A Plea for Better Software: Provide Auto-Save

Published on June 25, 2007 (↻ July 25, 2021), filed under and (RSS feed for all categories).

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 September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!

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.