How to build a Tiddlywiki website

This will be a step-by-step instruction on how to swap your WordPress website to Tiddlywiki.

Tiddlywiki is a non-linear personal web notebook. It can be used for many purposes, a place to keep writing notes/research, a database, a personal diary and an organiser for any event you can think of. For over a decade, I’ve used Tiddlywiki for planning my novels, for keeping my writing research in one place and as a database to keep track of that super secret side of my personality — gaming. Recently, I decided to start using it to build a new responsive website and transfer this website over to it.


For two main reasons. The first is that I’ve used WordPress for many, many years and I know it well. It’s been a “learn as you go” experience. And that learning experience was great. However, over recent years I have come to the opinion that WordPress is too bloated for what I use it for. And then late last year, my website crashed and burned. Apart from the fact it was hacked, WordPress has advanced so much that my internet provider couldn’t keep up and, because I had other things on my mind, the plugins no longer worked as I hadn’t updated them, leaving a website that was of no use to me. It was totally broken. Yes, ignoring the hacking part of this story, the website was easily fixed, but it made me wonder why I have a website with so many plugins to make it do what I wanted.

At that time, I received an email from a Tiddlywiki group that I’ve been a member of for over a decade about using Tiddlywiki as a website and that got me thinking. Here was a chance for another “learn as you go” experience. But the thing I liked best, and the second reason I am chosing to do this, is that “Tiddlywiki lets you choose where to keep your data, guaranteeing that in the decades to come you will still be able to use the notes you take today”.

The version of Tiddlywiki that I use to create the website will remain usable forever. It will only need updating to the latest version if I chose to do so. And I like that thought. Tiddlywiki is open source and all the versions work, even the old classic version that I started using in 2005. Yes, I have upgraded all my Tiddlywiki projects to the latest version, because I wanted to, not because I had to.

That’s the plan. I will swap my WordPress website over to a Tiddlywiki website. I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, I know that it will be difficult for me as I am not IT minded. But I love Tiddlywiki and I love the thought of the challenge to achieve the end result. And I intend to document the process as I go so that other non-technical minded website owners can follow suit, if they want.

So, the first step in the journey is to head over to the Tiddlywiki website and download an empty wiki.

I recommend playing around in the empty wiki to get used to it first. There are lots of hints and tips to go through on the official website. This will give you a good understanding on how the software works prior to starting your website project.

Once you have a general idea how the software works, there are two options:

  1. You can change the file from empty.html to index.html and create a one file website. This is fine if your website isn’t too big.
  2. Use a command line to create a “pages” website.

More on both of these options later.

Time for a Change

I’ve used WordPress for many years now, but find myself feeling that as it becomes more advanced, it’s becoming too big for what I want it for. There are so many plugins. Everything is so bloated. And I don’t want all that, but I do need certain elements.

Over the years, I’ve mentioned Tiddlywiki multiple times. I have several wikis that I use for my writing. Some hold writing resources and tips, more are used for individual book and/or series research and I even have one dedicated to publishing. Then there’s the more personal wikis – gaming, genealogy, and a (sort of) diary.

Since I’ve started rebuilding this website after that hacking issue, I’ve turned my attention to Tiddlywiki once again. My question was “can it be used to build a website” and the answer is yes. Now that is something worth looking into.

You’ll notice that I stopped “fixing” the website some weeks ago, yet I have been working on it behind the scenes this entire time. I feel it’s time to change from WordPress to something with staying power. You may feel WordPress has that, but after the hacking issue was fixed, my website still didn’t work because the base was upgraded and the plugins no longer worked. This left me with a webspace that did nothing. I believe that having a working Tiddlywiki site will remove that issue…permanently.

It’s a learning curve though. But one step at a time…

I might document the journey. Yes, that is a good idea. Stay tuned.

Australian Writers’ Centres

Your local writers’ centre can be a useful resource. Not only can you find like minded people to talk to (if you live close enough to visit in person), but most centres also have a library, an assortment of workshops, regular talks by published writers and they can even provide advice on contracts, agents, and publishers.

