Plain Text Wiki

I really liked the idea of Matt Webb’s Plain Text Wiki, the wiki you run inside TextMate. So much so, that I wanted to use it to manage one of my websites. To do so I had to add to tweak a few things and, after one thing led to another, I ended up with a fairly major rewrite that added several new features including syntax highlighting, the use of Maruku (a Markdown extension) as a page format, subdirectories, ERB for templating, and named links.

I’ve already started to factor out the wiki side of things from the TextMate interaction and will hopefully turn the wiki-only code into a gem one day.

New Features


As well as Markdown and Textile, pages can be rendered using Maruku, an extension of Markdown that adds footnotes and attributes to markup.


Pages can live in subdirectories and are linked to using [[subdir/name]] style links and are relative to the page they are found on. To add links to pages in other parts of your wiki use absolute paths [[/subdir/name]].

Named links

Can use [[pagelink | link text]] to use link text instead of link name when exporting to HTML. Names can be used for plain, relative and absolute links.

ERB for templates

Templates can include <%= property %> to include page properties. Currently, these include title, modified, name, path_to_root and section_list.

Page titles can be overriden

Use HTML comments at very start of page. e.g., <!-- title = My new page title -->.


  1. Download the zipped Plain Text Wiki Bundle and unzip it.
  2. Double-click on the resulting bundle and TextMate will start using it.

To use Maruku as the page format you will have to install it as a ruby gem:

sudo gem install maruku

and make sure that TextMate is using the same version of ruby as the command-line does. To do so, just follow the instructions over at and you should be good to go.


The following environment variables can be set from within TextMate to control the behaviour of the wiki.


The default page format. One of maruku, markdown or textile. If this environment variable is not set maruku is used.


Where to look to find header.rhtml and footer.rhtml. Defaults to TM_BUNDLE_SUPPORT/templates


Comma separated list of directories to exclude from export.


Open TextMate then choose Bundles > Plain Text Wiki > Create New Wiki... and select a directory for your wiki.

A new index page will be created. Follow wiki links by hitting the enter key (⌅) to make new pages.

To export your wiki choose Export Wiki as HTML... from the Plain Text Bundle menu (or just press ⇧⌘H). You will be asked to choose a destination directory. Once that is done a HTML version of your wiki will be opened in Safari.

(Note: Currently, exporting only works properly if you call the command while an active file is from the wiki’s top-level directory).