiddlers, packed as HTML <DIV> elements
  • core/bootprefix.js, containing a few lines to set up the plugin environment
  • Plugin JavaScript modules, packed as HTML <SCRIPT> blocks
  • core/boot.js, containing the boot kernel

On the server, core/boot.js is executed directly. It uses the node.js local file API to load plugins directly from the file system in the core/modules directory. The code loading is performed synchronously for brevity (and because the system is in any case inherently blocked until plugins are loaded).

The boot kernel sets up the $tw global variable that is used to store all the state data of the system.


The 'core' is the boot kernel plus the set of plugin modules that it loads. It contains plugins of the following types:
  • tiddlerfield - defines the characteristics of tiddler fields of a particular name
  • tiddlerdeserializer - methods to extract tiddlers from text representations or the DOM
  • startup - functions to be called by the kernel after booting
  • global - members of the $tw global
  • config - values to be merged over the $tw.config global
  • utils - general purpose utility functions residing in $tw.utils
  • tiddlermethod - additional methods for the $tw.Tiddler class
  • wikimethod - additional methods for the $tw.Wiki class
  • treeutils - static utility methods for parser tree nodes
  • treenode - classes of parser tree nodes
  • macro - macro definitions
  • editor - interactive editors for different types of content
  • parser - parsers for different types of content
  • wikitextrule - individual rules for the wikitext parser
  • command - individual commands for the $tw.Commander class

TiddlyWiki5 makes extensive use of JavaScript inheritance:
  • Tree nodes defined in $:/core/treenodes/ all inherit from $:/core/treenodes/node.js
  • Macros defined in $:/core/macros/ all inherit from $:/core/treenodes/macro.js

tiddlywiki.plugin files

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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