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Automatic Save process in TWiki

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Don't you hate it when your browser crashes and you loss the last hours TWiki work. Some tricky with META refresh, temp files and some user setable options might work.

-- NicholasLee - 20 Feb 2000

I personally think that this should not be addressed on the Wiki side, a more stable OS and Browser is more appropriate. Moral of the story: Save often and early, as with any work you do on a computer.

In case it is done on Wiki level: The auto save function could use a temp file name consisting of the topic name and user name (or IP address). A META refresh would have the annoying side effect that you get interrupted while typing.

-- PeterThoeny - 21 Feb 2000

CheckpointSave is an alternative to auto-save, it's under control of the user (you have to remember to save). It's a "save and continue editing" approach.

-- MattWilkie - 15 Apr 2004

Many other wikis (e.g. Confluence) have autosave.

-- MartinCleaver - 02 May 2008

Google Docs also saves during the editing process, which also allows concurrent people editing at the same time. A good idea in my opinion.

-- MartinSeibert - 03 May 2008

It seems more important now, under WYSIWYG editors, because if the connection is lost and the user submits then the back button is not effective in recovering the content. Instead the user sees "Please wait while we retrieve content from the server. This replaces their content, which at least for me, seemed irrecoverable.

-- MartinCleaver - 03 May 2008

Correct observation. But still AutoSave is possible for all types of editing. I favor it.

-- MartinSeibert - 04 May 2008

to turn this into an actual brainstorming topic -

How would this useful feature manifest itself?

  • would it be a timed checkpoint save, thus exposing your work in progress to the world before you comit it?
    • (the simplest technically, but with surprising, and unhappy sideeffects, when your boss starts out with a set of bullet points saying 'you're fired', and then fleshes it out smile
  • a seperate 'backup' save that can be recovered at any time
    • much more work to implement - as some kind of merging and merge display needs to happen if you are recovering an autosave that happened 6 months ago..
    • and would require a UI to let you see all the un-commited autosaves you have, and let you manage them
    • but should be doable via a plugin!

-- SvenDowideit - 05 May 2008

Of course your first option is not really desirable, from an usability point of view. The separate backup may not be so hard, if we make it use the same mecanisms as the "Talk" pages: make it "Draft" pages by instance by adding Draft to the current topic name. This way we could start with a simple and quick and dirty solution to try things out (no draft page per user but a common one, no specialized UI, just propose the draft if you have the lock, and the draft is more recent than the page. Otherwise silently remove the draft)

-- ColasNahaboo - 06 May 2008

Y, draft would work ok.

Possible that the draft should be in a different web (they may be considered to be somewhat private), but for a first implementation the same web would probably suffice.

-- MartinCleaver - 06 May 2008

Autosave could be a system setting in configure, possible to override in user's topic. It could be default "on" and a checkbox like when forcing new revision in edit would let you turn "off" autosave when you want to contemplate a bit.

And you could select that other checkbox, "Draft", setting that to "on" would insert ALLOWREADTOPIC = you and probably we need a META tag to get effective cache for a list of your drafts in your home (user) topic.

Then we don't have to save a separate backup somewhere else and make alot of new pages/places and handle old backups and merges.

Merge could be an issue, but they are handled today, right, so if autosave is done with ajax/REST then conflicts would not be older than 10 minutes (if that's default save timeout) and possible to handle via current API functions, eh right? ...in theory that sounds doable :)...

-- LarsEik - 06 May 2008

I don't think that the 'Draft' suggestions are what users would expect from an 'autosave' feature. It is much more like the ISO web functionality - and does not help people that autosave is most needed for - the ones that don't want anyone to see their work inprogress, and so are not hitting checkpoint save).

Auto save on the other hand would essentially create temporary per-user branches that would exist only until either a Save event, or a Cancel event. The issue with that is pretty much that it would require extra UI designs to allow users to browse their 'branches', to recover (ie merge into the current version and then continue editing) or discard them.

And, it requires some kind of admin interface to allow either the setting of an expirey on those branches, or intentional management of them.

All in all, a worthwhile idea, but it will require careful interface design to not simply add confusion.

Another quickfix like thing - have wysiwyg call Checkpoint save every 5 minutes.

-- SvenDowideit - 08 May 2008

If WYSIWYG can do this, how about allow the user to switch on or off the auto-checkpoint?

-- MartinCleaver - 09 May 2008

What needs to be done, to realize one of the discussed sorts of "AutoSave"?

-- MartinSeibert - 12 May 2008

Funding, I would think.

-- MartinCleaver - 04 Aug 2008

Can anybody, who would be willing to do the job, can come up with an estimate of the work needed to accomplish it. A thorough conception would also be needed.

I will try to collect some funds from our customers afterwards. I cannot guarantee for the funding. But it is a feature, that might work, I believe.

-- MartinSeibert - 05 Aug 2008

The auto-save question came up at Support.SID-01340. This feature is best implemented as a plugin, discussed at AutoSavePluginDev. Anybody interested in defining the spec and implementing this?

-- PeterThoeny - 2011-11-27

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Topic revision: r22 - 2011-11-27 - PeterThoeny
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