Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Delete "Save"

Read an interesting blog entry by Lars Pind today. No idea who this fellow is, but I think his idea is nuts. He has the notion that each application should auto-save data every minute or so. The theory sounds ok at first, but upon closer examination it really doesn't work.

What if the user doesn't want to save something? He has the notion that if you enter something in an application, you wanted to save it. While this might be true most of the time, its not always the case. For example, I routinely copy several items into a text editor for reference later, but I have no intention of keeping them around. This text-editing app might be open all day with these items, but at the end of the day, I close the application, and DON'T SAVE the data. In his scenario this data would be saved. But where? And what if I do this everyday, and I copy lots of stuff? I end up wasting drive space, filling it with all sorts of files that I don't want or need.

And also along these lines, when does the file get a name? When the application starts? Does that mean I now have the extra step to name something that I don't plan on keeping and don't need?

While I agree there are times that auto-save works, I disagree that EVERY application should implement it.


MegaManJuno said...

Makes sense to me to have it as an option for any app that would require file saves. Forcing it always-on would be a big no-no though in my book.

kordalian said...

Welcome to the age of bloat my friend. MegaMemory, MegaDiskSpace ... can't put it to waste ya know. ;-)

I suppose it's like what Google does for e-mail ... who knows.

Lars Pind said...

Hi 4hak

I don't think I did say "EVERY application" ... but even in your example, if your text editor crashes in the middle of the day where you have already pasted several items into it, but not gotten around to the "later" when you were going to reference them, you would still be better off if it had indeed saved them, and would show them to you when you reopened the app.

And for the end of the day when you want to discard your buffer, just hit the newly invented "File > Discard" menu option.


Stacey said...

Lars, I'll agree I would betterin the scenario where the text editor crashes. I still think though that it doesn't make sense to just do that. I have to agree with mesgamanjuno on this one. I think having it as an option is fine.

I think there is always a place for Save, Save As, and Delete (though Google would have you believe otherwise).

Lars, you didn't address the naming of these files? When does that happen in your scenario?

It amazes me just how quickly stuff spreads with these blogs. I never imagined that I would get a response from the author of the article, but yet here it is. Kudos Lars!

MegaManJuno said...

Well as far as I see it for the file names, it could be something as simple as generating a name on the fly based on an application ID and a time-stamp or something similar. The file is then saved with this name until you choose to do something with it. If you choose to save it, the file is renamed to your chosen name. If you choose to close it without saving it/discard it, the file is deleted.

Stacey said...

MegaMan, thats not a bad design idea there. With that scenario, it would mostly satisfy my requirements, though it would take some getting used to. One thing that still bothers me is what if I decide that all of my changes, I really don't want, but I still want what I had before I started making changes?

For instance, I was working with some digital video last night in iMovie, and I tinkered around for a while, but in the end, I decided to leave it unchanged. How would it work in this auto-save scenario?

One way this could work is like Word does. It saves periodically to a temp storage, and then deletes that when you close. You get the security of saving all the time, but it doesn't keep it. But this really doesn't satisy Lars, since it doesn't come right back with this "auto-saved" file whern you re-open Word.

MegaManJuno said...

Actually, if you end up saving the file in Word before you exit, the temp file is discarded I believe.

If Word happens to crash while you're working on a document, I'm seem to recall (from personal experience) that it actually does pick up that there is a newer copy of it out there (the temp file) and asks if you want to work with that temp version instead of the "saved" version.

Stacey said...

Yeah, I think that it does check for the temp file's existence when it starts up, and if it exists, it prompts you to open it or something like that.

You know though, to truly satisfy what Lars originally said, the application would have to save continually. He mentions saving every minute or so, but when he started his argument, he said "When you enter stuff into a computer, it's usually because you want the computer to keep it for you, not because you want it to turn around and throw it away." So in this case, every time I make a change, that change should be saved. Thats a lot of overhead, in my opinion. Maybe not, but its a lot of disk activity anyways, particularly with applications dealing with large amounts of data like video editing software.