Journal Tiddlers in Tiddlywiki: Why journaling is dismissed in official Tiddlywiki?

Keeping a daily journal is a great way to organize your thoughts, and learn to live in the present moment.

Tiddlywiki has essential tools to create journal tiddlers but I think the official Tiddlywiki has dismissed this great feature!

  • Why there is no sidebar tab for journal tiddlers?
  • Nothing even in Sidebar/More tab!!

I think only this one feature makes Tiddlywiki a wonderful app for who write daily journals!

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My guess would be that a lot of the development may be informed by the “zettelkasten” idea, which doesn’t really use the wiki as a work organization tool.

I feel an opportunity may be missed, which can be built from expanding on the idea of journal tiddlers. I can see a use for having a templating system in TW, very similarly to how the journal system works now. One of the ideas I was thinking about looking into is repurposing journal tiddlers into a template for often-used kinds of tiddlers that aren’t journals.

My 2 cents would be that journaling is a rather specific use-case of TiddlyWiki. I for one have never used it for that purpose. I suspect that if TiddlyWiki started over and based on other discussions here, journaling might in-fact be a better fit for an official plugin or edition, rather than baked into the core itself.


Thank you @stobot, @ahollar

That is true Tiddlywiki is much more than being a journal app! I just mean with the tools already baked into Tiddlywiki itself, why not having a better advertisement of such features!

I agree a dedicated edition/plugin can do better job!

I think our GettingStarted tiddler in empty.html should be more interactive.

In February 2020 I did create a Proposal for a new GettingStarted page, for empty.html at the GG

Accompanied with a short 6 minute video how the proof of concept GettingStarted tiddler could be used. … It didn’t get too much traction that time.

The proposal at Github was refused and I did close it after some time.

May be it’s time to rethink it again. …

It would be simple to add a Journal tab to the mix, since the Journal button is basically the first thing that is discussed in the video.


To me, I’d rather like the idea of a sidebar tab showing a “comprehensive” Getting Started TiddlyWiki instance.

Something that anybody can have access to anytime, that isn’t part of empty.html, that is independent and independently updated.

A tab that is like a portal to all things TiddlyWiki, right there. With little buttons to widen/narrow the sidebar tab.

Something like that.

Just read / watched your post/video @pmario - cool stuff. I’m a big fan of making things easier for new TW users!

I really like the concept that you expose: TiddlyWiki has TONS of options and flags and examples all built-in, but spread all around. Most people will only use a few of these, and it’s very likely that the settings needed may be use-case specific.

Given that, I would propose a slight alternative / expansion to what you suggest which would be to identify a few of the most common use-cases and have maybe tabs for these various use-cases, each of which would have a customized list of common settings and quick adds like your todo list etc.

So, user gets to the wiki, “Getting Started” is still very general, but then there’s tabs for journaling, role-playing-games, project management, recipe books, whatever the common ones are, and over time a curated screen of options most tailored to those use-cases are offered.

hmmm, … thinking. … It may be possible to dynamically load a “special plugin library” with settings and even smaller “Introduction Workflows” for 1 very specific topic.

So 1 plugin for 1 workflow. eg:

  • Setting up Journals
  • Create a basic TOC
  • Create a basic ToDo app
  • …

Just brainstorming :wink:

I have argued before the empty.html is considered a minimalist package, something we must retain. However making this the first new users make use of is silly. We should have a standard edition which includes a contents tab, perhaps the suggested journal tab (Nice if it were a calendar view if you ask me) and a small set of other useful feature’s.

I would add to this a plugin that provides an index into all documentation tiddlers on to support the learning process.

Perhaps a new user plugin to move the user from epty.html to standard html?

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Journaling is one of the main things I use my tiddlywiki for daily. Since the needs in a journals vary greatly it’s difficult to create a pre-canned solution. I’ll see if I can come up with something based on the things I wish I would have known when I started but the main points are…

  1. I made a new Journal button and template.
  2. I use the tag “Journal Entries” instead of just “Journal” as is the default.
    a. I use the “Journal” tag for everything else that is Journal specific such as a google map link of my running route, tiddlers for medications I take, etc.
  3. Then I created a tag negation for “Journal Entries” in my table of contents.
<div class="tc-table-of-contents">
<<toc-selective-expandable 'TableOfContents' "sort[title]!tag[Journal Entries]">>
  1. I use searches, filters, and @EricShulman 's great It's About Time! — TiddlyTools: "Small Tools for Big Ideas!" (tm) which has a calendar for the side bar to find the entries when I need to. I use the same date format for new Journal entries as the calendar plugin so each day’s Journal Entry automatically shows up on the calendar as clickable.
  2. I use the dynamic tables from Shiraz 2.4.4 — create stylish contents in Tiddlywiki to create monthly summaries based off my Journal Entries.

I know a lot of folks have talked about a Journal tab, but I’m not sure what I’d put in one because I’ve made my Journaling part of my daily process. The only thing I could think of would be if you made something like an independent table of contents just for things Journal related, but I would think that would break the intended flow of how tiddlywiki’s works best.

That’s my two cents but again there is no “one size fits all” for Journals and what works for me might not fit someone else.


