A reboot of TiddlyWiki for the next 25 years
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readme.md

Welcome to TiddlyWiki5

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

TiddlyWiki is designed to fit around your brain, giving you a better way of managing data compared to traditional documents and emails. The fundamental idea is that information is more useful and reusable if we cut it up into the smallest semantically meaningful chunks – tiddlers – and give them titles so that they can be structured with links, tags and macros. TiddlyWiki aims to provide a fluid interface for working with tiddlers, allowing them to be aggregated and composed into longer narratives.

TiddlyWiki5 has many improvements over the original. It is currently labelled alpha, meaning it is working but incomplete. It is the best possible time to get involved and support its future development. You can:

Here are a few features of TiddlyWiki that you can explore:

  • Try editing some tiddlers here on five.tiddlywiki.com to try out the new WikiText. Your changes will not be visible to other users
  • Download an empty copy of TiddlyWiki5 from http://five.tiddlywiki.com/empty.html
  • Invoke a demonstration wizard: demo
  • Use TiddlySpot to host an instance of TiddlyWiki5
  • Save this wiki as a static HTML file: Save Static
  • If you're running on a touch browser like Mobile Safari on the iPad or iPhone:
    • The zooming chooser appears by swiping into the left edge of the screen. (It's currently broken but you get the idea)
    • The zooming navigator appears by swiping in from the right edge of the screen. (It currently only works in the 'Classic' storyview)
  • Play with the SubStories example to understand how the StoryMechanism works
  • Browse the list of AllTiddlers or the ShadowTiddlers
  • Examine the example bitmap images and SVG images
  • Explore the RoadMap of TiddlyWiki5's ongoing development

Usage

Architecture

Overview

The heart of TiddlyWiki can be seen as an extensible representation transformation engine. Given the text of a tiddler and its associated ContentType, the engine can produce a rendering of the tiddler in a new ContentType. 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.

You can explore this mechanism by opening the JavaScript console in your browser. Typing this command will replace the text of the tiddler HelloThere with new content:

$tw.wiki.addTiddler({title: "HelloThere", text: "This is some new content"});

If the tiddler HelloThere is visible then you'll see it instantly change to reflect the new content. If you create a tiddler that doesn't currently exist then you'll see any displayed links to it instantly change from italicised to normal:

$tw.wiki.addTiddler({title: "TiddlyWiki5", text: "This tiddler now exists"});

The power of this mechanism also drives the interactive features of TiddlyWiki. For example, try typing the following into the JavaScript console:

$tw.wiki.addTiddler({title: "ViewDropDownState", text: "(50,50,200,200)"});

You should see the view dropdown appear in the middle of the screen. The underlying mechanism is that the creation of the tiddler with this title triggers the display of the popup at the specified location.

If you're interested in understanding more about the internal operation of TiddlyWiki, it is recommended that you review the Docs and read the code – start with the boot kernel $:/core/boot.js.

Boot Mechanism

Introduction

TiddlyWiki5 is based on a 600-line boot kernel that runs on node.js or in the browser, with all other functionality dynamically loaded as plugins.

The kernel boots just enough of the TiddlyWiki environment to allow it to load tiddlers and execute JavaScript modules. Plugin modules are written like node.js modules.

There are many different types of module: parsers, serializers, deserializers, macros etc. It goes much further than you might expect. For example, individual tiddler fields are modules, too: there's a module 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 plugin modules have further sub-plugins: the wikitext parser, for instance, accepts rules as individual plugin modules.

Plugins and Modules

In TiddlyWiki5, Plugins are bundles of tiddlers that are distributed and managed as one; Modules are JavaScript tiddlers with a module type identifying when and how they should be executed.

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

The kernel includes:

  • Several short shared utility functions
  • A handful of methods implementing the plugin module mechanism
  • The $tw.Tiddler class (and field definition plugins)
  • The $tw.Wiki class (and 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
  • 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.

This readme file was automatically generated by TiddlyWiki5