What is TiddlyWiki?

The name (no, its not WigglyTiki!)

When ever I’m telling a friend or relative ( or enemy for that matter) about TiddlyWiki the name always throws them off.

“Tinkily What?!?!?” they always say.

“No, think Tiddlywinks, but it’s ‘Wiki’ at the end.”


That’s how easily the name issue gets cleared up.

The system (what does it do?)

After the name its easy to explain what TiddlyWiki (or TW for short) does:

TiddlyWiki is an HTML page that acts as a self-contained program.

That’s pretty nifty really. A pros and cons list would look like this.

  • Acts like a program
  • Saves its data back to its self


  • JavaScript is required.

The potential

TiddlyWiki also provides a host of possibities. You can expand its functionality via plugins and skin it using CSS.

Because TiddlyWiki has been developed ‘correctly’ and doesn’t use old styling techniques (like <FONT> or table based layouts, CSS powered styling is a piece of cake. I’ll get around to showing some styling tips eventually (another day).

Plugins are also topics for another day, but the perfect point here is that I used to take the base TiddlyWiki code and then have to hack it to add functionality. Jeremy Ruston, the creator of TiddlyWiki added the idea of plugins and macros. A plugin allows you to add functionality on top of TiddlyWiki without touching the internal code.

With TW plugins I can add in a a feature like a tag cloud without altering the code. The functionality will exist and it doesn’t have to bloat the base TW code fot other TW users who don’t require the functionality of a tag cloud. Now, TW has a relatively rapid rate of development with new versions coming out every few weeks so upgrades can happen frequently. The plugins won’t get over-written when upgrading your TW (as manual code modifications do).


So, ‘What is TiddlyWiki?’ Useful.

Other links and better explanations

Now I’ll probably say this a number of times, but I just need a bit of a disclaimer. This is my first public blog (and serial writing attempt) so feel free to kindly correct any of my writing or information.

Here are some other spots that do a bit of a better job explaining all of this:
Euicho’s better explanation (it really is a lot clearer)
BlogJones has a great tutorial.

3 thoughts on “What is TiddlyWiki?

  1. hey clint! what a surprise to see your TW blog just now! i’m looking for a tag cloud plugin and what do you know – it’s the example you give above – does this plugin actually exist or is it still just a concept? can’t find it thru a simple google search.

    i love how you describe the release management process above – TW certainly does redefine the merge new baseline code in with yours (ie. rebasing) indeed – very nice!

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