Backup files

Questions and discussions about requests for new features in future versions of Tru-Traffic

Moderator: bullock

Backup files

Postby bullock » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:42 pm

It seems the way TS/PP-Draft handles backup files needs some improvement. There's some confusion about what they are and what their purpose is, and even when users understand these things, the files still clutter up the list of files to open, raising the possibility of opening one by mistake. I'm going to make some changes to this in the near future, and I welcome any comment about this anyone would care to make.

Right now, whenever you save a diagram file "MainSt.Dgm", if there's an existing file by that name, the program first renames the existing file to "Backup of MainSt.Dgm", then saves your file. This gives you a means to revert back to the last-saved version, which can be especially welcome if something goes wrong in saving the new file. The program leaves the renamed file in the same folder with the same .Dgm extension so you'll be aware that it's available for recovery if needed. This approach has several problems:
    The "Backup of xxxxx.Dgm" type files tend to appear first in the alphabetical list of files in the folder where they're saved, and several users saw those first and got the impression that these are the files with the most recent changes, so they open the backup files instead. When they save the file again, they'd get a file "Backup of Backup of MainSt.Dgm", and the problem gets compounded.

    Since the "Backup of xxxxx.Dgm" are in the same folder with the main files and retain the .Dgm extension, when you go to open a file, the list of files in the folder can get unnecessarily long and cluttered with all the backups. And with the backup files often getting listed first, one usually has to scroll to the end of the list to find the real file. Also, it's a bit too easy to click on the wrong file and open a backup by mistake.
Using a different extension for the backup files, say .Dgb, avoids cluttering the list of files and has the nice feature that once the user is familiar with it, the name sort of suggests what its purpose is, but this introduces its own problem: users may not see the file ever, or even if they do, they may not recognize what its for, so they won't think to use it when it's really needed.

The two principle aims of the backup file are that
    it be unobtrusive when not needed, and
    it be readily identified and its purpose easily recognized when it is needed.
To meet these aims, I'm proposing that the backup files be saved in a specially named subfolder, with a name like "~Backup of saved files~". Thus, a typical file structure might look like
    My Documents\MainSt\AM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\MainSt\MD_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\MainSt\PM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\MainSt\~Backup of saved files~\AM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\MainSt\~Backup of saved files~\MD_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\MainSt\~Backup of saved files~\PM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\AM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\MD_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\PM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\~Backup of saved files~\AM_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\~Backup of saved files~\MD_Peak.Dgm
    My Documents\FirstAve\~Backup of saved files~\PM_Peak.Dgm
One remaining question, and here's where I especially welcome your comments, is: What to name this backup file folder? The goal is to use a folder name that makes the purpose really clear so nobody opens a backup by mistake but they know the backups are there if they really need them. I want to get this right the first time, as it would be problematic to change the name once this new feature is out there and in use.

Some of the candidate names are

    ~Backup of saved files~
    ~Last saved diagram duplicates~
    ~Backup diagrams~
    ~Backup files for recovery in emergency~
    ~Backup files for recovery from emergency~
    ~Backup files for emergency recovery~
    ~Backup files for reverting in emergency~
    ~Backup files for emergency reversion~
    ~Backup of last saved revision of files~

Which do you like the most?

Thanks for your comments.
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Postby bullock » Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:29 pm

The new version,, uses "~Backup of saved files~" as the special folder name. Here's to hoping that reduces confusion about its purpose.

It is now available for download. Enjoy!

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Posts: 212
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 6:51 pm
Location: Pacific Grove, CA

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