Thursday, September 08, 2005


Hypertext. Rupert the Bear. Three levels: cartoon; short story; longer story. That's hypertext, all on one page. So is a book with an index. Digital hypertext, which has been around for yonks, is one up by being able to present what you need or hide what you don't want. Reading text without clicking links comes to a dead end unless your go back to the home page to start again or at least back one stage.

The weblog had always seemed to have something missing: although there are hyperlinks (web) there is no hypertext. Not true anymore: Tiddlywiki.

An example is worth three pages of explanation :

Elie Springer

In the world of web design, taste is everything. The too-ing and fro-ing of the tiddlywiki might seem too distracting for some. There is an argument for simple linearity. Having used and benefited from hypertext software starting with Hypershell, I recognise the value of this new hypertext. Its all about data retrieval and fluidity. In the days of hypershell and its cofreres (long gone) it was easy to develop a story without worrying too much about structure AND it was very easy to find bits and pieces by keyword, possibly ending up with lists of links to text on similar themes.

Whether you feel comfortable reading TD-style webogs it is another yoke, cleidoic.

Tiddlywiki a reusable non-linear personal web notebook

TiddlyTagWiki : a develepment of Tiddlywiki by Jonny Leroy

wikipedia: tiddlywiki

A modified tiddlywiki :


One of the confusions with TiddlyWiki formats: hypertext is only distinguished from hyperlinks (web) by the lack of an underline. In practice most surfers will not mind been drawn away from the site to other webpages if they have tabs. A TW hypertext text link sets the requested link below the one you are reading, and any hypertext can be closed if you feel there is too much on the page. By being able to close down any hypertexts you can create the hypertexts logically/linearly, say for subsequent printing.

It won't take more than a few minutes to see the advantages of a hypertext weblog over a hyperlink only weblog format rom this example. Distinguish between benefits to site creator and user.

Websites, as a genus, have always badly designed because developers, amateur or professional, cannot understand EOUS (ease of use stupid). A profusion of cramped links; too many colours; unnecessary use of several fonts: still commonplace, despite myriad good examples and lorry-loads of books on how to make an effective website.


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