How make TW appear alive?

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Oct 19, 2021, 12:22:29 PMOct 19
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Just throwing out a problem I've thought about:

It would be good for the TW project to have more demo use cases: Real wikis that 
  1. are nicely designed
  2. take advantage the TW features
  3. don't appear abandoned
It is tricky to come across public wikis that fulfil these, BUT I'd think that many people here would be willing to share a copy of their personal wiki, anonymized and with sensitive data cleansed out. 

But the problem that remains is #3, preventing "appearance decay" because things age and feel dead. What ways are there to prevent visitors from getting this impression? 


Charlie Veniot

Oct 19, 2021, 1:05:49 PMOct 19
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Silly questions from me:

What does "nicely designed" mean?  I may find something wonderfully designed, while 99% of normal folk find the same thing awful.  Same vice versa.  That is really a subjective matter.  Better to have a gallery and let folk be drawn to what they individually consider nicely designed, and let them ignore what isn't.  Unless somebody wants to run a TiddlyWiki beauty contest...

What folk may consider gawd awful might actually sneak up eventually and be considered quite nice.  Aging like fine wine...

If one is looking for uses cases for features, who cares whether it is a nicely designed TiddlyWiki or not, and who cares whether it looks abandoned or not?  If a TiddlyWiki still showcases a particular feature really well years down the road, then it is still a very good TiddlyWiki to have around.  (I regularly find value in TiddlyWikis that have not been updated for many many many years.

If we forget all but "don't appear abandoned" as the task at hand, then the best thing is to continously/regularly update it.  An alternative/complimentary approach might involve having the wiki acting a bit like a portal, showing some dynamic content from somewhere else so it looks like the TiddlyWiki has a pulse ?

Well, I'm having a hard time imagining why "don't appear abandoned" would matter.  Maybe an example would help.  The only thing I can think of is monetization of the TiddlyWiki, but I can't see anything other than regular new content keeping folk regularly visiting a TiddlyWiki.


Oct 19, 2021, 4:33:46 PMOct 19
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What does "nicely designed" mean?  I may find something wonderfully designed, while 99% of normal folk find the same thing awful. 

So I'm talking about appealing to the 99%. If we look at, say, the "clothes design industry" we should realize how incredibly narrow our tastes are if we consider that clothes really could be designed in unlimited number of ways. Most of us have similar preferences about most things. (Of course, you and I have our own distinguished tastes and free minds... and that very belief is another thing we have in common with almost all other people.)

[...], and who cares whether it looks abandoned or not?

Before people become full tiddlywikians, then need to decide if they want to try out TW to begin with. At that stage, impressions and feelings matter a lot. Things that look abandoned or outdated are generally less appealing than things that look up to date and alive. I'm pretty sure people are more interested in a software where it says "October 19, 2021" instead of , say, "May 7, 2018".

[...] the best thing is to continously/regularly update it. 

Of course, but that means responsibility and effort...
An alternative/complimentary approach might involve having the wiki acting a bit like a portal, showing some dynamic content from somewhere else so it looks like the TiddlyWiki has a pulse ?

Yes, that is a good idea. Any good examples of how this can be done? 



Oct 19, 2021, 4:47:18 PMOct 19
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Ciao Mat

I think the whole Showcase thing is central to getting TW used more.

It is not so much about shiny wiki as about "fit for purpose". 
IF I am an anthropologist which version should I use? 

Early comment

Charlie Veniot

Oct 19, 2021, 6:13:36 PMOct 19
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I'm not clear on what exactly the problem is.

What problem are we trying to solve, how will making TW appear alive solve it?  Alive to who?  And alive how?

Yeah, I think I'm either over-analyzing things or things are too broad/unclear for me to contribute anything useful.

I do look forward to seeing how this discussion thread evolves.

Cade Roux

Oct 19, 2021, 11:18:29 PMOct 19
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I wish I could share the TWs we generate for our cardiovascular Data Mart product here.  We generate the data dictionary/manual in a TW and all our test outputs are in a few TWs organized by test groupings.  It definitely satisfies 2 and 3, as far as 1, I am still tweaking it to be more and more attractive and useful all the time.  We started off very simply because we didn't want to commit too deeply down a path which would limit us from retargeting our documentation to HTML or Word later.  However, as we progressed, it was more and more accepted to start using TW features more heavily as stakeholders started to get the hang of it, and there are some fundamental aspects of TW which we have taken advantage of to solve traditional problems in code/document generation:

Transclusion means that we can have parts of the TW that are manually edited and parts that are generated and that work can go along independently with each feeding off the other, without requiring significant synchronization between engineering staff and informatics staff - changes to the code/rules can be done independent of editing the TW template file independent of the data that is going to be imported from JSON to fill out many lookup tables and generate necessary tiddlers and indexes.  Normally with code/document generation, you have to decide whether the template or the content is driving the design and what we've found with TW is both are on pretty equal footing compared to past techniques like in Excel or Word where areas have to be labeled and then only designated labeled areas can be filled in and there really isn't referencing back and forth.  And you have to decide where longer narratives are stored and how they get combined in the document. And you have to decide how to handle multiple passes so that you can embed generated content in user content inside the generated content.  That is simple for us, they are always in a tiddler, potentially itself transcluding generated data, and it's all seamlessly handled by transclusion.

