Getting Things Done On WikidPad
A Snazzy System for Getting Things Done using the desktop program wikidPad for Windows
wikidPad is a desktop wiki for windows which uses plain text for
data and Python under the bonnet. Its special trick is an ingenious
dynamically generated outline view. There is no page heirarchy implied
or created by the outline; it is simply a representation of the linking
system. There are formatting tricks which you can utilise for tagging
the pages and displaying them as lists in the outline. Here you will
get a quick idea of how set up a useful GTD system using these tags.
This tutorial assumes you know a little about wikis and about using camelcase words.
First, download the program.
Take a look at the help wiki if you like, but it's not necessary for
the purposes of this tutorial; you can just follow my super-quick
orientation. (Just bear in mind, if you are used to wikis, that there
is no separate edit and view modes; the text formatting is always
Super quick wikidPad orientation
- Create a new wiki (not a new page, a whole new wiki) and decide where to save it etc
- Find the ScratchPad and on it type a wikiword in camelcase
- Note that it is automatically underlined
- Press save etc, or wait for the auto-save, and take a look at the outline: the new page has appeared as a node of the home page
- Click on the newly created link, and you will find yourself on the new page
- Return to the ScratchPad, highlight the link, and cut it
- Look at the outline: the page has vanished. Now click on
Views in the outline (you might have to wait for a refresh).... the new
page now appears there under parentless-nodes
- Go to the home page, paste your link there, and see how the outline is redrawn again
- For fun, write the camelcase word "ScratchPad" into the ScratchPad, and see the tree create recursive nodes forever
- Take a quick look at the other special functions showing up under the View section of the tree
- Take a look at the Wiki Settings page and get a quick preview as to how you'll be tagging and annotating your pages
- Just as a teaser, write the following first two lines on any
page except the wiki settings page, and the next two lines on a
different page, and see what happens in the tree (and then leave these
texts in the wiki to use later in the tutorial):
todo.email:Jo about keys
todo.home:mend chair leg
(The uppercase C in Current is a hack to make it appear at the top of the outline list.
Using keywords and attributes
So you've seen how you can make pages show up in different places
in the tree. You're going to be applying this to generate lists of
contexted next actions with markers for project status, such as
current, somedaymaybe, tickler and complete. The next actions are all
going to show up in a list sorted by context, but you will be able to
distinguish between current and tickler projects by their colour. How
you will do this is by creating a page per project, and then writing
your next actions and status markers in such a way to show up usefully
in the tree. This is acheieved by using keywords and attributes, and
here is an explanation of the difference between them and how they can
- These are listed in the wikisyntax.py file, which is
editable (with care) There are 5 of them preconfiguired, including
- To use a keyword, you simply type the word itself (e.g.
"issue" or "todo") and a colon, at the beginning of a line, and after
the colon write up to a line of text that you would like to show up in
- In the outline, one node-level under that particular
keyword, you will see the line of text which you typed after the colon:
when you click on it you are brought to that page with that line
- You can subnest other keywords under these keywords by use
of a period, for example "todo.work": In this case, each sub-keyword is
listed separately under the keyword under Views. Only one level of
sub-keyword nesting is allowed (although the developer is considering
adding more levels).
- Keywords are automatically formatted by wikidPad in bold black.
- There is a setting in the program, probably configurable,
whereby the keywords listed in the outline have a pin icon, which makes
them easy to spot.
- Attributes are written and erased from within the wiki page itself, on the fly.
- These attributes have two parts by necessity; you could see
them as an automatic subnest, as a set of definition plus attribute.
- To create an attribute for a page, type the first part of
the attribute, then a colon, and then the second part of the attribute,
all within matching square brackets. e.g. "[doctype:reference]"
- In the outline, the page title appears one level down from
the list of attributes. When you click this wiki page title the
right-hand window changes to that page.
- Attributes have only two parts and no more sub-nesting is possible.
- Attributes are automatically formatted by wikidPad in bold grey
- You can associate settings with an attribute, such as colour
or an icon. These will display in the outline associated with the page
on which the attribute is written. Very importantly, the colour and
icon will also show up in the part of the outline where keywords are listed.
- There are some special pre-configured attributes which have
special functions. One of these is "priority" (followed after the colon
by a numerical digit). For some reason, when a priority attribute is
added to a page, under the keywords in the outline, the page title is
shown rather than the text following the keyword. You'll see later that
this gets rid of the usefulness of listing the todo texts after the
Applying this to your wiki
To create your useful status colour-coding; write the following on any page (or use the wiki settings page for neatness):
[global.Current.this week.color:lime green]
You can see where we're going now, I am sure, and to start you off
here are some default attributes and their settings (note where to put
the periods and the colons):
[tickler:date in sortable format here]
[complete:completion date here]
[global.Current.this week.color:lime green]
So now you can start entering your next actions, using the todo
keyword syntax, and annotating your project pages with the attribute