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Is the Save Button Obsolete?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the do-you-do-regular-system-backups-too dept.

Data Storage 188

Luther Blissett asks: "I've wondered this for awhile now: why do we still have a Save button? Why isn't it always automatic? Why isn't 'Save As' called 'Name and File'? I understand that in ancient history, when Save was a hit on system resources (e.g. when saving to your 5.25 inch floppy disk), we might give control to the user. Also, the average user then was probably more technically adept (out of necessity) and knew the difference between RAM and storage. But now? Why?"

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188 comments

Marginal Cases (3, Interesting)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212373)

[W]hy do we still have a Save button?
Two marginal cases come to mind:
  1. Transitory unsalvageable states (e.g., you just selected all and cut)
  2. Prohibitively large data sets (e.g., bioinformatics, movies)
For modest domains, however, a form of automatic versioning control ("save tree") would solve the first case.

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212576)

For modest domains, however, a form of automatic versioning control ("save tree") would solve the first case.

Shades of VAX/VMS with foo.txt;1 foo.txt;2 foo.txt;3 ... foo.txt;954

Make it stop!

:-)

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

Morgalyn (605015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213110)

I was just thinking this myself. The versioned file system is the ONLY thing I like about the VAX I'm forced to get along with. But the versioning? pretty cool!

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213798)

You realize that we've dated ourselves with our understanding of now-obscure operating systems, don't you?

I remember when it took three of us to lift a 10 Mb hard disk drive. (But, man! the geek factor of a CDC hawk in one's bedroom in one's parent's house was enormous).

Re:Marginal Cases (2, Insightful)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212634)

Aside from the user model issues...

The version tree just isn't very useful if it includes 900 slightly different versions of the same document. Which one do I want? Let's see, it was about 10:00 when I started doing dumb stuff so I guess I want version 845 then, it was from about that time...

I could label my versions explicitly, but then how would this be better than a save button?

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212797)

I could label my versions explicitly, but then how would this be better than a save button?
The events that lead to an automatic revision would be significant; to take the word processor analogy: paragraphs, not characters.

The user could be presented with a revision tree, click on a node to retrieve that state, and branch therefrom.

Personally, however, I think save "ain't broke."

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212968)

to take the word processor analogy: paragraphs, not characters.

I'm sure that e. e. cummings [utoronto.ca] ("paragraph? what's a paragraph?") wouldn't have liked that "feature"...

Eric
View your HTTP headers here [ericgiguere.com]

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213068)

I'm sure that e. e. cummings [...] wouldn't have liked that "feature".
Ouch: that page you linked to had Cummings in a variable-width serif; it's a crime to print that poet of space in anything but fixed-width courier.

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213852)

"Paragraphs, not characters" is not a good yardstick for the significance of changes. An example: without the option of choosing the "save" function instead of just relying on auto-save, how would I keep the change if I just pulled up a document and noticed that I had omitted, say, the word "not" from "Thou shalt not commit adultery"?

I agree with you. It ain't broke.

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214177)

I agree with you. It ain't broke.
Something that pertains to me as dearly as my work will always be mediated by human—preferably personal—judgement: that's freedom and responsibility. (I drive stick for the same reason.)

In other words, Clippy® is the teleology of computer-mediated workflow.

Re:Marginal Cases (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214043)

Let's see, it was about 10:00 when I started doing dumb stuff

Since other comments in this thread have made me reminicent of my own VMS days, I'll use that command set. In that OS, you can always issue:

$ DIR /DATE

Pick one from before 10:00. Run with it. Lord knows the versioning on VMS has saved my ass more than a few times...

version tree == undo tree (3, Insightful)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213773)

Here's a thought: the versions of a file match the undo states. So, as you edit the file, the program journals it to disk. Crash and resume, and you get your undo history back. Save, and your undo history is collapsed and the file stored in its native (un-journalled) form. So "save" transforms from a storage operation, to a render operation.

This has the advantage that a quit or crash and restart from a temporary change will allow you to back out the change. It also works for large datasets, because you aren't continually saving the whole thing, only journalling the changes.

Re:version tree == undo tree (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213845)

Save, and your undo history is collapsed and the file stored in its native (un-journalled) form.
There you go; call it, say, a "collapsible diff tree" and the patent's yours.

since day one (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212383)

Since day one, "SAVE" has been obsolete along with a myriad of abstractions offered end users (what the heck is the notion of a "FILE" menu anyway? -- What the heck is the notion of "FILE"? I know I've read every beginner's book about getting familiar with computers, and they always go into excruciatingly dull detail about the file abstraction (it's a collection of bytes the comprise a document, blah, blah, blah.)). Users don't care what a file is, they don't want to know what a file is, they just want to do work.

(I will admit caution when absolving users of any responsibility to learn, but generally speaking, end users have enough on their plate without having to incorporate geek-speak to do their work.)

I was in a design meeting one day discussing the appropriateness of the "FILE" menu for the application we were delivering. One of the anointed Golden Boys of the team had sketched the layout and included the "FILE" menu. I asked why we needed it, there was NO notion of "FILE" in our application, there was no notion of "SAVE FILE", etc. in our application.

He said, "cuz they expect it, it's a standard menu." I said, "standard cuz they expect it, or standard cuz it's always been there?" I finally gave up on the chicken and egg discussion, let it be resolved the end users "expect" "FILE" (NOT!).

That said, I could (and may) go through the menu selections in virtually any application and find half of the "options" are abstractions that have bubbled up either historically, or were just never "translated" for end userdom. It's a mess, and it's a presentation piece of software I am constantly explaining, and apologizing for.

It's toothpaste out of the tube, I wish it could go back in. But, it's a great lesson in humility when you actually take a lay-step back and actually try to interpret what we see as normal-speak on a daily basis. It isn't normal, and it isn't transparent.

