Jens Oliver Meiert

A Plea for Better Software: Provide Auto-Save

Post from June 25, 2007 (↻ July 25, 2021), filed under and .

So far, applications rarely automatically and periodically save users’ work. They therefore fail to prevent unnecessary, frustrating, expensive loss of work and information. Since this isn’t just a but a critical problem, we need to encourage application vendors and developers to change that. More:

This became another guerrilla post, but it should be clear that we benefit from applications to save continuously. So when there’s a web app that doesn’t have 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 as well.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on April 29, 2020.

I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

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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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