By Martin Stut, 2009-02-02

I developed the habit of trying to document everything I do. So I need a piece of software to quickly take notes and put them into relationships later. A wiki is likely to fill that need. While testing various server based wikis for my job (the largest branch is looking for a centralized documentation system), I discovered an implementation I'd call an eye-opener: TiddlyWiki. The entire wiki is stored as a single, large (250 kB) HTML file. All the logic is implemented in JavaScript. I hadn't thought before that such an application could be feasible in JavaScript - that's why I call it an eye-opener.
Having all data in a single file and letting the browser run the logic makes it not well suited for group access, but ideal for personal use on a USB key. No installation required, just a decent web browser - optimized for Firefox, also working on IE. If you want to publish information contained in a TiddlyWiki, or just want a web hosting service for your private data, you can create a free account at I didn't try that, but many others have.

TiddlyWiki can be extended by plugins and these can be updated through the TiddlyWiki synchronization feature. Several people have created such extensions, so there are many variants of TiddlyWiki around. All of them share the same core code.

After adding a few pages, I found it cumbersome to create the internal links. This is the reason, why I don't consider server based wiki an option for quick documentation writing (though wikis are great for documentation publishing and collaboration). Then I stumbled across a TiddlyWiki variant called MPTW. It contains a few function buttons which make life a lot easier for documentation:

Try it and you'll love it.