December 15th, 2006

studious

Wiki'd

When I got home last night, I found Lut using Notebook, one of the mini-wikis tetsujinnooni pointed me towards. Lut was reading through the Game of October logs for his character, and using Notebook to organize the logs and his notes.

When I came back upstairs from exercising, he was still at it. After dinner, I grabbed my own copy of Notebook and started playing with it.

Getting started with it was remarkably painless. It went like this:

  1. Download Notebook.exe

  2. Open Notebook.

  3. Start working.

It was about as difficult as a wordprocessor. Hotlinking pages is trivial: put brackets around a word or phrase and Notebook uses it to make a link to the page of the same name. If no page by that name exists yet, Notebook gives you the option of making it when you click on the link.

Its editing interface is a little wonky. The Game of October logs are formatted for html, and Notebook doesn't recognized the <p> or <br> commands. Notebook's "find and replace" feature doesn't work very reliably either, and moving around the editor using "ctrl-arrow-key" constructions was a little odd at times. Lut was finding it easier to edit things in Notepad and then cut-and-paste them into Notebook. Since I wasn't working with html-formatted documents, I didn't have this problem, though. I'm not sure if this will become an irritant for me or not.

There are two things I'd like to be able to do that it's not yet obvious to me how I can do them:

  • Hotlink to a specific spot on a page, instead of a new page. A full wiki has this feature; you can see it on the Notebook wiki's FAQ: each question links to a spot lower on the same page.

  • Have a page display the full contents of other pages. Eg, if I have a page on "American Culture" and "Canadian Culture", I want to be able to make a page called "Cultures" that displays all the text from other two pages.


I'm pretty sure it's possible to do these things in Notebook, because Notebook lets you embed Tcl/Tk programming language commands in its pages. However, I don't know anything about Tcl/Tk, so I don't know how hard it would be. I'm not sure if I want to poke at the programming language to see if doing these two things would be easy* or if I want to try a few other mini-wikis and see if there's an existing one that I like better. Just being possible doesn't count for so much. I mean, I know how to do these things in html already, but coding them in html is clunky. Notebook's simple hotlinks, three-key-stroke page creation, automated renaming of all links when you rename a page, tidy storage of the entire conglomeration in one file, etc. gives it a big advantage over doing the same thing in html. Anything I'm going to be doing a lot of, I want to be able to do with as little typing and clicking as possible.

Ironically, the simplicity of working with Notebook has actually made me more inclined to try another miniwiki. It was so painless! No tedious installation, no compatability issues, very little time investment -- why not try another and see how it looks?

On the other hand, the thought of using programming language commands in my story notes is awakening the little geek inside me. ("A whole programming language! You could do things you haven't even realized you want to do yet!") But ... not generally that much of a geek, so I dunno how much time I'll be willing to invest in this. Guess we'll see what I'm in the mood for this weekend.

Anyway, big hugs to tetsujinnooni for the link and the suggestion of trying mini-wikis. Whee! =)