Becoming a member means that you have something you can add to your writer’s resume too (which never goes astray).

Below, you will find links to a number of Australian centres, with a short blurb from the appropriate website.

ACT Writers Centre
The ACT Writers Centre has a Meeting Room available free for use by members and a computer, printer, fax and photocopier available for use by members. We have a growing library of books about writing and by writers. We also sell books by members on consignment. The noticeboards are full of information about publishing, competitions, writers’ rights, and writing courses.

Central West Writers’ Centre
The Central West Writers’ Centre provides development and promotion services for literary activity in rural Australia in the Central West of New South Wales.

NSW Writers’ Centre
The Centre offers literary resources and professional information to established and aspiring writers of all kinds. It provides a spacious venue for events such as book launches, readings, literary evenings and lectures as well as meeting spaces for writers’ groups and literary organisations.

NT Writers’ Centre
The Centre offers a range of activities and services for writers including workshops, literary events, manuscript appraisal, a regular newsletter, special projects and an annual writers’ festival.

Queensland Writers’ Centre
Provides writing tips and resources, advice on handling rejection and rates of pay, details for workshops, seminars, competitions and much more.

SA Writers’ Centre
The Centre acts as a resource centre for writers of all ages and experiences. They focus on writing activities and work with a wide range of organisations to promote and encourage writers and literature in society.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre
The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre supports numerous initiatives that promote Tasmanian’s appreciation of literature. These include workshops, residencies and mentorships for Tasmanian writers, as well as providing professional advice to TWC members.

Victorian Writers’ Centre
The Victorian Writers’ Centre is dedicated to nurturing and promoting the diverse writing culture in Victoria. As the leading provider of information, resources and skills development, the VWC connects and supports writers and writing within the broader communities throughout Victoria.

Book Review Update

It took some time, because I couldn’t find a plugin that could help, but I am pleased to say that I’ve gone through every book review on this website (all 143 of them). All links have been updated where possible, or otherwise removed. All affiliate links have been deleted. All book cover images have been updated, and all reviews without a book cover now has one. I have also added ratings to the reviews where I had a rating on Goodreads but not here, leaving a handful with no rating (sorry, I didn’t want to give a guess based on what I had written).

My early reviews were a bit of a mess, and I have updated them as best I can so that they fall into line with the later ones.

As previously stated, the posted reviews are from 2005 to 23 February 2019. My next task is to try and find a later backup with the rest. Failing that, the other option is to copy and paste them from Goodreads and/or LibraryThing. Honestly, I don’t fancy that option at all. I’ll keep you posted (excuse the pun).

And on another note, I discovered something interesting (or at least it was interesting to me). During this long, tedious update process, I discovered the first audiobook I listened too was Shadows by John Saul in September 2009 and the first ever ebook I read was Realmshift by Alan Baxter in November 2009. 2009 was a big year of discovery it seems. Sadly, I cannot tell you the title of the first book I read or what year it was read. It was far too long ago, and I have no idea.

Edited on 30 January 2023: Lucky me, I found another backup and have uploaded another 55 reviews today, so the reviews now go up to November 2020. All are up-to-date as far as I can tell. Please let me know if you find anything amiss.

Book reviews added

Following that website issue I’ve been harping on about recently, where I lost 18 years worth of posts (don’t get me started on how I feel about that), I managed to find a backup of all my early book reviews. Yay!

I have uploaded around 143 book reviews today. They range from 2005 to 2019, and with luck, I’ll find an easy way to upload the reviews from 2019 to present as well. With the help of a brilliant WordPress plugin called “Term Management Tools”, I have tidied up the categories and tags that were originally used — and in some cases, were not used at all. Now they are consistent, which is great.

However, I have noticed another issue. It appears that a lot (possibly all) of the images are missing. That’s a job for another day. Hopefully, I’ll find another plugin that will make that job heaps easier too.