Macros/filters mean that the document in many cases is data driven on its own using TW features.  Typically in a Word or HTML document generation, you would have to generate the index, often our indexes are not even generated - they are tiddler list macros on tiddlers with dedicated transclusion points for including manual edited tiddlers in appropriate places.  Sure Word can generate a table of contents based on the heading structure in your document.  That is nothing compared to what TW does for us because of how we tag everything in custom fields and then can have all kinds of options for organizing and displaying indexes of the same data.

Tiddler grain - do everything at a small meaningful grain and tag/label data fully in custom fields.  A lot of this could be done with an HTML site generator, but TW has really saved a lot of work for us by us buying into the TW philosophy of fine-grained tiddlers.  So we use custom fields and tags and filters and generate tiddlers appropriately tagged for every element of our Data Mart and then they merge seamlessly with manually created tiddlers and index tiddlers which know how to group up different tags.

I know there are other tools we could have looked at, but based on what we did with TW, I am not confident that we would have achieved what we did, or as well, or as flexibly accommodating the ongoing releases of our Data Mart as we curate more and more data, with any other product or technique.




Oct 20, 2021, 3:24:43 AMOct 20
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On Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 10:47:18 PM UTC+2 TiddlyTweeter wrote:
It is not so much about shiny wiki as about "fit for purpose". 
IF I am an anthropologist which version should I use? 

An ancient one?


Oct 20, 2021, 3:38:47 AMOct 20
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му   "nicely designed" TW5 about  using TW5 as on-line store.   - without static cut. 
Every day people make  sites on my templates :)

вторник, 19 октября 2021 г. в 19:22:29 UTC+3, Mat:

Oct 20, 2021, 4:33:25 AMOct 20
to TiddlyWiki
Beautiful and functional.
I do not think though, that we would see many more example wikis, if held to such a high standard.

Hans Wobbe

Oct 23, 2021, 10:27:01 AMOct 23
to TiddlyWiki

I appreciate your interesting comments, perhaps because my age has advanced to the stage that my medical data is of much greater importance to me.  Also, I have become much more cynical about medical practitioners who share data with the BigPharma oligopoly and the inevitable consequences of well-intended attempts to make all of a patient's data available on-line so that GPs and Specialist can share a holistic view of a patient.  

For my part, I am much more inclined to build by own repository of all my medical information and share it with just the practitioners I trust and select as care-providers.  This is particularly true now that the clinic-based GP I start with, suggests that I find my own specialists, that he can then refer me to, since the Administrative wait times are on the order of a year for a referral.

In that context, I am inclined to ask you "What are the impediments to sharing the ... cardiovascular Data ..." you have.  Particularly given that you already understand fine-grained design concepts and that is should be possible to use these to anonymize a selective view of the information.



Oct 24, 2021, 6:24:08 PMOct 24
to TiddlyWiki is a beautiful example of what can be done with TW.
I've learned about it thanks to Soren Bjornstad in his book GrokTiddlywiki :

@Charlie_Veniot while beauty is indeed subjective, it is possible to use things like psychology and color theory to create a good design.
See for example - I can provide more links if you are interested ^^

Charlie Veniot

Oct 24, 2021, 8:18:11 PMOct 24
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Oh good lord, please don't.  Good design has been part of my bread and butter since 1995, and I enjoy it very much in that context, but it is an annoying topic for me outside of work.

However, that kind of stuff might be of interest to a whole bunch of other folk, but really should be in a separate thread.

My point is: I am concerned that "pretty" becomes something too important in general, something that discourages anyone from demonstrating some wildly good stuff done with TiddlyWiki just because the community has put a premium on "pretty" when not all folk have the time/desire/skill to apply all of the theories of pretty design.

There's nothing wrong with pretty design, but I look past that really quick because it is a fluffy distraction from the substantial stuff: what is it doing, why is it doing it, when is it doing it, and how is it doing it?

Most folk may not agree, but a pretty TW does not in my mind's eye make for appearance of alive.

All of that aside: if there's a desire to put together a gallery, be careful focusing on pretty.  If you're going to pitch TiddlyWiki based on pretty, there are all kinds of products out there that do pretty, and very easy for the layperson to do pretty with those products.  Might be hard for TiddlyWiki to compete with other products when it comes to easy-of-pretty.  However, TiddlyWiki kills at being a platform for solutions.  

If you want to showcase TiddlyWiki, then find the solutions, a bunch of folk who want to make them pretty, go ahead and make them pretty, then showcase the hell out of the solutions.

