November 2, 2011

Bulk view

Planning an Emacs-based personal wiki – Org? Muse? Hmm…

I miss my Planner wiki! I think it’s time to organize things into a personal wiki again. Blogs are great for chronological updates, but I need to be able to group ideas into more than just categories, and WordPress pages aren’t as convenient as a proper wiki. Org-mode outlines are also good, but they can get unwieldy when large. I have an 1.7MB outline right now, all plain text, and I can’t fit it into my head.

What kind of tool should I use? I thought about whether I wanted a web-based wiki editing environment. I realized that editing and publishing the wiki from Emacs is probably the way to go for me, because that gives me offline access, synchronization, and all sorts of other goodies.

Here’s what I want to do:

  1. Provide a knowledge map that links to blog posts and other resources
  2. Flesh out that knowledge map with summaries
  3. Build a coherent personal wiki

Here are other capabilities I care about:

  1. Link easily between concepts
  2. Keep tables and other forms of data
  3. Keep private and public notes, but publish only the public ones
  4. Publish parts of the tree
  5. Publish as separate files, for ease of browsing
  6. Use the same markup I use in Org Mode (or something that can be easily transformed), so that I don’t have to do anything fancy when copying entries over

I thought about using Muse because of its project-publishing support, and because of the good experience I had with Planner and Emacswiki (the predecessor to Muse). Muse supports Org-format tables, but it uses a different way to signify code blocks, examples, and other parts. For ease of implementation, then, I’ll probably see if I can get Org Mode to deal well with the case of either multiple small files, or narrowed portions of one large file. Anyway, the first step is to organize my resources, and that will be useful no matter which wiki system I end up using.

Do you have an Emacs-based personal wiki? What do you use, and what do you think about it?