Short answer to the poster's question: yes

Most of the crap we throw the users' way is artifact crap that never went away. (Does anyone know or remember the story about cutting away 1/3 or the Thanksgiving Ham when preparing it for Thanksgiving Dinner?)

Re:since day one (4, Insightful)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212685)

Not to accuse programmers of being lazy, but it's easier to implement "save" functionality than it is to implement "complete undo/redo" functionality. You need the latter if you don't have the former.

Note that saving a change history along with the document itself can be problematic for various reasons, from the simple fact that you're bloating the file to the fact that you may expose information inadvertently if anyone care to look at the change history. As many Microsoft Word users have discovered to their chagrin.

Eric
My Squidoo page [squidoo.com]

Re:since day one (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212912)

On that note do why many applications include change histories in the main file. Autosaves to a symolic file location as well as histories in another file (you should be able to pre as to how far back you want to go in time) would be perfect. Then you can send the file to anyone and no have to worry about such issues. Obviously in a collaprative environment you might want to share histories but thats not so hard.

Re:since day one (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213092)

It's just easier to keep the document and the history together if they're in the same file. Otherwise the linkage is easily lost if (say) you rename the main document file and forget to rename the history file.

Eric
The Invisible Fence Guide [ericgiguere.com] (features my dogs!)

Re:since day one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14213212)

T/ar them all together as part of the format specification.

This way you can even inspect yourself without need of special tools is something wreaks havoc.

Re:since day one (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213603)

In a system without a save functions files would be deeply hidden and retrieved by the application based on search criteria. For many people a recent documents list is enough for their daily work. Even if you wanted file access you could store the main file in the documents folder and the changes history in a hidden folder. Tarring them as other poster said is silly as it would make sending to others more difficult unless there was a special interface for it.

Re:since day one (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212713)

The "File" menu has traditionally been the place for "standard" system stuff that has nothing to do with "files". E.g. "Exit". What does "exiting" have to do with files? And what "menu" would you put the "exit" menu item (if you even had one), the "Exit Menu" menu? (yes you could dispense with the notion entirely, but closing a single window is often NOT equivalent to "exiting")

Re:since day one (2, Informative)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212908)

I think Macs get away with just using the (apple icon) menu. Anyone else could really substitude the File menu with an Application menu that had slightly wordier items in it. File->Save would be Application->Save Document, File->Exit would be Application->Exit, etc.

As an added benefit of making that change, one could move the "standard" Tools->Options into Application->Options (or Preferences) and stick it next to the typical Print, Printer Setup, Page Setup menu items.

Re:since day one (4, Insightful)

Jordy (440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213270)

Macs have an "Application" menu named after the application. In Firefox it is called "Firefox." That is where application-wide functions are (about/preferences/quit). The "File" menu still exists. That is where major operations relating to files exist (new/save/print/close).

The reason things like "Print" aren't under the application menu is because you can have multiple files open at once. It relates to the current file only. The same goes for "Save." I don't want to save every file I have open.

The apple icon menu is for OS-specific items (about mac/system preferences/shutdown/logout).

You're using a computer (4, Insightful)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212992)

What would you say instead? If I want to load a [document | picture | mp3 song | spreadsheet | database | movie] what would you call it? Where would you put it? Having 'files' and 'directories' (folders) is nearly a necessity for having an operating computer. You could theoritically design an operating system that stored and classified all files based on their type and kept them segregated like that, but you still would have just the notion of file type replacing directory. Then you have all the textures for Doom located in with your family pictures because they're the same type. Have fun browsing through tens of thousands of pictures (including system icons and cached pics from the web) to find your 20 pictures from your camera you wanted to store on your computer. Unless you can come up with a better way, 'file' is here to stay.

If you do away with the concept of 'files', the operating system then has to handle every possible type of document. You wouldn't have had the MP3 revolution because there would be no such thing as an 'MP3' since the OS didn't support it. You also wouldn't be able to organize data in directories, like having all of a game's data in one directory. Grand Theft Auto would have it's application wherever applications are, sounds wherever sounds are kept, textures wherever pictures are kept, movies wherever they are kept, settings files wherever they are kept, and their proprietary data files wherever they are kept, if the OS even allows it because it knows the type of file and where it should go. Then you could be scanning your pictures one day and see a texture not knowing what it is and delete it, then you can't play the game anymore.

And how exactly is 'save' obsolete? How often are you going to write the file to the disk? Every 10 minutes? Every 1 minute? Every keystroke? I would argue that having a 'save' button or menu item is the best way to handle this. If they close down the application with a modified document, the application can warn them as most applications do. Good luck saving a big spreadsheet every keystroke with OO when a save can take minutes. I don't think you'd get much work done. What if you want to just play around? Do you want to have to create a copy of the 'document' before opening it if you want to make changes you may not want to keep? It's also inefficient to save every keystroke when you may be making a lot of changes before saving.

The notion of a 'FILE' menu is there because applications work with FILES. If you have an application that doesn't work with FILES then don't use a file menu.

Re:You're using a computer (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213838)

Hehe, you kinda described the linux file system. However, it works fine. You have your home folder to store your files (you can have subfolders too), and other folders for apps' documentation, executables, libraries, etc. (these have subfolders too). Same system, different organization. I just HATE palm's system...

You are completely wrong ... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214292)

The concept of "document" would still be valid.
You would have a "spreadsheet", a "letter", etc.
The "all files should be known to the OS" thing is BS, that's what plugins, kparts/automation-servers are for. MP3 never meant jacksh*t to linux; but inside KDE, you click on one of those, and voila, noatun is loaded with it.

Re:You are completely wrong ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14214449)

Der, okay nerditron.

Since the OS is what handles the physical storage of data on the system, of course it has to know about files. It is the gate keeper between hardware and software, its gotta know that this groups of bits constitutes a "file" or whatever, and that it is has properties that are distinct from other "files."

