Monday, January 9, 2017

A TiddlyWiki Limitation

When you talk about a personal wiki in any context, it does not take long for someone to mention "TiddlyWiki" as one of the best and most useful implementations of this concept. I have never had any serious reason to doubt such claims, even though I personally never took to any kind of TiddlyWiki because they seemed to "busy" to me. That's very subjective, I know. I was also worried by the fact that TiddlyWikis usually consist of just one file that needs to be opened in a browser. I am told that this does not present a big problem, as even large files can be navigated quickly, but it was a worry.

In any case, neither one of these would have been the biggest worry. I found out today that a TiddlyWiki does not keep track of all the tiddlers that refer to a renamed tiddler. Renaming a tiddler breaks all the links.[1] But, one of the most important things of any wiki-like application for me is just this: the application keeps track of everything that links to a particular topic or entry, and I do not have to worry at all about what happens when I rename it. This seems to me an essential part of any "wiki." I am glad, therefore, that I never seriously tried to make TiddlyWiki work for me. I also think that anyone thinking about adopting TiddlyWiki should seriously think about this. Can you imagine what happens in a wiki with more than 10,000 entries, if you have to keep track of such changes.[2]



1. https://github.com/Jermolene/TiddlyWiki5/issues/196, for instance.
2. Nor does this seem to be a superficial and easily fixed problem. I suppose it will eventually be solved ... but as far as I can tell, it hasn't so far.

1 comment:

Ibn Ishak said...

It is solved in the upcoming version, 5.1.14. Pre-releases have been out for a few weeks now, which means the RC is going to be out any day now. The version gives the choice to update all links to the given tiddler.

PS: Even more useful than the single file version of Tiddlywiki is its NodeJS adaptation, in which you can take notes in the browser itself, tag it, sort it and whole shebang, while storing notes as plain text files.