This is a stripped-down version of a single section of Grok TiddlyWiki, optimized for fast loading and readability by search engines. Some features are missing.

For the full Grok TiddlyWiki experience, please visit the wiki version of this page.

Creating Plugins

2nd May 2021 at 11:35am

If you've developed some functionality in System Tiddlers in your wiki that you think others might get some use out of, you may wish to package them as a plugin to make them easier to distribute.

(Actually, you can distribute any content in plugins, system tiddlers or not. Plugins are rarely used for anything other than common wiki functionality, but you might be able to come up with some creative uses. For instance, Grok TiddlyWiki distributes most of its content as a plugin. This takes advantage of the shadowing mechanism to allow users to update their book by importing a new version while leaving any changes they may have made to their copy in place.)

Folder structure and metadata

Plugin development is usually more convenient on the Node.js version of TiddlyWiki, so begin by installing that if you don't already have it. (If you don't want to use Node.js, a plugin has recently come out that lets you export plugins from within a single-file wiki. The resource links at the bottom of this section have more information.)

Create a new folder wiki to house your plugin. You'll use this wiki to document the features of the plugin as well.

Within the folder wiki, next to the tiddlywiki.info file, there is a plugins directory (if it doesn't exist yet, you can create it). Create a new directory here for your plugin, like you would if you were installing a third-party plugin. To this directory, add the tiddlers you want to bundle in the plugin. You can organize them into subfolders if you like, but note that this will have no impact on the hierarchy of the system tiddlers within the wiki – the title field of each tiddler is the sole determiner of what the tiddlers are called.

Then add a plugin.info file with some metadata in the plugin's folder (edit as appropriate for your plugin):

{
    "title": "$:/plugins/yourname/pluginname",
    "description": "summary of the plugin's purpose",
    "author": "yourname",
    "version": "0.0.1",
    "core-version": ">=5.0.8",
    "source": "https://github.com/yourgithub/pluginname",
    "list": "readme license"
    "plugin-type": "plugin"
}

Pay special attention to the list field, which I've added to this template from the standard one presented in the TiddlyWiki dev wiki. The tiddlers in here become tabs in the plugin's tiddler (the one you get when you click on it in the Plugins view of the More tab of the sidebar). It's good practice to include at least a readme briefly describing the plugin and where you can learn more, and a license (see https://choosealicense.com/ if you're not sure what this is or how to choose one; the MIT license is popular in the TiddlyWiki community).

The list field is a tiddler list, but a weird one – TiddlyWiki prepends the value of title plus a slash to the names listed here, so readme as shown in the template actually refers to $:/plugins/yourgithub/pluginname/readme. (I'm still sour about how long this took me to figure out the first time I made a plugin!)

Editing

While you're tweaking the plugin, writing the docs, and making sure everything is correct, if you want to test out or edit tiddlers directly in TiddlyWiki, you can start the listener in the wiki folder (tiddlywiki --listen) and edit from your browser.

It's good practice to include a prominent link to your plugin tiddler (e.g., $:/plugins/yourname/yourpluginname) on one of the startup tiddlers for your wiki (i.e., the ones that appear when you load the wiki, as configured in GettingStarted), since users will need to drag and drop this link to install the plugin.

Building

If you know how to use Git or another source-control tool, now is a good time to create a repository and commit your folder wiki if you haven't already done so.

Generally, to make your plugin available on the web, all you have to do is share your wiki. The simplest way to share your wiki is to build it into a single file by running tiddlywiki --build index, which will place an index.html file in the output subdirectory of the wiki. You can then publish this file to the web any way you like, or even just email it to other users; an easy, free, and popular method is to use GitHub Pages to serve the page from the same GitHub repository you keep the source code of your plugin in. Users can drag and drop the plugin link to install it, as mentioned in the Editing section above.

Resources

  • The TiddlyWiki Dev wiki is a bit short on detail and a bit out of date as of this writing, but offers some valuable guidance on the process.
  • The Sistan online tutorial presents several options for creating plugins in somewhat more detail than provided here, including options for building a plugin from within a single-file wiki, without using Node at all.
  • The PluginMechanism page on tiddlywiki.com describes the details of how plugins are handled internally and how metadata is defined, as well as how to create plugins that depend on other plugins.

Takeaways

Takeaways are not available in the static version of Grok TiddlyWiki. Visit the wiki version of this page to study takeaways.

↑ 8: Getting Technical