Tiddlywiki for note taking

Anyone here use tiddlywiki for collecting and organizing notes?

I have been using it for last 5 or 6 months and found it to be well suiting my needs. I have been a long time OneNote user from may be 2013. Started trying out new apps this year. I have used notion, obsidian and logseq for sometime. Remnote I have used myself and suggested it to my wife for her studies because of its flashcard feature. I finally settled with tiddlywiki, although it took a long time for me to learn how to use it and to customize it to my preferences.

2 Likes

I tried out Tiddly a while back and found it really powerful and interesting, but ultimately a bit too clunky and hard to use for my needs. At the time it also lacked bi-directional links, which several offshoots aimed to fix:

https://giffmex.org/stroll/stroll.html

https://akhater.github.io/drift/

Does Tiddly do native bi-directional now? Have you checked out the forks above?

In general, what decided you on TiddlyWiki vs. Obsidian, Logseq, etc?

I spent soo much time learning about tiddly since i found it interesting after using for some days. The good thing about tiddly is that it’s core features are mature and hence the experience is smooth.And it’s highly customizable so that we can make it the way we want it to be using plug ins ( I think about 600 or more plug ins are available https://dynalist.io/d/zUP-nIWu2FFoXH-oM7L7d9DM ).

I have tried many tiddlywiki variants including the ones you have mentioned like stroll, tiddlyroam, drift.

Other interesting implementation of tiddlywiki are (it’s better to try open the below links in a laptop or desktop. Mobile may fail to show the full functionality of these tiddlywikis)

  1. Outliner with two stories, floating sidebar and references, daily notes, TODOs, query as in Roam Research

  2. Horizontally sliding tiddler similar to Andy Matuschak’s Evergreen notes

  3. Muuri story view

  4. Tiddly research for creating flashcards

  5. Project Manager

What I did was - I installed plug ins and used features which ever I liked from the above mentioned implementations of tiddly and made my own custom tiddlywiki. And I am happy with it.

There is bidirectional linking in the 1, 2 and 4 implementation of tiddly I have mentioned above. There are a few plug ins for bidirectional linking like -

  1. Reference plug in of tiddly research - I use this plug in
  2. TOC-Generic
  3. TWCrosslinks used in drift

There isn’t much against obsidian…but I needed to use my notes (which include many images and videos) in my mobile and tablet also. That’s y I didn’t opt for obsidian.

Logseq is interesting, but it is only in the early stages. So what ever little bit I tried using logseq was little buggy. I still have an eye on it and may try it once they release the desktop app.

The only thing I miss in tiddly is a better web clipper (although it has a web clipper extension for chrome and Firefox, I prefer something like remnote web clipper)

I won’t say tiddly is perfect but it has won my heart for the time being. And it has a small but relatively active community especially in Google groups and Reddit. If we search in the google group, we can clear most of the doubts. I hope it grow further and attract more developers. Being so powerful, it deserve much more recognition than what it’s getting among common people. Only rarely I see someone talking about tiddlywiki in YouTube or twitter or discord groups which I follow. Could be because of steep learning curve or may be because it’s a free open source software.

2 Likes

I have tried to explore the rabbit hole of a Tiddly world , a while back , but didn’t have the time to invest in learning the tool and also partly because I could see that the note taking community was developing fast , which would mean that eventually we would have much more powerful apps coming our way . Guess I just didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning such a highly customisable and optimisable tool , at that juncture and I still hold the view.

That being said , I have a lot of respect for the technical prowess of Tiddly Wiki and also it’s community . It has been around for long and they aren’t going anywhere , as far as I know .

Another interesting avenue to discover would be : Org-Roam/Mode

Have you tried them ?

1 Like

The two apps which I spent more time ( remnote and tiddlywiki) has a steep learning curve…so once I found my sweet spot with tiddlywiki, I didn’t bother to try others app which needed a little bit effort to learn.

The problem with tiddly wiki which I faced in the beginning was lack of really good video tutorials to help start using it (like we see in YouTube for other note taking apps). It won’t take much time to learn if there was some tutorial video telling which are the plug ins suiting our use cases.

