JLiki 5: WikiWords, Tiddlers & Tags

by JL Beeken on 7-09-2008

If you’ve completed JLiki 4, you should have some direct-line ancestors lined up in your MainMenu now. Each one of the ancestors in your MainMenu is a WikiWord and therefore represents a tiddler.

As soon as you start writing a tiddler several things happen. I’m going to try to keep from confusing myself by not talking about them all at once.

Let’s say I start with my grandfather. There’s a few things to be said about my grandfather but, first, I might write some basic information in this format:

(Name) was born (when, where), (son/daughter) of [[Name]] and [[Name]].

Tiddler, TiddlyWiki

His parents’ names are in double-square brackets which mean they’re made into WikiWords. They’re already in the MainMenu so they’re automatically linked. Clicking on their names in this tiddler or in the MainMenu will go directly to them. Try this for one person on your list.

Tiddler, TiddlyWiki

‘G. Frederick Beeken’ and ‘Olive M. Harris’ are in my link-color and italicized. That means they’re Missing tiddlers (in other words, tiddlers with no content) or, as I like to call them, tiddlers-in-waiting. As soon as some content has been entered in them they’ll turn bold.

Along the bottom of each box is the tagging area. Tags are one method of TiddlyWiki steering. Without tags your wiki can’t tiddle properly. They’re written between double-square brackets and separated by a space if they’re more than one word, otherwise they’re just separated by a space.

Tags, TiddlyWiki

Each tiddler will have a box on the right showing all the tags given to that tiddler. If you click on one, it will give you a list of all tiddlers containing that tag which you can then open individually or all at once. If I want to see everything I have about my grandfather, I just click on his tag, choose ‘Open all’ and all the tiddlers with his tag will instantly appear rolled down the page. Tags can be reached from other tiddlers or from the right-side index listing All tags.

Tags, TiddlyWiki

Why am I tagging the Gene Beeken tiddler with his own name? If I don’t, when I click on his name tag in other tiddlers it will bring up everything about him except this one. Of course, nothing much is happening yet because we’re just starting. Once we get going, you’ll see this is a very fast way of finding your way around in the maze you’re about to create.

Location tags are not so important as towns can be searched by using the Search box in the upper right of the wiki. If there were 6 Toledo’s in different states and my family lived in all of them it would make a difference but in my family history there’s only one. The name tags are important because people are referred to in a variety of ways so having one consistent name tag makes them search-able.

If I’ve used Gene Beeken for my grandfather’s name as his tiddler title it’s best to keep his tag-name also as Gene Beeken. A different tag-name (using his formal name of Hector Eugene Beeken) will create another Missing tiddler. You’ll have help with the consistency aspect. Once a tag has been made it can be retrieved from an alphabetized list by clicking on ‘tags’ at the bottom of the tag box. You don’t have to type them in over and over.

Tag List, TiddlyWiki

If you’d like, repeat this exercise for each of the people in your MainMenu. Go through your list of names putting in each box: (Name) was born (when, where), (son/daughter) of [[Name]] and [[Name]]. It doesn’t have to be those exact words, but something like that. In each one, put the person’s name and their parents’ names as tags, using the same name as you’ve used for them in your MainMenu.

After you’ve finished putting this information in each box, click on the WikiWords in the tiddlers and in your MainMenu and see how it’s all linked.

There’s a couple of things you should notice:

- The parents of the 4th generation are at loose ends because they’re not part of the MainMenu. If you made them into WikiWords they’re now Missing tiddlers. If you didn’t do anything to them they don’t have any tags on the right side. Of course, the fifth generation could go in the MainMenu. And the sixth and the seventh and all the way back to the Neanderthals and I’m sure you’ll want to do that someday.

- Unless you’ve connected yourself to your parents’ names in your Intro everyone except your parents will have a tag box on the left side as well. What this means is that the person whose tiddler it is is also mentioned in the tiddler in the tagging box. As the list grows longer you’ll be able to see all tiddlers tagged with that person’s name. That’s another form of TiddlyWiki steering. At a glance, you’ll have a pretty good idea who each person interacted with in their lifetime and go directly there to find out how if you’ve forgotten.

Tagging, TiddlyWiki

If you have all your tiddlers open now, it’s looking pretty dry in there, but we’re going to start fixing that next time.

Next: TiddlyWiki 6

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