My personal wiki setup


See also: Flock. (I should merge these pages?)

I started with just org-mode and org-publish. As of March 2020, I started using org-roam, too.

This has been a nice progression. Using just plain org-mode got me started with minimal effort. Then org-roam has been a great extra layer on top, when I realised I wanted more to follow the zettelkasten/tiddler approach of smaller notes linked together. It provides a list of backlinks, as well as basic graphing/visualisation, so it goes some way to helping find the constellations, too.

1. How it meets my requirements

1.1. Low-friction writing

I am very tied to text-editing in Emacs (with vi bindings), so big win here so far. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of org-mode markup for some reason, it's a bit ugly in places (I mean #+BEGIN_QUOTE, what the hell kind of syntax is that??), but I'm familiar with it and of course it integrates very nicely into Emacs.

1.2. Low-friction connections

org-roam makes it very easy to link between notes.

1.3. Finding constellations

org-roam has backlinks and graphing capability. To be honest, although I've kicked the tires, I haven't made much active use of the sense-making features yet though.

org-roam-ui adds a lovely graphical layer on top of org-roam.

1.4. Publishing capabilities

With org-publish you can pretty easily (requires a bit of config) output the static HTML. org-roam taught me the nice idea of adding extra hook as well for org-publish, and has one for pulling in all your backlinks. I may switch to ox-hugo at some point, for improved publishing.

See my personal wiki config for some config bits and pieces.

1.5. Plain-text


1.6. Backed by version control

Yep - I use git.

1.7. Local-first

I can write in org and org-roam without any connection. If I want to pull in some links then I need connection, but I can just use the title.

1.8. Libre software and longevity

Indeed so. Emacs, org, they're FOSS++ and have stood the test of time much longer than most. org-roam is a new kid, very active at the moment, but to be seen how long it sticks around. But if org-roam vanished, I'd just lose some features, not all of my thoughts and ideas. All my plain-text would still be right there.

1.9. Interwiki linking

I added simple incoming webmention support to enable comments (Receiving webmentions on my digital garden).

I syndicate copies of all my pages to Anagora. (2021-11-28)

1.10. Misc

I like this as an approach because it uses and leverages all of the existing functionality of the Emacs ecosystem. I'm not learning a new tool (although of course it was a new tool to me at one point, and I wouldn't really recommend all this to someone not already familiar with Emacs, it's a steep learning curve - worth it though!).

2. Could be improved

  • search ing the HTML version. Not a big deal to be honest - I can search my local version easily enough, so it would only really be useful if I want other people to be able to search. Or sometimes I do want to search just so I can share a specific page with someone. (At the moment I go to /sitemap and that works well enough though). If I want improved publishing, I could use ox-hugo. Lately I just search on Anagora.
  • structured data, e.g. I can see the list of books I've read begging for something more structured than plain text, or the big old list of tracks. But let's see how we go. I'm not trying to build a database.
  • could mark it up with microformats
  • transclusion could perhaps be nice, or some of that block include stuff Roam has. In org-roam itself, some discussion here fedwiki/tiddlywiki style transclusion in the publish would also be nice. A mention of that here:
  • an easy to navigate edit history / permalinks - it doesn't affect my own usage of the wiki, and I do have it versioned in git, but my URLs aren't very cool - other people might experience linkrot and struggle to see history

3. Elsewhere

3.1. In my garden

3.3. Mentions

This page last updated: 2023-03-17 Fri 16:15. Map. Recent changes. Source. Peer Production License.