2 Likes

I agree , one of the main problems I had with adopting RemNote was the lack of video tutorials . I see that a lot of newcomers don’t find the tool daunting anymore to learn , partly because of more YT tutorials ?

1 Like

It’s must be a lot easier to learn now. When I started using it, there were only a few video tutorials. Remnote was a really good app. But I needed iframe embedds, twitter integration with was lacking in remnote. That’s why I started looking for other apps. That said, I am still following remnote to help my wife in making notes.

2 Likes

Hah, yes, this level of flexibility is exactly why I haven’t spent so much time on it, ironically. I think it is both a blessing and a curse. Being able to get close to “exactly” what you want if you invest a lot of time is good, theoretically, but for me it is not quite close enough to “exactly” what I want to make it worth it, at least from what I saw so far. But then I also value aesthetics and UI perhaps more than average, for example Roam UI and UX drives me crazy often times, yet many people love it.

Very cool that you have been able to create something you are happy with!

I definitely think the learning curve is a big part of it. But ironically I think also that open source software itself often does not inspire the same level of excitement in people as commercial tools. Whether that is simply because there is less money for e.g. marketing, etc., or some other generally common aspect of OS tools (e.g. less polished UI/UX), I don’t know for sure. But it’s definitely a trend I’ve seen. Open Source adoption tends to be highest among technical audiences, for example there is a ton of it in the visual effects industry.

I agree, Tiddly has been around a fairly long time and at one point may have been the best (if not only) solution simply because not many other great ones were being developed. Now we have a proliferation, an “explosion” even, of such tools with various ideas and implementations, and while it is challenging to be in the middle of it because of so many options, and none of them really “finished” such that they are clearly a better tool, still there seems to be a lot of potential to be able to use a tool with good features and have less work to do customizing and maintaining it.

I would say similarly that I am very glad Tiddly and Org-Roam exist, because they provide great examples and inspiration for newer tools to implement and improve upon!

Btw @arunnbabu81, I realized only now that in all this conversation I’m not sure I know exactly what you are taking notes on and for. I always think this can be a big influence on what tools end up being most effective for a person, because different needs (such as Twitter integration/connection) will suggest different apps or workflows. Would love to know more about what you are using Tiddly for and for what purposes you write and takes notes! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I am radiologist doctor from India. I started taking notes digitally while I was doing my post graduation during 2012-14. The main purpose was to dump whatever new things I learn about radiology from different sources like books, Facebook groups, digital educational posters, educational websites into a single place from where it was easy for me to retrieve them for my future references. My inspiration was one of my senior during my post graduation days, who used Evernote for his note taking. I used OneNote for my notes though. Data stored in OneNote were mostly text and images. I had tried Evernote in between, but never liked it like OneNote or never used it consistently enough to understand it fully. I was satisfied with the results (means I could easily search and find things from OneNote whenever I needed them during my practice).

Don’t remember exactly when, but mostly in the beginning of 2020, I started trying out note taking apps other than OneNote or Evernote. This search was not for myself but for my wife. She is doing her post graduation currently. She was used to taking handwritten notes before. But from what I had seen, her notes were all scattered in different notebooks and hence it was difficult to retrieve. So based on my experience, I suggested her to start taking notes digitally. Obviously I suggested her OneNote since

  • I already had a good experience with it.
  • OneNote also had the option for handwritten notes which was her favored mode of taking notes.
  • The amount of data needed to be stored was also not a problem since I had a Microsoft office subscription.

But I found taking handwritten notes to be too slow. So I started searching for other note taking apps so that she could cover all topics before her exams. I couldn’t find anything better in my initial sporadic searches. Somehow I stumbled upon notion (must be after seeing Ali Abdaals videos), and it felt interesting on first look since it was different from whatever apps I had used before.

That’s when i started thinking about making a shift from OneNote for my own notes. Another reason for the shift was due to the huge increase in online radiology educational contents in twitter, telegrams, YouTube compared to the time when I started using OneNote. So I wanted to add such interesting tweets or videos to my notes app. Since OneNote for Mac was lacking in many features compared to windows version, I needed an app which can embed tweets, YouTube or short case videos. Notion had all these features. But the free plan of Notion had 5MB limit for single file attachment if I remember correctly. Most of the case videos were more than 5MB in size. So I started searching in google and YouTube for apps similar to notion.

