By Martin Stut, 2009-05-23

Earlier this year, I discovered TiddlyWiki, a single file personal wiki. It's all in one HTML file, loaded with lots of JavaScript code. Because it's open source, there are several variants. The ones I like best are MPTW (can create automatic cross references and hierarchies by smart use of tagging) and MonkeyGTD (a Getting Things Done system based on MPTW). I wrote about it already in my tech-blog.

I feel it's great for taking structured notes, but a bit hard to maintain for larger (> 100 pages) collections of information.
Using it on the road is easy - just open the HTML file in Firefox or another supported browser.
It's great for synchronizing between computers using a USB pen drive (just place and edit the single HTML file in your synchronized folder).
Finding stuff is easy too - it has a built-in search facility.
In MPTW it's easy to create a new note by opening the parent node (you can show a multi-level list of child nodes) and click on "new here".
It is easy to keep the data confidential, because the you just don't share that single big HTML file.

Sharing the entire collection read only is easy: put the HTML file on a static web server. On a file server, or on a specially prepared web server like, there would even be read-write capability, but always for the entire collection.
Sharing only parts of the information with others is hard, because it's hard to split a single file. In theory TiddlyWiki has a mechanism to synchronize single tiddlers (the equivalent of the pages of a "classic" wiki) with a web server, but I never got that working. Perhaps I did not try hard enough.

So TiddlyWiki is great for small-scale personal note taking, but not for information that's supposed to be available for others to read (and perhaps even edit).