John D

Oct 25, 2021, 12:19:38 AMOct 25
Well you did ask "What does “nicely designed” mean?". Imo it only has two meaning - following "universal" design rules and/or personal preferences. Rather than discouraging, showing how we can make TiddlyWiki beautiful could inspire people to be more creative, especially since TW community is very supportive and friendly. Function is as important as design, because no matter how useful something is, if it's not pleasing to use (ie, the UX is bad) then it will not be used.

I agree with you, both "usefulness" and design are important. Projects like Nico's Notebook theme or Muuri Storyview by BurningTreeC helps bring more people aboard the TiddlyWiki train, and not only tech enthusiasts.

Here's another great wiki with an unique design that I like:

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Charlie Veniot

Oct 25, 2021, 12:52:16 PMOct 25
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Yeah, I did ask what nicely designed means.  Design theories, as you mentionned, is one great answer.  Having all related resources for that in this thread just feels a bit too much for the context of the original post.

A discussion about criteria for nice design (along with the related resources) could make for a right interesting separate thread of discussion.

Thing is, folk can look at something and think it is wonderfully designed, and the thing doesn't follow at all general theories of "good design"  All of the research in "good design practices/principles/theories" don't matter much when folk like something that doesn't follow any of it.  (That's when new "good design" practices/principles/theories come to light, which may be evolution or just latest trends/fashions/fads.)

Pretty designs can turn into awful when the design doesn't follow good practices.  For example, folk think something is the prettiest thing they've ever seen, but the thing has hidden interfaces (i.e. interfaces that only appear upon mouse hover or something else).  Hidden interfaces are brutal.

The example you give is interesting, very unique, cool in a way, very creative, and I want to run away from it because I find it hard to read.

Showcase TiddlyWiki's are like marketing.  Who are we marketing to?  And what are we marketing?

If we showcase "nice designs", non-technical and non-designer folk might get the impression that it is easy to have that design in their own TiddlyWikis.  If showcasing designs, it would be awesome for each example to have a plugin so users can have a TiddlyWiki that looks exactly like the one showcased, along with easy ways to customize and make their own.  If the nice design can only be had by those who are technically proficient and have the time, or by those who can afford to pay for it, it can be a little disheartening for those who are not techinically proficient, and/or don't have the time, and/or can't afford to pay for it.

I'm just thinking TiddlyWiki level of aliveness via level of nicely designed is problematic.  Showcasing TiddlyWikis based on whether or not they are nicely designed is problematic.  (Who decides, why would anybody submit cool TiddlyWiki solutions to problems if one thinks a solution will not pass the "nicely designed" test?).

But this is all a strange discussion (yeah, I'm going in circles) because I"m still not really clear on what problem we are discussing and how "well designed"  ("pretty" is just one attribute of oh-so-many) addresses the problem.

Maybe related, maybe not:  it would be cool if TiddlyWiki had a "sample vault" similar to the Team Developer Sample Vault.

Kyle Yates

Oct 25, 2021, 9:28:06 PMOct 25
to TiddlyWiki
Before people become full tiddlywikians, then need to decide if they want to try out TW to begin with. At that stage, impressions and feelings matter a lot. Things that look abandoned or outdated are generally less appealing than things that look up to date and alive. I'm pretty sure people are more interested in a software where it says "October 19, 2021" instead of , say, "May 7, 2018".

I arrived recently after trying some tools specialized towards tabletop GMs, they look nice enough but have a dizzying array of completely unnecessary clutter features built-in.  No plugin system. I wanted something like mediawiki that I could easily host locally, setting up a virtual machine for a php server would have been a pain. Looking at the list in Alternativeto I had initially completely passed over tiddlywiki because it looked too different and unique in the one and only screenshot there. I eventually came back to it, and I'm glad I did, but I did so reluctantly.

Everyone is familiar with wikipedia, or near enough everyone, who in their right mind puts the sidebar on the right and makes it half the bloody page? Looks even sillier on a widescreen display with fluid sidebar by default. Maybe this is great, maybe there's a good reason for it, but for the average user I think what matters much more then whether something is "nicely designed" or "not abandoned" is whether or not it feels familiar! Mediawiki looks way more dated than tiddlywiki, but people intuitively know how to navigate a wiki built on it because they have experience with that kind of interface. It's in their comfort zone to use and that matters more than appearances.

The "99%" you want to appeal to are already familiar with something else and probably aren't especially technologically savvy. That's a recipe for an uphill battle no matter how many web gurus can pretty it up, as long as the cool designs out there are one-off designs instead of plugins/templates to work from they won't matter one iota to a non-technical user.


Nov 6, 2021, 12:53:12 AMNov 6
to TiddlyWiki

I use TW5 in a medical setting that does not allow me to share either. The IT environment is very "locked down" and does not permit using USB thumb drives or CDs without elaborate importing protocols. I do use it for data retrieval and live demonstration. People routinely ask "how did you do that?" and I side skirt the answer to avoid the expected discussion where I explain it is composed of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript - "like the browser you are using right now". Regrettably, the TW5 core has a lot of additional features beyond my needs and, of course, requires attributions which effectively prevents me from sharing this great technology.
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