Thus came the Roam research from a video by Thomas Frank but it’s beta was closed by that time. But I wanted to check out the idea of bidirectional linking. So the search continued for free alternatives of Roam research. Thats when i saw a video by Shu omi regarding the same. From that video, Remnote and tiddlywiki got me interested. After initial try outs of both remnote and tiddlywiki, I liked remnote more than tiddly. This happened during May 2020. During this period I was entirely into remnote and made several notes using remnote. The main purpose of taking notes during that time was to learn to use remnote. Remnote however was a tough nut to crack initially. I had to go through the few available YouTube videos about remnote many times (this was the period before official remnote tutorial videos started). I also depended much on the discord discussions. I even made notes from those discord discussion. It was through remnote discord that I came to know about discords of most other note taking apps and even “the productivist” discord.

But remnote was lacking in the ability to embed tweets and iframe embeds. I had asked for addition of those features to the developer . But those features didn’t came when I wanted them (now I guess tweets can be saved into remnote using a third party plug in or using a tweetbot). Also image copy pasting in remnote was buggy at that time. So I was forced to try out tiddlywiki once again. And this time I decided to read through the tiddlywiki google group and it helped me to find many useful features. I tried out many plug ins from the tiddlywiki toolmap also and selected plug ins which were useful for my purpose. Thus I made a custom tiddly wiki for myself.

Now tiddlywiki is my only note taking app. My notes include mostly text (wikitext), embedded media including images, videos, embedded tweets, embedded pdf documents and webpages. Images, videos and pdfs are saved in my one-drive and I embed them in tiddlywiki to reduce the size of the tiddlywiki file. While writing this post only I realised that I could embed media in notion also in a similar manner from an external source (haven’t tried it out yet). But notion seemed little slow for my liking and also it doesn’t have local only saving option.

Things making me stick with tiddly might be

  • Satisfaction of making my own version of tiddlywiki
  • I understood that the “on demand features” of all current note taking app like hyperlinking, tagging, transclusion, aliasing, filtering, graphs were already present in tiddlywiki for many years.
  • it’s a mature software with smooth, slick experience (best among all the apps I have used).
  • It’s still being actively developed.
  • Single file tiddlywiki needs only a browser to run it.
  • data is stored locally.
  • There is an option to use markdown if needed( although I haven’t used it yet).
  • I think I can trust it more than other new apps to survive for a longer time.
  • finally it’s free.

One thing i found lacking in tiddlywiki in the initial period was the lack of outliner functionality. But with a plug in called streams, that issue also is solved now( it’s still being developed, so it can only improve from here on). With this plug in, each tiddler is considered as a node or block, we can indent, unindent, navigate through blocks using keyboard shortcuts. We can expand and collapse blocks/ nodes also. Thus block referencing is also easier now.

Other thing to improve in tiddlywiki is the web clipper. Although it can clip contents from webpages and pdfs(pdf clipping I haven’t seen in any web clippers extensions till now), I want it to behave more like remnote web clipper or eloquent web clipper for Roam by opening an instance of tiddly as a side window in the webpage being clipped to give real time editing while clipping possible.

That’s all for now. If anyone needs to know more about the plug ins I use, I can share it.

Hope I didnt miss anything. Sorry for making a long post. I was just sharing my experience. Never intend to say that tiddlywiki is the best or perfect. Just that it’s the one that i plan to use till I find something better suited for me.

1 Like

First of all , thank you for taking your time and going through your note taking journey ! I learnt a lot about twiddly wiki from this , which would have taken me quite some time if i were to jump into it blindly .

I would love to check out your version of tiddly wiki , if at all there is a way to share it without revealing your notes ?

I can share the tiddlywiki which I use for taking my notes. I will make a copy of that file (since it’s just an html file) and share that file after deleting my notes from it (will leave some sample notes in it). But I will have to add some notes regarding how I use it. Then only you can appreciate my workflow. Will share it after I have made the instructions part.

1 Like