Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saveless mode

When I'm using a text editor or word processor, I don't want to have to think about saving the document. I want to be able to expect that if I've typed something, it's safe and I can't lose it.

I'm not saying that programs should completely forgo an explicit save feature. I'd just like it if, in addition to the way they are now, they'd also had a 'saveless' mode of running where it automatically and behind the scenes saved everything you typed as you typed.

At present, everytime I've write a little bit -- like a sentence, or a sentence clause -- I save the document. I find it simpler to constantly and habitually save, rather than having to remember to periodically (like once a minute) save.

I don't want that distraction of remembering to save. And I don't want the interruption of saving. Interrupting my typing and my thought processes, however minor that interruption may be.

Autosave features might sound like a solution, but I don't like them. If you have it save every minute or so, you still have the consciousness that changes between those saves aren't safe. And even if you have it save very frequently, like once a second, it's not ideal. Usually, there's some graphical indication that it's saving, and that's a distraction. And that's still not enough to guarantee that you won't lose things occuring between saves. Like if you've pasted in a large amount of text.

What you really need is something that is designed specifically for saving absolutely everything you type, as you type it. And to do so in the background, without the user being aware of it happening.

An explicit save feature adds to a program's concept count. Something that people have to initially learn. Pads of paper don't have a 'save' button. Without an explicit save feature, programs would be simpler.

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