Jens Oliver Meiert

A Plea for Better Software: Provide Auto-Save

Post from June 25, 2007 (↻ June 29, 2016), reflecting Jens the .

Applications do rarely automatically or periodically save users’ work. They thus fail to prevent unnecessary, frustrating, and expensive loss of work and information. Since this isn’t just a but a critical problem, we need to encourage application developers and owners to change that. More:

This simply became another guerrilla post but it should be clear that we would benefit from applications that save continuously. So when there’s a web app that doesn’t have any auto-save magic, let’s add it. And when there’s an important application that could use some of that magic too, let’s add it there, too.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of December 23, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a German philosopher and developer (Google, W3C, O’Reilly). He experiments with arts and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Amazon. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

Comments (Closed)

  1. On June 25, 2007, 18:17 CEST, Eric said:

    That’s something which irritated me when I switched to a mac: no apply and save buttons in preferences. I use Textmate a lot which saves your files when switching to another window which is quite good.

  2. On June 25, 2007, 19:08 CEST, Duluoz said:

    Every now and then, out of curiosity, I’ll try out new versions of design software such as Corel Draw. Corel’s products have had auto-save for years. You can also customize the frequency of saving if you like. However, I and many others have had this feature crash the application when triggered! How wonderful and counter productive is that!? Hahaha.

  3. On October 18, 2008, 22:44 CEST, mprove said:

    In general I agree with your reasoning, but if it comes to the details I have to add an aspect. AUTOSAVE is fighting the symptoms of an application centered model. Users tend to forget to SAVE their documents until it is too late due to system crashes. A better solution would be a document centered model and CONTINUOUS SAVE TO A SUSPEND FILE. Thus, the file on the disk is not automatically overwritten and can be used as an important milestone during the course of the work.
    If some applications provide AUTOSAVE (and I do not refer to the pref panel), some other applications don’t then the situation for the user might be worse than before. She needs to keep in mind yet another mode of the machine, ie. whether the app offers AUTOSAVE or not.
    Apple Lisa did it right and for example OpenOffice.org as well.

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