How to be popular at parties

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If you want to be popular, you need to spend most of the party loudly pontificating on really, really nerdy stuff. It will seem like it’s not working at first, but keep going. I promise everyone will love you in the end. Here are a couple of inspiring topics for your next soire (this intro paragraph is me trying to justify a rambling post that will likely not make me many friends).

Veloci-wiki, nerd fodder

party balloon

First, I was pointed to Steve Ivy’s veloci-wiki the other day. It sets up a Notational Velocity (actually works even better with nvALT) folder with plain text files as a direct link to a GitHub wiki. Every time you edit, it automatically commits and pushes the changes, so your GitHub wiki becomes a live representation of your NV notes. I made some modifications to the git commands in the script and the launchd plist, but overall it worked like a charm right out of the box. Details and origin on monkinetic.

You could use this to keep an online repository of your notes, assuming you had a paid GitHub account (for privacy) and the online version of your info was useful for you. More interesting to me, it allows NV to become a really quick and easy editor for a documentation wiki. Unfortunately, that means constantly reloading all of your notes when you switch between your regular notes and the wiki folder, which really isn’t practical. There are some other possibilities, though.

You may recall me mentioning that I was running an entire site with a VoodooPad wiki and an automated git script. I promised to share some tips for doing that at some point, but it became an overwhelming post and I’ve let it languish. Veloci-wiki, however, provides an easy base for using VoodooPad to maintain a GitHub wiki. Write your VoodooPad pages in Markdown and use plain text formatting as the default. Then you should be able to export the document as text files and have your Veloci-wiki script auto-commit and push. Point different export folders at different wikis to maintain multiple repos. I haven’t put it into practice yet, but it could be a pretty handy tool. Using scripts similar to Ian Beck’s Scratchpad, you could add a ton of auto-generated functionality, too.

Gollum and nvALT

Using a method very similar to veloci-wiki, you can also run a Gollum wiki on your NV folder and have a local, web-based wiki for reference or sharing purposes. A little scripting and you could make certain tags in NV hide pages from the wiki, too, if you wanted to use it on an intranet or home network with other people. I modified Gollum to use Kramdown (I just like it better than GitHub-flavored Markdown), and fixed a few CSS issues I was running into. You can check my mess of a repo if you want to see/use the changes.

Worst instructions ever…

All you have to do is set up a git repo in your NV notes folder (assuming notes are stored as plain text files). Just cd to your notes folder, git init and git add . to get started. Commit your initial import with git commit -am "initial import". Then you’ll want to set up a Veloci-wiki-style launchd plist. It should either watch for updates on the “Notes & Settings” file or run on an interval. I’m not going to post one right now, but Lingon is your friend.

Once you’ve got the note changes automatically committing to the local repo, you can install Gollum (gem install gollum) and run the gollum command in the notes folder. By default, you’ll get a Sinatra web server at localhost:4567 with all of your notes in the index. Notes edited in Gollum update in NV, and vice versa.

I know, I know

That was a lot of teasing without much satisfaction. If I get the VoodooPad-GitHub wiki connection worked out, I’ll definitely be posting more details, and I’d love to hear how anyone else out there is using Gollum or Veloci-wiki, with or without NV/VoodooPad. Enjoy the party.