Re:since day one (4, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214023)

what the heck is the notion of a "FILE" menu anyway? -- What the heck is the notion of "FILE"? [...] excruciatingly dull detail about the file abstraction [...] blah, blah, blah.)). Users don't care what a file is, they don't want to know what a file is, they just want to do work. [...] end users have enough on their plate without having to incorporate geek-speak to do their work.

What the heck is the notion of a "Steering wheel" anyway? what the heck is the notion of "STEERING"? I've read the owner's manual for my car, but it's just excruciatingly dull detail about why I need to learn how to use the "pedals" and "brakes", blah, blah, blah. Drivers don't care what a steering wheel is, or how the brakes work, they have enough on their plate without having to incorporate gearhead-speak to get where they want to go.

Why do people have to learn how to use a tool? Why can't the tool just be designed so that it can guess exactly what the user wants, and just do it? It all seems so needlessly complicated.

Re:since day one (1)

Jordy (440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214050)

Since day one, "SAVE" has been obsolete along with a myriad of abstractions offered end users (what the heck is the notion of a "FILE" menu anyway? -- What the heck is the notion of "FILE"? I know I've read every beginner's book about getting familiar with computers, and they always go into excruciatingly dull detail about the file abstraction (it's a collection of bytes the comprise a document, blah, blah, blah.)). Users don't care what a file is, they don't want to know what a file is, they just want to do work.

I don't really understand. A file on a computer is an analog to a file in the physical world. A file folder (directory) on a computer is an analog to a file folder in the physical world. A file is a thing that contains information (pictures, text, whatever) in the physical world and on a computer.

Can you work in the physical world without files? I suppose you could if you never handled paper, but it was just easier to copy something from the physical world because it was assumed that anyone who knew how to file papers would be able to understand.

You simply can't efficiently use information and not organize it... even if your organization method is a stack of documents on a desk.

Save is not some useless abstraction. Save guarantees that the temporary changes you've made are committed. You are transferring the changes from short term memory to long term memory.

Automatically saving is *bad*. You should be able to open a file, make a bunch of changes and then save them as a new file *without* changing the original file at all. I should qualify that. Automatically saving for the purposes of disaster recovery is fine... word does it by simply saving to a temporary file so that if your computer blows up, you can recover something. As far as I know, if you open a file, make a bunch of changes, autosave happens and decide to quit without saving (it'll prompt), your original file remains unmodified.

Past that, there are technical reasons why automatically saving is inefficient. The first being that if you're working on an image file for print work and it is 600 megs, it'll take about 20 seconds to write it completely to disk. If you write changes instead in a incremental fashion, you run into speed issues when opening the file because now you have to apply a large list of changes, some of which may be heavy operations. Worse, the programming effort for implementing such formats is *significant*. If you are going for standardization and expect other application vendors to adopt your file format, then they're going to have to implement the same complex system.

There are ways to optimize that I've left out, but it is simply not an easy task. Manual versioning works and apps like Word support it internally so you don't have to keep multiple files around tagged as different things.

Anyway, to use a computer you do have to learn some terminology and some metaphors that have no physical analogs, but a good bit of it is modeled after the physical world.

Not many good reasons I can think of... (1)

Godeke (32895) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212389)

There is nothing in the technology that requires a save button for typical programs and uses. KJots is my preferred "scribble a note" repository for that reason: I can't forget to save the note. However, with larger files the delay of doing a "full save" may be an issue. It only takes a second to save most reasonable sized files, but if poorly implemented that second could make the software appear unresponsive. Still, it doesn't require rocket science to save during pauses (if the user stops for more than five seconds, they probably have stopped for long enough that a second to save won't hurt anything).

For larger, more complex document types, a "transactional" file where you only write out the changes since the last save point may be appropriate. Apparently this is harder than it would seem though, as almost every program I have seen with this kind of technology seems to be more apt to corrupt the document than standard saves (actual databases not included). For efficiency, closing the document could cause a final version to be automatically composed and the transaction history removed. This would also be good for security and privacy (so a recipient doesn't see how the document got the way it is.)

Of course the new problem becomes "how do I forget the giant mess I just turned the document into". With a transactional file, reverting to a prior edit should be a snap, but if it was just background saving you would run the risk of saving a version that the user didn't really want. In KJots it is a non issue because of the type of document it is, but in a "real" application backing up the original version would be mandatory.

Another adjustment would be asking for file name and location at the start of a new document... minor but potentially jarring for those used to the old methods.

Perhaps the *real* reason is laziness on the part of programmers. Backing up documents, allowing restore to a prior version, transactional formats... that is all more work than "dump the data on request".

Obselete? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14212390)

Is it obselete? No. As long as Microsoft Winblows continues to BSOD and kill users' work, we'll always need a save button. Until users switch to a stable OS (Linux or Mac), the save button will be necessary.

The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (4, Insightful)

chewedtoothpick (564184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212406)

Mainly it is not obsolete because you don't want to make a major mistake, save it and be unable to undo that mistake.

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (1)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212622)

Ideally, files would automatically be saved and versioned continuously. Like the save button, fact that a "file" currently means "a snapshot of a file at one instant" is obsolete.

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212730)

While we're at it, let's never EVER let a user delete ANYTHING. After all, they can always just buy another hard drive. Also, every website they ever visit should be bookmarked the moment the page loads. And email should ALWAYS be sent automatically. None of this "send later" or "save draft" crap. And no deleting a message. We should just assume everything the user writes is to be immediately disseminated.

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213875)

While we're at it, let's never EVER let a user delete ANYTHING.

Who do you think you are -- Gmail? :-)

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213929)

That works great in the modern world of giant hard drives... for text files. How about if I'm working with large images? Or sound? Or video?