I am in agreement, we should be developing a standard.html and probably making that a bit more prominent than the empty edition. Advanced users probably won’t want it, but they know enough to go find a smaller button on the download page.

In addition to a better “getting started” tiddler than the handful of fields present in the empty edition, I’d vote for including a few common plugins, too. Most essential plugins won’t do any harm if the user doesn’t need them, and adding a couple of megabytes to the “standard” distribution isn’t a big deal given that you can easily grab the empty one if you want to build from scratch.


I’m not so sure a “standard.html” is a good idea. What’s standard?

I’m thinking empty.html with recipes and related drop-in tiddlers would be good so that folk can define their own standard html. Along with the whole “TiddlyWiki World” of documentation, plug-ins, tricks, tips, showcases, videos, you name it, all available from the sidebar to walk new users through any little thing a new user should learn and can reference.

So a nice external page loaded into the sidebar with a directory of all things TiddlyWiki.

I’ve got no time to put together what I’m thinking right now, but picture a nice simple and pretty page instead of the page showing in the sidebar.

I think the blank canvas that is empty.html is perfect IF the sidebar has everything in “TiddlyWiki World” to hold a new user’s hand.

So Start Here, Explore the TiddlyWiki user interface, yadda yadda yadda, the full monty.

Linux From Scratch.

Rather than a standard.html, I’d much rather see “From Scratch” kind of solutions that take empty.html, and then add whatever components needed to turn empty.html into whatever solutions.

Like (with “from scratch”, or without, or replace by something else):

  • GTD-tw from scratch
  • Journaler-tw from scratch
  • Zettelkasten-tw from scratch
  • Blog-tw from scratch
  • StaticWebsiteBuilder-tw from scratch
  • Geneology-tw from scratch
  • KM-tw from scratch
  • PIM-tw from scratch
  • Inventory-tw from scratch

etc. etc. etc.

I’m not sure we disagree. The key idea in both of our proposals is to have a more complete edition that guides the user through choosing the options they need. Exactly how that’s implemented (different options on the website or a larger bundle that helps you choose within TiddlyWiki itself) is not that important to me.

Including anything like that in empty.html is probably an uphill battle because the goal is to keep that as small as humanly possible, though, which is why I suggested a second standard edition – “standard” meaning the one you would want to download to get started if you didn’t already know what you were doing.

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Which is why instead of a “standard.html” edition, stick with empty.html but have a supporting website, shown in an iframe in the sidebar providing everything from external web sites, right there, that a user can drag and drop into empty.html (or whatever it has been renamed as) while following instructions that are right there, from that supporting website.

So no need to have different choices of what html file to download. Download the one, and customize/adorn/enhance as per the friendly instructions right there in the sidebar, from an actively maintained “TiddlyWiki World” (or whatever) support portal.

So full custom build with as little or as much hands-on work as a new user wants.

I suppose I’m talking more effort spent on useful support documentation and TW knowledge base, instead of even a minute spent on standard.html.

But I may be getting into some paralysis by analysis over here, or analysis by paralysis …

Although I understand the dismissed feature. I also see that all tiddlers are in same tags (open, recents), but system and shadow tiddlers are in bold. Maybe we need some style or icon in the above tabs to differentiate the journals from the rest of (normal) tiddler. I think that extra config would be a plugin/editon, as several of you said.

I agree with @pmario about a new GettingStarted tiddler. But, as @jeremyruston said in GH, I think in a wizzard as better option. I think that it need to be more friendly to newcomers and it won’t be too long. Maybe we could use to give some hint to how can use TW, not more.

About the standard edition, I agree with @Charlie_Veniot . Because it depends on the use of TW that anyone want. If someone wants use TW to have a digital garden how much useful would be a standard edition. I think for something like that is better have a different name.


Standard is an Edition. TW could use more Editions, just like Linux has distros — both core and otherwise.

More documentation and how-tos are always helpful, but are not the same thing as having a TW default that has more of a purpose than being a construction kit.

This is basically Gentoo vs Ubuntu Desktop.

I use Journaling a lot in all of my “note” based TWs, and it is the common interface for many other Tools-for-thought, second brains. Drift has a good implementation for the TFT use case.

I also use it as a blog in some TWs.

I always add a “Journals” tiddler that shows journals in reverse chronological form in some way. A dedicated tab would be similar.

Very quickly we can see that including some quality of life improvements out of the box will make even something simple like Journals much more usable.

OOTB was the initiative I worked on to get more standard installs out of Drupal, which also has a reputation as a construction kit.

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@boris Can you please explain what TFT and OOTB stands for?

TFT: Tools for Thought
OOTB is probably Define "Easy out of the box" Drupal core initiative [#3191533] |


Ciao Mohammad

A very interesting thread! I will comment on some of the posts in more detail.

The main point I want to make is that just having the facility to journal is enough.

We can’t expect to reflect the full richness of journaling methods since it is doing many other things too! :slight_smile:

FYI, “Journaling” had a big revival in the counter-culture movement. It shifted from being something done by introspective intellectuals living in France on pensions to a more common interest. Landmark works on this were things like The New Diary.

Best wishes

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