I have discovered TiddlyWiki, which (despite the name making Kevin chortle everytime I say it) is awesome. I found that page via an outliner/notebook annotated reference page, after going through many other links. (I wasn’t excited by a wiki organizer after trying out MediaWiki, which just wasn’t designed for one person). Once I hit the page, it took me, oh, a while to figure out what was going on.
Basically, it stores data in little-blog-sized entries, in the middle of menu sidebars, and when you click on an internal-to-the-site-link, the associated ‘blog entry’ bubbles up out of nowhere.
There’s a lot more fascinating technical-foo, like how it uses a single html file for both ‘software’ and data, and how it can add themes and so forth, but, well, end result, this is me.
I originally poked at MediaWiki (which is the foundation of Wikipedia) because I thought that a wiki might provide a good way to organize my thoughts, especially my creative ones. But, although I really liked a lot of the possibilities, I eventually stopped using my wiki without even really knowing why. I just had a general sense that it didn’t scale down properly– integrated change tracking, demands for copyright validation, etc. And though I didn’t realize this bothered me until now, it’s slow. I mean, sure, it’s as fast as all-text page can be when yanked from a mysql database by an interpreted php script. But it still takes a second or two for each page to load.
Tiddly is fast. Instant– the speed of intra-page links (because that’s what it is). And there’s a lot of space economy. In MediaWiki, there was a lot of empty space as I collected my data in paragraphs or even single lines. I’d click to a page (or open it in a new tab), look at it, go back. In Tiddly, I click, and instantly, an entry bubbles up right below the one. I read the data, and I either click again to close it, or click on something in that entry.
And also, the nice Tiddly people included some tips on how to optimize stupid Firefox so it stops caching my entire session history tabs and all until it devours all my ram and my computer creaks as it runs. (If you’re interested in those tips, let me know!)