Post by Jeremy Ruston
My own preferred resolution is to migrate TiddlyDesktop to a new
architecture where it acts as a local webserver, allowing any browser to be
used with TiddlyWiki.
I very much appreciate all the work being done on TW5, TiddlyDesktop and
various related projects. I'm just a hack, not a bona fide developer, and
not involved in the development of TW itself. So I don't really have
standing to opine here, but perhaps I could be forgiven for a couple of
comments from my own perspective. I think there are several different
potential objectives for TW as well as different kinds of potential users
that the TW community should think carefully about in planning the future.
When I first encountered TW, I was hooked by the ability to easily create
personal wikis for all the different kinds of information I deal with and
use them from anywhere I could get my hands on any browser, accessing a
single file via a USB stick or a cloud service like Dropbox. A great deal
of customization was possible by simply editing a CSS stylesheet, modifying
a couple of simple templates and perusing the wealth of available plugins.
could essentially create personal Web apps for myself and my students.
Sharing these couldn't have been simpler: one file. (I'm not talking about
multi-user; that's a different question.) Then, it was one file plus an
add-on for Firefox or Chrome. Then, it was one file plus an add-on, but by
the way you have to use Firefox. Now it sounds like it's on its way to
being shareable only with users that are willing to download, and install a
whole application, TiddlyDesktop. (I realize this is all the fault of the
browser developers, not TW developers, but it's still a problem.) Now,
maybe it'll be, we can share the file as long as you're willing to set up a
personal Web server...
Meanwhile, TWC evolves to TW5, which can do pretty much what TWC can, and I
guess a lot more safely, but is a LOT more complex. Other than a few
check-off customizations, anything beyond out-of-the-box use as a
note-taking program requires wading through a maze of templates,
$-something tiddlers, widgets, filters...
So, one way to see TW is as a tool to create personal wikis and Web apps
for computer gurus. This works for me to some extent - I may be just a
hack, but I enjoy this stuff, and that makes it worth it to install apps to
keep them going, re-learn everything the TW5 way and perhaps even to wade
into something like node.js if that's what's necessary to run TWs via a
future TiddlyDesktop server. But the complexity required keeps increasing,
and the gain in functionality is pretty much zero. (I've yet to find
anything I can do with TW5 or via TiddlyDesktop that I couldn't do with
TWC, not to say those things don't exist.)
Beyond the developer, how does TW play for the naive computer user? It's
already not a simple one-file solution. And, with TW5, the average person
pretty much can't customize anything but themes and background colors and
is likely to be befuddled by the huge lists of mysterious tiddlers in the
sidebar. S/he's not likely to install a Web server to run it, if s/he even
has admin access to his/her own computer.
Are there possible ways for TW to work for both audiences (and those
in-between), or are we content to have it be basically a developer's toy
(albeit a really cool one)? I don't know enough to know if a creative
solution to the problems of browser security is even possible. Thinking
pie-in-the-sky, I'd wonder about the feasibility of something like an app
built on the Dropbox API or perhaps the Google Drive platform that a user
could readily connect to his/her account and then gain access to
full-powered single-file TWs.
That's my $0.02. Thanks for listening.
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