04 Nov 2005

choosing a personal note taking wiki

i've just recently stumbled across pwyky, an extremely lightweight wiki implementation in python that is self contained in a single python script and stores things in html form in text files in a single directory. it's simplicity makes it incredibly brilliant. just copy this python script into a directory on your web site, rename it to cgi (or anything that is going to be executed as cgi) and off you go.

pwyky is ideal for personal note taking where you don't need all the cruft of revisioning and user accounts, etc. you're just presented with a simple page, the ability to edit it and a cruft free mark up syntax. the wiki itself stores all the files as html (which makes alot of sense) and it translates that back to wiki style syntax when you want to edit it. being in html form, it is easy for you to move all your notes to static form or possibly even something else without having to write a decoder for the millions of wiki syntax's out there.

apart from pwyky, i've been using voodoo pad lite and notational velocity. both great in their own ways. i really enjoyed notational velocity's, emm .. speed and minimalism. lightning fast searches paired with great keyboard shortcuts makes it a dream thing to use for taking short notes.

voodoo pad on the other hand is a rich text editor with built in links like a wiki. you edit it like a wiki and navigate it in that way as well. the interface initially very attractive and able to store all sorts of things like pictures and fonts soon gets in the way of quick note taking.

what the ideal note taking software should do is combine notational velocity' simplicity with a simple link markup, and then add a dash of totally open text exporting features. when i have some time, i'm going to have to hack on a replacement for notational velocity and maybe combine that with syncing notes to a web service, or even the dreaded .mac.

side note on progress with spotstamp

although, before i do hack on that, i need to finish my spotstamp project that has been polished a bit more by being able to handle multiple files in a nice way. search interface still needs some work and still have to solve the dreaded problem of metadata being lost on copy or a user's accidental flushing the contents of the metadata server. unfortunately, apple has decided that copying a file means you shouldn't copy the metadata too. so if you download a file, safari puts the origin url in the metadata, but if you copy that file, you lose the data on the new file. why they didn't make (at the very least) finder copy preserve the metadata is anyone's guess, but thatis a major minus in my book.

the major thing that is holding me back from releasing a preview beta is the fact that i need a way to backup the user created metadata content in case these scenarios happen, and so the users won't get frustrated with losing all their hard categorisation work by running some random command someone's given them to cure their spotlight problems :(

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