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Archive for November 14th, 2008

TabbedSinglePageMode for TiddlyWiki

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SinglePageMode” is a typically neat little TiddlyWiki plugin created by Eric Shulman. It restores the more conventional wiki behaviour of having a single page open at once, so that clicking on a link replaces the current page, rather than inserting it below, as TiddlyWiki usually does.

Eric’s plugin has been deservedly highly popular. It seems that for a significant proportion of situations/users, the default TiddlyWiki behaviour of having multiple tiddlers at once is just too complicated. Having a community plugin to ‘fix’ this is a great solution, allowing TiddlyWiki users to choose which behaviour they prefer.

But, from an interface perspective, one of the things I find troubling about the current implementation of SinglePageMode is that it rather takes away the whole point of TiddlyWiki: after all, it started out as an experiment in having multiple wiki pages at once, with a view to making it easier to refactor content between pages. It’s also frustrating to have to have two separate modes of operation, with slightly inconsistent behaviour.

I’ve given quite a lot of thought to how one might somehow unify these two modes, to give the clarity of single page mode without giving up on the ability to quickly flick between multiple open tiddlers. I just came across some sketches buried in an old virtual machine from 2006 that show one approach that still looks like it might be interesting.

When a single tiddler is displayed, it looks much like an ordinary TiddlyWiki screen:

with a single tiddler open

When a tiddler link is clicked on, the new tiddler opens in front of the previous one, building up breadcrumbs as a sort of rolodex of tabs:

withbreadcrumbs

Then the idea was that by riffling the mouse over the breadcrumbs you’d get a popup that allowed you flick back and refer to an earlier tiddler:

hoverbreadcrumbs

I’m not sure why I drew the popup at a reduced size, I’m not sure that that’s a good idea. I’d also intended to draw a frame showing a similar popup when hovering over any tiddler link.

I took some care to try to make it possible to implement this design with minimal changes to the TiddlyWiki internal Story object, it should be possible to do most of the work with CSS. I was imagining that there might be an ‘expand’ button over near the breadcrumbs that floops the various tiddlers out to their fully expanded size, looking like an ordinary TiddlyWiki.

Although I never implemented this design, I’ve not stopped thinking about these issues, and am exploring some of them in Project Cecily.

UPDATE: There’s some further discussion on the TiddlyWiki developers group.

Written by jermolene

November 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Posted in development, tiddlywiki