Been working quite a lot on Project ThoughtStorms, the new Python / Bottle based wiki engine behind ThoughtStorms in the last few days.
I can’t believe that I’ve spent 15 years building a wiki without creating my own software.
That error is going to be rectified from now on.
Sure, most of what I’m doing is adding the kind of functionality that most wikis already have : RecentChanges, Search, Sister Sites etc. But it’s pretty quick to write. And as I bring these functions back, ThoughtStorms becomes more subtle and alive.
The truth is that ThoughtStorms’ content is woefully outdated. There are a tonne of broken links, and news stories that were current in 2005, but equivalent stories between about 2008 and 2016 are no-where.
It needs a jolly good clean up / clean out / refactoring. But I’m starting to have some ideas about how to write some more innovative custom code to help with that.
It’s very much work in progress. And there’s still plenty that’s half-baked and unfinished.
But I’m starting to feel that ThoughtStorms is coming back to life.
While on the subject of Project ThoughtStorms, I realized that the tools Quick Paste and Compare were broken.
These are now working again. Quick Paste lets you quickly paste a a bunch of paragraphs of text and get back an SFW formatted file that can be dropped directly into your pages directory in an SFW wiki,
Point Compare at two different SFW installations, and give it a page-name and it will show you a json diff of their underlying files.
Both are rough and ready, but can be useful.
I’m updating my copy of the Smallest Federated Wiki, and the plugin format has evolved again. (Not surprising, the SFW is still in its experimental stage.)
So, I’ve broken out my plugin for ThoughtStorms / SdiDesk format (wikish) from the original Project ThoughtStorms and made a dedicated git repository in the recommended format, naming convention etc.
The plugin is also now available as a node npm package on npmjs for easy installation.
Last year I wrote about how impressed I was by Clojars, the Clojure package repository. Seems like this might actually be the standard way things are done these days. Because npm seems equally straightforward.
The latest instructions for installing extra plugins to your copy of the SFW seem to be here.
Bloody hell! I just wrote a blog post and WordPress lost it.
The short resume was :
– yes, I’m late (Feb) continuing my “Welcome to 2015” blog posts.
– last year I got the functional programming bug. Haskell is pretty damned good, but I’ve fallen for Clojure because a) dynamic types, b) Lisp syntax(lessness), c) Paredit.
– last year I did more Python, but not much OWL. This year, OWL is calling again. And as well as making me want to rethink Mind Traffic Control in light of it, is also seeming to demand some kind of pivot on GeekWeaver.
I’ll be coding and blogging more on this ongoing development in coming weeks / months.
I’ve also been playing a bit with remoteStorage, but nothing to show yet.
Bill Seitz is trying OWL. You can see his notes, and some comments by me, on his wiki-notebook.
Second in a series of questions occupying my mind at the beginning of 2014. Which may (or may not) inform what I’ll be working on.
2) What About Project ThoughtStorms?
Unlike the first question in the series, this one is relatively light.
It’s obvious that OWL is the new SdiDesk. And where my private personal organizer / wiki-notebook etc. work should now be focussed. It’s equally obvious that it’s not, in itself, a publication medium. Smallest Federated Wiki is still looking good for that. SFW also has some great features : federation being one. The embedded media types being another. It’s actively improving. And looks like it’s become the “official” wiki in the node.js library. ThoughtStorms isn’t moving off SFW in the foreseeable future.
So Project ThoughtStorms is still, largely, about tools that support SFW. At the same time, this dichotomy between one tool for writing and one tool for presenting is a little bit … disconcerting. It’s natural in the outlining world, of course, a separation between outliner as authoring tool and blog / slide-show / book as rendering. But in the wiki world, where writing / editing / reading are all blurred together in a kind of closed loop, it feels wrong.
Nevertheless, there’s little real question there. In 2014 OWL is my writing tool. SFW is my public thinking space. The open question is about what bridges to build between the worlds.
Should OWL export complete SFW pages? (Easyish, I think). Should it import them? (To be consistent with my promise not to abandon SdiDesk users?) Should I try to get it to speak the federation protocol of SFW? Where should I be capturing quick notes and draft thoughts that aren’t (yet) ready for publication?
No great soul-searching here. But a bit of quizzical head-scratching required.
(Next question coming soon.)