In other news: I’m also having issues with the store. I’ll circle back to that in a few days. Stay tuned.

Punctuation in Dialogue

This is an area I know a lot of people have difficulties with. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes made where writers are not sure where to put a comma or full stop. Here is an example of the correct way to use them:

“I meet a wizard today,” Sam announced.

“Sam, you’re nuts!” Peter replied. “Wizards don’t exist.”

“They do,” Sam insisted, “because I meet one today.”

With the first piece of dialogue, some people make the mistake of placing a full stop after the word “today” (ie “I meet a wizard today.” Sam announced.), which is wrong. The dialogue tag is part of the overall sentence.

In the second set there are two complete sentences so a full stop is placed at the end of the dialogue tag. Also, when using a name or another word like – hey, oh, well, boy – you should always place a comma after that word. A good way to test this out is to read the sentence without the word, if it makes sense without it use a comma – if it doesn’t make sense then a comma is not required.

With the last line, the dialogue tag is placed in the middle of a complete sentence so you should place a comma after the first part – the word “do” in this case – and at the end of the dialogue tag as shown.

Oh, one more thing, ALWAYS start a new line for each person who speaks. ALWAYS!

Learn something every week

It turns out that my provider didn’t have to upgrade the php on my website, I had that option the whole time but didn’t know. I discovered a website with instructions on how to do exactly that by accident. Of course, I followed the instructions and … it’s done. We now have the latest version of php installed.

In other news, I really want simple, easy-to-use plugins. I don’t need anything that has every bell and whistle that you can think of. But simplicity is not on the agenda these days. Everything appears complex, and from my experience, they don’t work without a lot (and I mean a tonne) of knowledge and patience. I have neither at this stage. What happened to simply activating a plugin and using it?

Anyway, the subscribe plugin didn’t work. But I figure that maybe now that the php has been upgraded, maybe I’ll try it again. If it doesn’t work straight up, then I’ll forget it.

Audiobook Review: Firefly Summer

Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: In Mountfern, life meanders as slowly as the river running through it. But when Patrick O’Neill arrives from the States with grand plans to turn the ruins of Fernscourt into Ireland’s finest hotel, ripples begin to appear on the surface calm of this backwater.

My review: I’ve never managed to finish a Maeve Binchy book as I find her writing tedious. It’s a shame, because I believe I would enjoy the stories if they were written in a … well, faster writing style.

As I often enjoy the audio version of a book I find difficult to read, I thought I’d try out this book when I saw it in my local library.

And it was great. However, I believe it was an abridged version that was dramatised by the BBC. I have no idea how much was cut, but what was left in was perfect. The story moved swiftly from one view point/scene to another. It was never boring and gave just enough details so that I understood exactly what was happening.

Again, I can’t recommend the books, but the dramatisation was brilliant.

Working on Subscribe Now

There have been a number of improvements over the last day or two. Currently, I’m working on the Subscribe to the Newsletter option (while I wait for my provider to update the PHP so a shop can be activated).

Yet, like everything else, the Subscribe plugin has chosen not to work properly too. It won’t allow people to subscribe so, at this point, it’s pretty useless. I’ve asked for support and hopefully someone will help me fix the problem. To be honest, I’m tired of all the issues and will look for an alternative.

Next on the list will be the shop. And then I’ll try to resurrect the author interviews. And finally, some content. I’m going to be busy.

Slowly building an online future

My apologies. I have started and restated this website over and over again, these past few days. Some plugins no longer work, so I need to find a replacement or rethink how I want to proceed. For instance, due to my internet provider not updating the php used on this website, I keep seeing a message “This plugin does not work with your version of PHP.” Annoying, and, yes, I will contact the provider.

I want simple, but secure, so please bare with me while I work my way through all the pages to fix issues and find new, and hopefully better, plugins to use. I am yet to settle on how I will offer my books for sale on the website. That is definitely a “coming soon” notation.

Meanwhile, several pages have been updated. I will work through the rest of them and then start work on the sidebar and footer.

Thanks for your patience.