Save and files are not, in any way, obsolete. Not everybody in the world uses their computers exclusively for writing code or letters to Mom.

Re:A good point, sortof (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212646)

I see lots of people(.. two, but I dont know many people) use "not saving" instead of undo. Always makes me want to hit them. But then sometimes I'm on somebody else's system and all that's available is some version of vi with one level of undo and terminal settings which convert "@" to a destructive backspace (seriously, wtf?)

Sometimes closing and re-opening is the best shot until you can figure out where you are.

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (2, Insightful)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212702)

As someone who worked in IT support in the past, I can tell you that there are many times where people "Save" their document in a state they don't want it in, only to be unable to recover the old one. Furthermore, there's those people who don't want to screw up their existing version so they *don't* save, only to have 3 hours of work go down the drain when their application crashes or something else... I think developers need to look in to better ways of supporting working on large documents (I like the transactional saves recommended by some posters)

Re:The save button is about as obsolete as Undo (2, Interesting)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212790)

Mainly it is not obsolete because you don't want to make a major mistake, save it and be unable to undo that mistake.

When talking with my users, I have even referred to closing a document without saving it as a "high level undo". If you completely trash something, just don't save it and start over from the good saved copy. Autosave might deprive you of a good saved copy.

I need a save button... (3, Insightful)

WTBF (893340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212408)

Quite a lot of time I make a first draft of a document, save it and print it out. Then I go and edit it and then save this as another copy, the finial version. If it automatically saved then it would end up with the draft not being a draft but half way between draft and finial (I only save every five minutes or so).

Re:I need a save button... (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213015)

The answer to that concern is that change logging versioning and branching have to become an integral system service. In such a case there'd be a subtle differnce between naming a version and saving, but it'd be there.

1. You create your document "Great Novel".
2. You edit your novel.
3. You shut off your computer.
4. You turn on your computer.
5. You open up "Great Novel" and it takes you where you left off.
6. After editing for three hours, you decide that you really don't want to kill of your hero, so you ask for the document to be rolled back by 50 minutes.
7. You start editing from that point, which automagically creates a document branch.
8. After twenty minutes, you like what you have, and decide to label the version on this branch "best version".
9. You later decide to go back to your abandoned branch, and label it "hero dies".
10. Over the course of months, your version tree becomes extremely bushy. However at any time you can ask for the most recent "best version" or see a history of all versions in which "hero dies".

If I had to say there was a suite of capabilties missing from most applications, it is a comprehensive but easy to use set of logging, versioning and branching capabilities.

Re:I need a save button... (2, Insightful)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214222)

And this is better than the save button with backround autosave how?

Users grok save at a basic level. Throw what, 2000 branches at them and they are likely to flip. How would automagic know that changing my font was a BS change and not worth branching and changing my character's name was a big deal?

Isn't this a solution in search of a problem?

Re:I need a save button... (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213097)

You could do that without a save button just as well.
Instead of saving to a new location AFTER you made your changes, you could also enter a new filename BEFORE you make your changes if your 'Save As' were called 'Name and File'.

It is just a matter of what we are used to, I guess.

And a good undo/versioning function is about the only thing that would allow you to catch mistakes that can happen in either system (e.g. hitting "save" instead of "save as" with the current scheme or forgetting to rename the file before making the changes with the new one, either of which would destroy your draft)

Because some user like it that way (4, Insightful)

cuyler (444961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212433)

I open up files all the time tofiddle with some numbers without affecting the actual file. My bosses come up to me with little questions all the time - I just open the file with the data, do some minor manipulations, give them their answer and then close it. I care to retain that information.

Then again, I could have wildly misunderstood the question - wouldn't be the first time.

Re:Because some user like it that way (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212768)

I'll second this one. I'm forever opening things up and making tweaky changes. Nope, don't like that. Hmm. How about this? Nope, don't like that. This? Hmm... maybe ... but nah.

Often as not, I decide to stick with the original (at least for now). This is so much easier when the software doesn't "helpfully" autosave and force me to wade through levels of undo: Lessee ... how many things did I change now? --oh dadblast it, the app only allows X levels of undo, and here I must have made x+1 changes. When "Save" is completely optional, I can just close it without saving and know that my original exists unmodified.

This is my biggest gripe about PalmOS and PocketPC -- the assumption that there is no such thing as a change you don't want to keep.

Re:Because some user like it that way (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212822)

No, you didn't understand. It's another case of developers assuming the user is stupid, unable to handle simple abstractions, and wanting to cripple their software to make it "easier to use".

Sorta the way they hide all the configuration options in firefox, because all those big scary buttons are too much for my tiny brain to deal with.

Just elitism crap.

save still a hit on system resources (3, Insightful)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212481)

Original poster suggests that saving files isn't a hit on system resources, but of course it is under many circumstances. For my day-to-day activities, here are file types that, when saved, slow my machine down and/or make me wait:

Photoshop files -- they get quite large, after all;
Flash source files -- they get quite large, after all;
Premiere and other video/DVD editing software -- the biggest files of all;
Reason/Sonar (music) files -- they get large, and they also negatively impact system performance when you're playing back complex compositions in real time.

It's even worse if I'm saving to a network share.

So, that may be the case for large files, but what about text files?

Well, I'm a web developer by trade, and when I'm troubleshooting broken code, I often use this convenient and pain-free system to narrow down the bug location:

Step one: cut a chunk of code out of my source document;
Step two: save the file (without the chunk of code);
Step three: paste the chunk of code back into the source document;
Step four: refresh the browser to see if the bug is still present;
Step five: save the file (with the chunk of code restored).

Automatic saves would interfere with what I find to be a very convenient workflow.

