The open source non-linear notebook

#2 Product of the DayApril 17, 2020
TiddlyWiki is a free, open source tool for thought to capture, organize, and share complex information. Use it to take notes, keep your to-do list, outline an essay, or plan a novel. Record every thought that crosses your brain, or build a responsive website.
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33 Reviews5.0/5
Hey everyone! First time in a while I hunt a product—couldn't help but share TiddlyWiki! It's a fantastic non-linear note-taking tool. It's free, open source, self-hosted, and extremely modular ✨ It's been around for 15 years (which is like 75 in tech years), and the latest major version was released yesterday. TiddlyWiki uses metaprogramming. It means your notes themselves can change the behavior of TiddlyWiki. There's an amazing community creating such dynamic notes and plugins you can just drag to your own notebook to install. I installed a few and managed to implement bi-directional linking, transclusion, and even a knowledge graph based on my notes. You can also use it as a static website generator! Honestly, the sky is the limit. I wrote a short tutorial to get you started if you want to check it out. This short note also explains the philosophy of the product. Have fun!
@anthilemoon None of the images in your tutorial are rendering for me.
@stowe_boyd Ha it's the lazy loading on my page that does that sometimes apparently. Have you tried on desktop? Will fix this, thank you!
@anthilemoon Love TiddlyWiki -- been a fan for over a decade and used it for my personal note-taking for several years. I see it's gotten a lot more features over the years, but also appears "busier". Is there a quick-start guide?
@anthilemoon Hi Anne, First of all, congratulation on the release. I am documenting journey of individuals who are innovating, inventing, and creating things in general, through out the world. The proposal is to do a short interview, capture it in video, and let it out to the world, so that others can get inspiration. And, at the same time you and your team will get acknowledgement for the hustle. I would like to request you to please let me know when you are available so that we can discuss this in more detail at tellmeaboutit510{at}gmail.com . Thanks, and good luck! Subodh
Thanks for the wonderful write-up Anne-Laure! I'm the original creator of TiddlyWiki. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts.
@jeremyruston Hi Jeremy, this quote really inspired me: "Much effort in contemporary user interface design is directed at persuading unwilling, busy people to complete simple transactions, ruthlessly reducing the cognitive load of the task to fit the capacity of the lowest common denominator user." is it your conviction that that is a mistake in software design? or do you think this principle only applies to a certain type of tools?
@samuelbeek a lot of software necessarily fits that description (most of Google's web development advice for example is predicated on this idea that every site has to be super fast otherwise buyers will go elsewhere, as if everyone was developing ecommerce sites). The mistake is to think that all software has to be like that. I was responding to a reaction I sometimes get about TiddlyWiki: that it is self-evidently too complicated, that it demands that users have a sophisticated conceptual model of whats going on. Which is true to a certain extent, but I'm trying to meet the needs of people who recognise that they face complex, intertwingled problems, and who are prepared to to invest intellectual effort in learning the tool. So I trust my users to be smart, thoughtful and busy.
@jeremyruston Thanks, this makes a lot of sense to me. And it seems like for software like yours, this is the right decision. Hope to see this in more products, I feel like the mantra to make everything as easy as possible might limit us in some ways.
@samuelbeek @jeremyruston Any particularly useful or indispensable piece of software is usually non-trivial ;-)
Yes, it's excellent. I've been using TiddlyWiki for over a year now and (gradually) moving all my notes from Evernote, OneNote and other note-taking/storage apps I've used. I mainly use it through an app called Quine in iOS and TiddlyDesktop on Mac. There's something about Tiddlywiki that makes it a delight to use. It's also supported by a great Google Group.
Thanks @gary_hollingsbee much appreciated. I also rely on Quine on my iPad/iPhone, greap app.
I have this one problem with TiddlyWiki: I'm constantly tempted to tweak (with) it. It's enjoyable to the point of becoming addictive... A rabbit hole but in the best of senses! There is a learning curve, of course, but then... all you need to get started is (0) a browser; (1) an empty copy of this single-file marvel; and learning how to (2) save and (3) backup your changes. Take a look, you will be amazed! Start with 1+2+3 here: https://tiddlywiki.com/#GettingS...
@gr6a Ha! Indeed, the customisation rabbit-hole is awfully tempting, especially when you see successful TiddlyWiki sites like https://philosopher.life
@gr6a Yes, this is a feature as much as a bug! Sometimes a break from the content of my work -- to play with how to bring relations to the surface or how to visualize elements just the way I want -- allows me just enough wiggle room to "procrastinate" while still feeling productive... and I often thank myself for it later!
Tiddlywiki is *by far* the most powerful and customizable "personal brain" tool I have ever come across. You dont have to adapt your way of thinking and writing to TiddlyWiki. You learn enough about it to realize you can completely customize TiddlyWiki to be a reflection of you!
Thanks @diego898 I love that way of thinking about it