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.

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.

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.

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.

Hello world!

Well, a funny thing happened a few months ago. This website was hacked!

Actually, it wasn’t even a tiny bit funny, but it happened and I had no access to my website for over two months. Then, when I finally did have access, I couldn’t access WordPress’s Dashboard, which was like having no access to the whole site, as I couldn’t do anything.

Restoring backups did nothing as the Dashboard was still not accessible. Even if I restored backups prior to being hacked, which I did (multiple times). Finally, I came to the conclusion that maybe this happened for a reason. Maybe it was time to revamp the website and remove all the old, out-dated posts. Today, I decided to go with that option.

My only regret is that all my book reviews have been lost. But, I must move passed that little upset and move on. Besides, those reviews are all on Goodreads and I will share a link to them later. I may copy and paste some, but not all, of them. That is a decision for another day.

For now, some content is here. It needs to be fixed up and I’ll do that over the next week or so.

Welcome back to the Desk of Karen Lee Field. The desk is new. The content will be simplier. I hope you like it here and will come back to visit again soon.