Re:save still a hit on system resources (1)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213072)

Figure out if your editor-of-choice supports a block comment toggle keybinding. In jEdit and Eclipse, it's CTRL+/ - highlight code, toggle comment, save. refresh page. Back to editor, untoggle comment, save.

It's obvious... (3, Funny)

nekoniku (183821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212488)

Since the US is a Christian nation, having a "Save" button helps keep Jesus constantly on our minds. Now if we could only get the "Delete" button changed to "Damn to the Flames of Hell for All Eternity".

And don't even get me started on the obviously Freudian "Cut" and "Paste".

Re:It's obvious... (4, Funny)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212829)

Jesus & Satan were constantly getting into arguments about who is better on the computer. Finally, God gets tired of the bickering, and offers to have a contest to see who can use the computer better.

The day of the contest comes, and both Jesus and Satan begin working as quickly as they can. Hours pass, with both of them creating many spreadsheets, documents and databases. About 5 minutes before the contest ends, all of the power goes off, then comes back on after a few seconds.

Satan starts cursing at the computer, and how he just lost everything he had been working on. Jesus calmly just restarts the computer, and finishes what he was working on. Satan sees this, and starts complaining to God about how Jesus must be cheating.

God replies to Satan, "Jesus saves".

Ever used MS Office? (5, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212514)

Every day I work with word docs that are 30+ megs in size. All of our saving is done on network shares across a WAN link. Depending on network traffic, a normal save can stall the system for a quite a bit. Something tells me that if a few hundred engineers were constantly sending save data across that link, things wouldn't be looking so good. So, it is still very much a hit to system resources.

Also, as far as the auto save feature goes, I don't want it to. Ever opened a MS Office file (doc, ppt, xls, etc), go to close it without touching a single thing, and it asks you to save? Not to mention that when you work with baselined documents, if they ever change it has to be sent off for approval, resubmitted to higher ups, etc. If the modified date shows anything other than the baselined date, ruh roh. No thanks on the auto save.

Our save button doesnt do anything (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212564)

All information is automatically stored as soon as you are done entering it. Still, we have a save button. Because otherwise people would ask where the save button is.

I dont really like this feature, I'd prefer the save button do /something/. But I'm also the kind of person who compulsively clicks "save" (or :w) every now and then, so maybe I'm the target.
Actually, our save button does do one thing: it disabled itself after being clicked until something else changes. I argue against that because I feel I should always be able to click buttons whose function is not being blocked by something else. (oh no! He wants to noop in a place it doesnt make sense to noop! Calling our noop would only waste valueable cycles! .. or something)

Re:Our save button doesnt do anything (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212754)

May I ask what program you are using that saves every keystroke you make the second you enter it? It gets stored into RAM, yes, but not to the hard drive. The "Autosave" feature of a lot of programs merely write the contents to a temp file, not overwriting the original.

As far as programs disabling the save button if no changes have been made; I too am a compulsive saver, and the fact that the program doesn't do anything gives me a warm fuzzy that everything I've changed made it into the save.

Re:Our save button doesnt do anything (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213029)

your concept of "done entering it" is different from mine. I meant the moment you're done filling out a property window (for example) and click "okay", that property is saved.

Re:Our save button doesnt do anything (1)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212756)

Well, making the save button disabled also shows the user that their file has been saved (and while it's disabled, it hasn't been modified), giving a visual component to an otherwise invisible process.

Re:Our save button doesnt do anything (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213229)

I've alway's preferred gvim or visual studio's method of putting an * or + in the title bar when a file you're viewing has been modified since being opened. The reasoning is: this isnt so simple as a "this file is different from what is on disk", it is the more nuanced "I havent seen you make any changes since last time I did something involving the filesystem". Not having seen changes does not mean there is no difference, and so should not take away functionality. Within the last hour I have opened a log, deleted the original, and then restored it by saving the "unchanged" window.

But more importantly, it goes against the general design principle of not ever explicitely taking away functionality just because you can't think of a reason you would want that functionality in that instance- when it would do no harm to have it. (holy crap that's poorly phrased)

Note that this is not the same as simply not adding certain functionality in the first place, which tends to be admirable (and more what this article is talking about). That is: When you have a save button, don't ever disable it just because you feel like it, but do you /need/ a save button?

As for a definitive answer: Of course you need a save button, because storage space is not yet good enough to save infinite versions of an infinite number of infinitely-sized files.

Do wake me up when I can get enough qbytes to simply pull the correct code out of the chaos, assuming all files which wouldnt compile cancel eachother out :)

As opposed to what? (2, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212625)

How is it obsolete?

There still is a difference between RAM and storage and there's no indication that that will change any time soon. A Save button gives us the control that we still need. In a word processor, for example, a quick typer could generate as many as 15 or more individual changes to the document per second. Yes, you could save at predefined intervals, but that number would need to be tweaked depending on the software and hardware situation. There's no one save interval that would fit all needs.

There is another possible reason for the save button to exist... occasionally there are situations where I want to open a document and even possibly modify it but not save it. Rare, I know, but automatic saving would be a drawback in this case.

In the end, removing the Save button from applications would only introduce more problems than it would cure. In an ideal world, I can see where it would work (Apple would be the first to do it), but with today's hardware, software, and users as error-prone as they are, it's much better to just leave it there.

Re:As opposed to what? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214006)

Apple has done it. Aperture has no save button. But Aperture is a photography management and processing application that restricts itself to only making changes to images that can be done with CoreImage -- ie recreated on the fly. So the original file is never changed, only a list of instructions for how to turn that original image into the one you want. If you want to do something that can't be done in realtime like that, you have to use something like Photoshop... which has, and needs, a save button because changes cannot be instantly done, undone and saved like Aperture's.

Re:As opposed to what? (1)

horn_in_gb (856751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214359)

Why couldn't you extend this idea to other kinds of data? For example, you could think of text editing as starting with a blank document, and then record all the transformations done on that blank document (adding words, removing words, deleting this paragraph, changing word 2,etc).

