The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by August "Gus" Mueller
» Acorn
» Retrobatch
» Mastodon
» Instagram
» Github
» Maybe Pizza?
» Archives
» Feed
» Micro feed
May 23, 2007
(This post is from my old, old, super old site. My views have changed over the years, hopefully my writing has improved, and there is now more than a handful of folks reading my site. Enjoy.)

There's a cool little plugin for TextMate written by Matt Webb named "Plain Text Wiki" that's getting a bit of attention right now; and deservedly, since it's a neat idea (I like it). The main selling point of it is that everything is plain text, which is as bare bones as you can get in file formats and very interchangeable with other applications. Which is a good thing.

One of the more interesting points about it (at least to me) is that the bundle was created specifically because VP doesn't store its data in plain text files.

At this point, I just want to make everyone (who didn't already know) aware of a couple of features of VoodooPad that sometimes go unnoticed:

In fact, VoodooPad can create and store its pages as plain text. I added this feature in 3.0 specifically because folks wanted to be able to check their documents into subversion, do diffs, and also edit them from the command line. You can also have individual pages in a document be plain text, and others rich text (via the Format->Make Plain Text menu).

(There is of course, a gotcha; the file names in the bundle are uuids. Doh! I do this for a couple of reasons, but mainly so I could wouldn't have to fight between how the Finder, the file system, and Cocoa chooses to represent the character "é", let alone the rest of the unicode alphabet.)

Another option you have is exporting your document as plain text files. Here's a copy and paste from VoodooPad's feature page:

Crazy Export Goodness
No lock in! That's one of our favorite sayings. VoodooPad has 8 (EIGHT!) different ways for you to export or save your data.
  • Export to your iPod Notes folder for a wiki on the go. (for 3rd generation and up iPods).
  • Export to your iPod Contacts folder (1st and 2nd generation iPods)
  • Save as Microsoft Word documents
  • Export RTFD (Rich Text Format) files.
  • Export as HTML, so you can view your wiki in a web browser, or ftp it to a website.
  • XML Export.
  • Split out pages into a brand new VoodooPad document.
  • And finally, as good old plain text files.
(Not all export options are available in VoodooPad Lite)

7 out of 8 of those have been in VP since 1.1. I don't like having my data locked up in proprietary formats either! You can also point VoodooPad to a directory of RTFD, HTML, Word, or plain text files, and it will import them into a document, using the file name as the page name. (And this will work perfectly with Matt's TextMate bundle, since it's files are stored as plain text and use the file names. You could go back and forth between the two!)

If you were feeling daring, you could even write a trigger (VoodooPad Pro only) that wrote out the documents' pages as plain text on a "Document will close" event, or read in a directory's contents on a "Document open" event. (I haven't actually tried this, but these were the types of things I was thinking of when I came up with triggers).

Anyway, I just wanted to point these features out so people don't get the wrong idea about VoodooPad. It's your brain data you put into VoodooPad; I want you to do whatever you want to do with it and I'll try my best to help you achieve that.

I really do think Matt's bundle is cool, and I hope it gets more folks using wikis. I've heard Brent say "A rising tide lifts all boats" enough times to really believe it's true. Especially when you're just a little guy in a sea of big corporations! So anything that gets more people using wiki type systems is a good thing in my eyes.