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UPDATE: This is now fixed through a TWiki patch available at BackFromPreviewLosesText. -- RichardDonkin

<This is a first draft -- comments and fixes are welcome!>

<Perhaps the first two paragraphs (sentences) are appropriate to add at the top of TWiki.TextFormattingRules, with appropriate adjustments to the link.>

If you use Internet Explorer 5, 5.5, or 6 with TWiki, there is a chance that, depending on what you do, the edits (changes) that you are in the process of making will be lost.

Once you understand the circumstances under which this can occur, you can take #very_simple_precautions_to_avoid_the_problem.

Unfortunately, the problem is difficult for TWiki to solve unilaterally.

This note also explains #what_triggers_the_problem and points you to #more_information_about_the_problem.

What Triggers the Problem

In general, the problem occurs when you pop-up another browser window after you have made changes on the editing page, then hit Preview and go to the preview page, and then use your browser's back button to go back to the edit page.

Here is a specific set of steps that will trigger the problem:

  • Edit a test page using IE5.x (I used IE5.01 and IE5.5 SP2) or IE6.0
  • Add one line to the page
  • Click the TextFormattingRules link
  • Hit Preview, then hit the browser's Back button (note slight extra delay on Back)
  • The line you added earlier has disappeared.

Aside: I (a different I (rhk)) use Internet Explorer 5.00.2919.6307 and have not experienced the problem so far. Of course, I've only called another pop-up window from the edit page once, for the purposes of testing this.

Very Simple Precautions to Avoid the Problem

  • Be aware of this potential problem. Read the specific set of steps above so that you understand when to expect the problem. You might even find that the problem does not affect you. (Even so, I'd continue to be cautious.)

  • After you hit your browser's back button to return from Preview to Edit, check to confirm that your edits are still present.

  • If not: hit Preview again, then Save, then Edit.


  • Develop the habit of always using the Edit, Preview, Save, Edit cycle to continue editing a page.


  • Develop the habit of never popping up another (TWiki?) window from the edit page.

More Information About the Problem

Some of us might describe the problem as a bug in Internet Explorer and I think this is a fair characterization. The relevant point is that this is a difficult problem for TWiki to solve unilaterally (without changes by Microsoft) without causing other problems (??). Another way to describe the problem might be that the cited versions of Internet Explorer handle cached pages differently than all (??) other browsers. < this is my first stab at a one sentence explanation -- I may be way off base??> For a more technical discussion of the problem, see Codev.BackFromPreviewLosesText.

Now fixed in TWikiAlphaRelease - the warning about the bug is also now removed from the templates.


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Topic revision: r3 - 2002-03-26 - RichardDonkin
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