If you represent the creation of your document like this, you could also go through the list of transformations as your complete document change history. You could remove transformations you didn't want (e.g., step 519: word #223 changed from "foo" to "bar") and have snapshots of what the document looked like at any point along the transformation process.

If you wanted a system like this to be pervasive, you would need a distinction between "source" data and transformed stuff, which might be confusing to end-users. E.g., you could start with two movie files, bring them in to your movie editing program, trim one, cross fade, and adjust color balance.

At this point you can quit and re-open your project and it's all there (no save required). On the other hand you can export all this to one new movie "source" file, which could be dragged into another movie editor or whatever, so you don't convey the list of transformations performed.

This distinction would allow for a robust versioning system, no need to save ever, just a need to "export". You could send your document with all its transformation list, then, to somebody who might need that. On the other hand, you could export it to a new source document, which would be smaller and only contain its current text, and you could send that to Joe Schmoe who only wants to glance at your file (or who you don't want to have access to your full transformation history)

3 easy reasons... (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212660)

1. Lots of people work with larger data sets than you do.
2. Lots of people (photographers, lawyers, accountants, etc.) might want to share their work without sharing all the steps that went into creating that work.
3. Lots of people might see a need to share data using something with limited bandwidth/storage.

Are you always perfect? (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212679)

I know I'm not. Suppose I delete a paragraph with the intent to rewrite it, muck around for a while and then decide I preferred it the way it was? If everything is saved automatically, that original paragraph is lost.

Sure, I could Undo back to the previous state, but I've seen so many programs with broken or unreliable Undo that I simply could never trust that. Or what if the editor crashed before I could Undo?

The only way you can do away with user-directed saving is with some sort of automatic versioning system. But then, how often do you version? Whenever a single byte of information changes? Less often? How do you determine it?

What a pain in the ass. I'll keep my Save function, thanks.

Undo also has problems (1)

WallyHartshorn (64268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213404)

One problem I've noticed with every implementation of "Undo" that I've ever seen is that there is never any indication of what it is that you are about to "Undo". You hit Ctrl-Z and the cursor jumps to some unexpected part of the page -- what did it undo? No way to know, 'cuz it's not there, so now you have to "Redo" to compare, then "Undo" again.

I'm not sure what the best way of implementing an improved "Undo" function would be. Perhaps "Undo" would just use strikeout and redlining to show what it is about to do, then you would hit "Undo" again to get it to actually do it.

Re:Undo also has problems (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214167)

Animation. The app jumps to the edit you've asked to undo, then fades it out smoothly, perhaps with a dust cloud to signify "poof, it's gone." I'm not kidding--this would really help, if done tastefully, in a nonobtrusive manner.

Re:Are you always perfect? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213965)

There are lots of cases of changes that are not practically undoable. Not for text editing, but for other document types where keeping an infinite undo list would use up huge amounts of space or take massive amounts of time to step back and forth through.

Dial the Phone (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212706)

I suppose the "save as" button is analogous to "dialing" a telephone. You would be hard pressed to find an actualy pulse type dial phone in the USA, but you don't "press" a phone number, you "dial" it. Things things make sense because of something in the past.

The reason (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212715)

We have the save button for the same reason that we drive on the right (in the US) and stop at red lights -- its just the way it is, it works and everyone is used to it.

stupid question (1)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212725)

This is a pretty stupid question, I think. For example, if you make changes to a document that you don't want to save, then an autosave feature would kind of suck. Also, relying on some sort of autosave feature exclusinvely means it will have to be saving constantly, for fear of losing things (especially if you don't have the option to have it save exactly when you want), which greatly increases disk I/O's. It might not get used a lot, but I'd say "Save" still has it's uses.

Continuous save vs. templates and temporary change (2, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212796)

Consider one-off templating.

You want to make a new document based on your old one (maybe it'll use a similar structure or something). You open it up, make some changes, then save it as a new file, leaving the old one unchanged.

With continuous save (by which I don't mean the auto-save that current apps like MS Office do, where it saves to a temp file), you have to hit "Save as..." or the new-paradigm equivalent immediately, or else your old document is going to end up looking just like the new one. This is only really a problem during the transition phase, while people get used to the new procedure, and it's arguable that it's better in the long run, since as things stand right now you can easily forget that you haven't already branched a new file and save over the old one.

Then there's the issue where you load something and want to make a temporary change, say, for printing or in prep for a screencap or copying and pasting into another app. Or you start typing in the wrong window. If the document is saved continuously, not only do you have to undo the changes before you close the application, but you end up changing the file modification date. Maybe it's not critical for the data, but if you're sorting by when you changed something...

already being phased out (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212815)

Microsoft's oneNote (the new notetaking app bundled with office) has no 'save' function to speak of. It looks like the industry is taking the hint, and it's already being phased out where it can.

many RAW image editing apps also do not have a save function for the simple reason that all RAW manipulations are nondestructive, and thus, nothing is potentially lost by saving every step along the way.

This is an issue? (1)

MyOtherUIDis3digits (926429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212834)

To me, it seems that this is one of the UI items that has worked out pretty well. You have automatic saves going on to a temporary file in case of system crash / power loss / whatever, and you have the save option to explicitly save your changes to the original document. Sounds like a pretty good setup to me.

Also, you don't have to use the save command at all if you hate it so much. Just make your changes, exit, and answer yes to save.

Autosaving?! (1)

fmwap (686598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212848)

Having a machine overwrite the original copy of the file opened seems like a really bad idea. MS Office and I believe OpenOffice have features like this, but it does not overwrite the original. I prefer to manage multiple backups of data myself rather than let a machine do it, plus it keeps me in good practice.

