Stupid tiddler tricks: the daily oldest


I use TiddlyWiki a lot. I use it as a journal, a book and image catalog, an archive of news articles, a to-do list, a notepad, a draft notebook for blog posts like this one and backup repository for finished posts…

My browser’s homepage is a TiddlyWiki, and it’s up to 17 megabytes and 4,000-odd tiddlers. An older version (which I’m importing into the current version a little at a time, retagging and reorganizing as I go) has 30,000 more tiddlers.

When a personal wiki reaches that kind of size, I might not naturally see a specific tiddler for months or even years. I might forget it exists. And while I’m forgetting about it, its contents might become outdated.

This might not seem like that much of a problem, but what if I do stumble across that outdated entry eventually and it’s fallen far enough from my current standards to make me double-take or cringe? And even if I don’t see it, did I spend years gathering and collating this info only to let its lower, hidden layers decompose?

Fortunately, this relatively small problem has a simple solution. I added a line to DefaultTiddlers:

[!is[system]!tag[excludeOldest]has[modified]sort[modified]limit[17]reverse[]]

That way, I’m bound to see a few of my oldest tiddlers every day. If they don’t need any maintenance, I just open and close the editor for each one, changing the “modified” date without making any actual changes and ensuring I’ll see a different set of oldest tiddlers tomorrow. If any of them do need maintenance… well, then I’m glad I saw them.

– – –

Some notes:

  • The bit about !tag[excludeOldest] does just what it looks like it does – it allows me to exclude some tiddlers from the “oldest” part of my DefaultTiddlers. I use this sparingly. In fact I currently have exactly two tiddlers tagged with excludeOldest: one which belongs at the top of my DefaultTiddlers eery day (instead of mixed into the middle somewhere) and one which I never want to see on screen unless I’m specifically looking for it.
  • Why 17 per day? Because my TiddlyWiki file is currently 17 MB. I used 10 per day for years, but nowadays I’d rather increase it along with the size and scope of my wiki.
  • The reverse[] bit is probably unnecessary. It’s an old programming trick I’ve forgotten the name of; over time, it shuffles and somewhat randomizes the order in which the untouched old tiddlers come up.
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