External images in TiddlyWiki are tiddlers that point to the URI of an image, rather than embedding the full image data. They can perform better than embedded images, particularly with large numbers or sizes of images. However, using them breaks the single file pattern of TiddlyWiki.
External images are used in the browser. They can be created by the Node.js configuration when it builds a TiddlyWiki, or they can be created manually within the browser.
What is an External Image
An external image is an ordinary image tiddler that has a _canonical_uri field containing the URI of the image. The URI can be absolute or relative to the HTML document. If the canonical URI is provided then the text field of the tiddler is ignored and so should be omitted.
Manually Creating External Images
To manually create an external image just create the tiddler with the appropriate image content type, and add a _canonical_uri field with a URI pointing to the actual image location.
IMPORTANT: Double-check your spelling.
_canonical_uri is spelled URI, not URL.
Creating external images under Node.js
The following steps are used to create a static HTML file version of a wiki accompanied by an images folder containing the referenced external images:
- Create image tiddlers in your TiddlyWikiFolders in the usual way
- Save the images as separate files (by convention, in a subfolder named images)
- Externalise the image tiddlers by giving them a _canonical_uri field
- Save the main HTML file
Note the image files must be saved before they are externalised. Externalising them destroys the text field within the in-memory copy of the wiki store, meaning that attempts to save them will fail.
For an example see the externalimages build target of the demo tw5.com wiki:
--savetiddlers [is[image]] images --setfield [is[image]] _canonical_uri $:/core/templates/canonical-uri-external-image text/plain --setfield [is[image]] text "" text/plain --rendertiddler $:/core/save/all externalimages.html text/plain
Saving Separate Image Files
--savetiddlers command can be used to save the images of a wiki into an images subfolder:
--savetiddlers [is[image]] images
Externalising Image Tiddlers
--setfield commands are used: the first sets the _canonical_uri field to a URI derived from the title of the tiddler, and the second clears the text field.
--setfield [is[image]] _canonical_uri $:/core/templates/canonical-uri-external-image text/plain --setfield [is[image]] text "" text/plain
The template tiddler $:/core/templates/canonical-uri-external-image contains:
<!-- This template is used to assign the ''_canonical_uri'' field to external images. Change the `./images/` part to a different base URI. The URI can be relative or absolute. --> ./images/<$view field="title" format="doubleurlencoded"/>
Note that these operations modify the tiddlers in the wiki store and so may affect the operation of subsequent commands.
Using External Images
You can't edit an external image directly in the browser except by changing the URI field to point to a different image.