But honestly, I don't see how the concept of 'files in folders' seems to elude so many people.

if it ain't broke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14212884)

...don't fix it.

(yes, yes, Mod: Redundant this may be, but you cannot argue that I am wrong)

another crappy post by Cliff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14212914)

please people, demote him from editor.

Another consideration (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212916)

I use some things to create momentary onscreen storage -- sort of a clipboard proxy, if you will. For instance, if I want to copy & paste from one app to another, but decide that it's easier to fix the formatting in a plain text editor first. So I copy from app A, paste into the editor, fix it up, copy from the editor, paste into app B. Then I close the editor without saving. There is no reason to keep that plain text file -- none whatsoever. A setup that automatically saves every doc would, on my computer, result in an irritating trashpile of transitory text docs.

Moreover, I have occasionally at work opened a text editor or word processor and started a nasty flaming reply to something or other. As I work on it, I calm down and put the doc into more diplomatic language, or realize that the best response in the case is no response. I wouldn't want some snoop (my boss, for instance) trolling my hard drive or my network folders finding the first seventeen profanity-riddled versions of the elegantly tactful e-mail I sent last week protesting a change in policy.

I would hate to see the loss of the Save option (not the button per se -- being a dinosaur who hates mouses, I tend to use keyboard shortcuts or file menu functions whenever possible). I would especially hate to see it replaced with a version tree or a default autosave that would require me actively to track down and expunge everything I didn't want to leave a record of.

Part of the recommended practices for CE (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14212976)

Windows CE had this as a part of the recommended practices for programmers. For the most part, you never do bring stuff into RAM if you can help it- you leave it and edit it in storage memory instead of in program memory. Thus, no "Save" function is ever neccessary- because the data is already in storage memory. Save As is neccessary for setting file format and file name- but that's it.

damn right! (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213006)

On that note, why does every freaking office app ask me if I want to "save, discard, cancel" when I close the program or shut down the pc?

I want neither! I just want out of here!
Maybe I am in a hurry. Maybe I already walked away after hitting "shutdown". So dont ask useless questions.
Just keep everything as it is, save to some temporary location if you must, and the next time i boot the pc and open the app i want everything just as I left it.

Atomicity (2, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213067)

There's a save button for the same reason we wrap SQL statements in BEGIN TRANSACTION ... COMMIT TRANSACTION. Sometimes you want changes to be all-or-none, and not in some unknown state where some of your intended edits are in place but not others. Maybe the answer to that argument is to save the entire edit history in some kind of infinite undo buffer, but personally I like Ctrl-S. There's autosave, but I still like to save things manually to reflect the states in which I'd actually want the document to exist.

No, it's not. (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213112)

Congratulations: you just invented Coyotos [coyotos.org] (was: Eros). Anyway, your idea doesn't account for:
  • Limited-write-cycle devices, like thumbdrives. If "save after each byte" trashed the FAT table sectors of my shiny new 1GB USB drive, I'd have to beat someone.
  • As someone else mentioned, network access. Few of the projects I work on are local to my own drive. I access most of them via SFTP or WebDAV, plus some NFS and Samba thrown in for good measure. I don't want my working file, regardless of how small, written out continually.

I don't think that "saving" is quite the high-level abstraction you're making it out to be, and it's shorter than saying "write contents to permanent storage". I don't see the concept of files going away any time soon, and as long as we have them, users will need to write to them.

In your defense, I don't think that using unsaved files as a convenient "undo buffer", as mentioned here by others, adds functionality that a good bookmarking system couldn't achieve (albeit with much greater overhead and fragility).

coyotes (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213596)

Since you seem to know something about coyotos, why is it taking so long to bring this out? I sort of followed the discussions on Eros with interest for years and have been waiting to see capability computing brought back. In the meanwhile Unix is adding it (and interesting enough NT is sort of taking it out). Oracle has continued to use this model but there has been little discussion of the pros and cons based on Oracle's experiences.

Do you have idea what the big holdup is?

Re:coyotes (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213679)

Since you seem to know something about coyotos

Actually, you probably know as much about it as I do. I randomly checked up on it ever few months or so, and only recently noticed the name and/or control change. I hope it turns into something, because I'd like to see a genuinely new approach to computing take off.

Re:coyotes (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213879)

Oh ok. BTW its an old approach. This is sort of multics like, what the Unix guys were rebelling against. Also you see most of this stuff in VMS including the save model you mentioned.

Why does memory != disk yet? (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213118)

Storage efficiency.

Mostly, 'save' just pushes things from fast but volatile memory onto safer but slower disk storage. IMO, the bigger and more interesting question is why we haven't yet got a single storage solution that can be used both as efficient temporary non-volatile swap space, making RAM obsolete, and still be used for permanent storage, replacing hard drives.

Stability.

Going off on a tangent a little, I've often wondered why executable code and data are still put in the same memory address space. We seem to be monkeying around trying separate them, what with NX flags and new safer programming languages and plugging the holes with buffer overflow patches, yet programmers, at the application level, are always shouting about abstraction and modularity and keeping your logic separate from your data etcetera. Isn't it time we ported some of the application level methods down to a lower level? Databases for example.

Some fundamental advancements in computing need to occur before i'll feel comfortable enough to let my machine decide when to commit my work to storage.

Re:Why does memory != disk yet? (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213524)

the bigger and more interesting question is why we haven't yet got a single storage solution that can be used both as efficient temporary non-volatile swap space, making RAM obsolete, and still be used for permanent storage, replacing hard drives.

Well the reason is because we don't have the technology to produce infinitely fast high capacity storage. Right now (while holding cost constant) for linear increases in storage speed we can experience exponential drop offs in capacity. So to resolve that we use a variety of storages each one less permanent than the other and each one smaller than the other but each one faster. So starting with the fastest

1) cpu registers
2) level 1 cache
3) level 2 cache
4) level 3 cache
5) ram
6) hard drive
7) off line storage (network, optical...)

The cost of creating a CPU with 200gigs of registers would probably exceed the world economy.

maybe 'Save a copy with name...' (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213148)

Why isn't 'Save As' called 'Name and File'?

'Name and File' seems pretty ambiguous to me. I prefer something like 'Save copy as...' or the title of the post, 'Save a copy with name...'

We have the screen real estate to be a little more generous with our names :)

Undo Sucks That's Why (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213152)

The problem is that many applications don't properly implement undo. As a result you could end up saving over data that you really wanted to retain.

no, users want control over data persistence (1)

Lepruhkawn (199083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213180)

I'm not sure if the quibble is about the word "Save" itself or the feeling that details of the system are being exposed in the application unneccessarily.

Operation systems commonly use the "file cabinet" metaphor for persistent data storage and I personally think that if "File" were used as both a verb and a noun, that would be more confusing than staying with the "Save" verb.

The user of a software application is typically doing work with some sort of data model. They usually expect the data in the model to have persistence between application sessions and they want to have control over that persistence.

The conventions that have developed around the notion of a "file" and the "save" function are not just historical oddities or operating system details the user shouldn't be forced to understand. They are a realization of application requirements.

A user typically operates many applications on a system. When the applications re-use the operating system's presentation of data persistence it is easier to switch between applications because the use cases for working with data are similar.

Which is easier? Explaining to a computer illiterate how Word saves their text to a "file" in an imaginary file cabinet or explaining to someone how a web browser retrieves pages from the internet and what it would mean to make an offline copy of the page (and whether that is even possible for a specific page)?

If all of our operating systems suddenly presented persistent data storage to the users using a different abstraction, then the applications would have to adjust.

But I don't think the conventions of File and Save are cumbersome nor anachronistic.

The Human Action Cycle (1)

hzs202 (932886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213298)

I've wondered this for awhile now: why do we still have a Save button?

It is most likely psychological dependency that has developed within the larger community of users. Donald A. Norman [wikipedia.org] a CS professor at Northwestern developed a psychological model called the Human Action Cycle, he identifies the psychological process while humans interact with computers systems is primarily result oriented.

In summary, when we work with computer systems we are goal oriented; if we achieve our goal then we are succesful. In other words, if it aint broke don't fix it.

Speaking of stuff like the Save button (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14213412)

How long have we had the telephone now? How about we get rid of those pesky buttons on the Telephone? Shouldn't we be able to just pick up the phone and have it know who we want to talk to? (said with dripping sarcasm...)

Re:Speaking of stuff like the Save button (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214393)

Like most of modern cellular phones with voice dialling? Just press one button to call, say the name of the recipient (in your addressbook) and it dials automatically.

No its not obsolete... (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213538)

I guess I could just drag and drop all my files, who needs pesky pull down menus. (sarcasm)

The OS is file based, even if the file system (note name) is database driven or a plain journaled file system, its files. Even unix is entirely made up of files pointing at files!

Soon as the user knows what a file is, its easier for them to know about backups, copying files or working on files. Even in school the first thing they teach you is how to save your work, and revisions of your work per FILE.

A question like "Why is Save As needed?" shows that the user has no real hands on experience.

Going back in time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14213889)

For modern applications I would argue: "save" -- no, but "checkpoint" -- yes!!!

Many times, you don't WANT to save (1)

StrongAxe (713301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213896)

I often open files just to look at them, and inadvertently hit a key that modifies the file. I don't WANT such changes to be saved automatically, especially if I am not aware that I made them. If this mode were to be adopted, I would at least want two kinds of Open commands - Open to view, and Open to edit. Unfortunately given the feature-poor point-and-click interface most people use these days, this becomes more cumbersome, for example double-click = view, shift+double-click = edit. (You can specify an object with your mouse, but are restricted in what verb to apply to it by gestures and shift keys, or less convenient pop-up menus). I like having programs automatically save temporary changes (useful in case of program crashes), as long as it is understood that such changes are not "official" until explicitly saved. Microsoft Word does this, and now so does Gmail.

copy paste view (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14213913)

I as well as people I know use notepad and wordpad and other programs as temporary buffers to view data.

I copy part of a file to a notepad window. I have no intention of saving this data, but want to view it in notepad and not vi. Maybe I'm going to use notepads find / replace, because I find it easier than vi ( personal opinion ), or for some other reason. Why they hell would I want notepad to just save this data without me telling it to?

PDA's do what you ask already and so do phones. It is a case by case thing. When using a phone or pda you may want to save your files, but you don't always want to do that when using a computer. BTW: Word and outlook already do this.

Constant saving would kill versioning (2, Insightful)

alta (1263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214092)

When I work on a new version of a file, I open the most recent, then save as a new name (if I want to save the old)

Also, sometimes I want to make a test change, but not keep it.
Sometimes I want to revert back to the original, but some programs have very limited undo (excel, older photoshops)

Sometimes when I'm just writing something very temporary, like a fax cover page, I NEVER want to save it.

Is posting this to /. just so they can get their name in lights? ;)

Save obsolete? NEVER! (2, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214114)

I don't know how you work with files, but I frequently poke around and do not want changes saved. This applies especially for spreadsheets. I always turn autosave off, and I'm quite conscious of the need to save and time myself accordingly.

Thesis in OOo. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14214448)

130 pages. About 30 pages filled with equations. Lots of photos, figures, tables, listings, indexes etc.
Pentium 4 3GHZ, 1GB RAM.
Over a minute to load/save. During saves system slows down to a crawl, what you type appears some 10 seconds later. You just have to wait through.
Thank you, I'd better decide when to save by myself. Give the systems another 10 years of Moore's law and we can talk about removing 'save' again.
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"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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