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Autosave and versioning

 
 
Michelle Steiner
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      01-09-2012, 06:48 PM
I found this at the MacInTouch web site:

Seth Elgart
MacInTouch Reader asks:
1. What happens to Versions when you open a file on a snow leopard Mac
which was created on a Lion Mac?

2. When you email a file made in lion to someone, does the version history
ever go along as well so that the version feature can be utilized by the
receiving party to review various edits?
I've passed some files back and forth but I don't remember specifically
what happens with the versions on older systems, or on other peoples'
computers when you send a file.

3. Is there a way to manually label past Versions, in addition to the
default automatic time stamp, perhaps like "bookmarking" particular
versions?
Yes, you can in a sense label versions. You do this by doing a Save. These
saved versions are sort of "keystone" versions. Each explicit save will
always show up in your document's timeline, whereas all the thousands of
autosaves may not. You can't give it a label with a name or anything, but
each actual Save will be available in the document's timeline.

4. Can you use Browse All Versions to pick a particular version and save
just it, with a particular name, to a particular folder? Is it just as easy
as opening it and "duplicating" it, while leaving the original copy in the
Versions history untouched ?
When you're browsing your timeline of versions you can pick one, and it
will open side by side with the current version of the document. You can
then duplicate the older version if you want to, just as if it were a
"real" document.

4. If a file is purposely deleted, do the versions still remain somewhere
on the computer? Can they be accessed separately than from Time Machine?
What? Another number 4?!? :-)
As far as the user is concerned, past versions are attached to the
document. When you delete the document you delete all the versions.
However, I'm not sure about the implications for file recovery programs,
for example. The versions may live somewhere on your drive but they're not
normally accessible without the actual file.

5. Does Versions have the ability to save off a "final copy" of the file,
ditching the history of edits? In other words, can you delete the version
history of a particular file?
Not to my knowledge. However, if you duplicate the file you should have a
nice clean version with no history. Not 100% sure on this one, though.

6. Does "option+drag in the finder" still work in Lion, in order to
duplicate a file in that manner?
Yes.

7 If Auto Save saves a version every 5 minutes, is it possible, for
example, to monitor the timing of its happening, in some way, so as to
better predict when is the optimal time to make a purposeful save or
"duplicate" which can be named? For example, if one knew that the last auto
saved version contains the final edited version, there wouldn't be a need
to purposefully save, and label a new redundant version.
The short answer is "no." Autosave just works, and you can't necessarily
monitor or change it. But, in some ways we're talking about this in the
wrong way. It's not that there's a little guy in there that hits the Save
button every 5 minutes. There aren't really any discrete saves that happen
occasionally. Your document is always saved, after every word. In a word,
you just don't ever have to save a document ever again. Well, except for
the first time you create the document and want to give it a name. And even
then autosaving still works, even for an unsaved document.

8. In pre Lion OS, using the Save As command, I can open a graphics file in
Preview or other application, view it, and then save it named with 3
different suffix endings and file types, for example, jpeg - for web site,
tiff - to the printer, and PDF - to my client, into 3 separate designated
folders. What would be the most efficient corresponding work flow using
Lion's new system?
Well, in some ways that depends on the program and how they deal with it.
What you're really talking about here is more of an export rather than
strictly a save. If the program doesn't have an export command, you might
have to do a Duplicate and then choose a file format when you save the new
file. The new workflow for this situation is really controlled by the app.

9. Is it true in the Lion system, that if you shut down a program, there is
no longer a save dialog box presented before shutdown can occur, if changes
have been made on a file? Can such a dialogue box be enabled? If not, it
seems that the workaround would be to always save a purposeful version in
the case that auto save missed your last edit before shutdown. Does this
make sense?
Yes, it's true. And no, there's no workaround for the "missing" dialog.
It's not that it makes no sense, it's that saving is no longer really
necessary (see my answer to number 7). When you quit a program that's
autosave-compatible, that's it, everything's saved, end of story. In a way
Lion is a new thing in the world and it uses a new paradigm. You really and
truly don't ever have to think about saving at all anymore. If changes are
made to a file, they're saved. That's it. (The one exception to this is for
new documents. You have to save them once in order to give them a name and
to also make a "physical" file.)
I haven't done the destructo test yet, where you type a word and then pull
the plug, but that might be fun to do just to see what happens. But under
normal circumstances you just don't really ever have to save anymore.

--
Tea Party Patriots is to Patriotism as
People's Democratic Republic is to Democracy.
 
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BreadWithSpam@fractious.net
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      01-09-2012, 08:09 PM
Michelle Steiner <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> I found this at the MacInTouch web site:
>
> Seth Elgart
> MacInTouch Reader asks:
> 1. What happens to Versions when you open a file on a snow leopard Mac
> which was created on a Lion Mac?


Unfortunately, some of the good questions asked here aren't
answered. I couldn't find this article anywhere, btw - do
you have a link?

Some very helpful information re: *where* are the Versions
files stored:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0

My own observation: part of some of the answers there are
wrong. Versions seem to be stored in a directory at the
root level of the given filesystem, called .DocumentRevisions-V100,
and additionally, a *backup* of a given file is made in the
directory where the file itself lives. On SL, when I open a
doc which was last edited on Lion under an auto-save/versions-aware
program (ie. Pages), I simply see the most recent version. Back
on SL, the file just behaves as it always had - Save As is
available, the "Backup of ..." file is untouched, as is the
history of the file's Versions.

> 2. When you email a file made in lion to someone, does the version history
> ever go along as well so that the version feature can be utilized by the
> receiving party to review various edits?


It shouldn't but I haven't tested this. You are mailing the most
recent version only, as far as I can tell.

My question: if the Versions live in the root directory of
a given hard drive, and you copy the file to another hard
drive, does the history come with it? In SL, since SL is
unaware of the history, why would it? In Lion, it may, but
I don't know.

> 6. Does "option+drag in the finder" still work in Lion, in order to
> duplicate a file in that manner?
> Yes.


Does the duplicate have a history?

All under Lion:

My experiment: no. I just created a file under Lion, aded
a line, saved, added a line, saved, etc. a few times.

I can browse the version history and see each of those saved
versions (even though they were all saved in the space of a
minute or so, there are several because I explicitly hit Save.)

close the file. go to finder, cmd-D to duplicate the file,
open the *duplicate*. Pages doesn't find Versions and goes
instead to Time Machine (where there also aren't any older
versions stored of course).

Now, copy the original file to another hard drive. Open
it up from the copy on the second hard drive. Pages still
finds no Versions and heads to Time Machine (not finding
any there, either).

This last seems a bit dangerous. If you were relying
on Versions, you cannot move the file to another hard drive.

Am I missing something here?

--
Plain Bread alone for e-mail, thanks. The rest gets trashed.
 
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BreadWithSpam@fractious.net
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      01-09-2012, 08:23 PM
(E-Mail Removed) writes:

> wrong. Versions seem to be stored in a directory at the
> root level of the given filesystem, called .DocumentRevisions-V100,
> and additionally, a *backup* of a given file is made in the
> directory where the file itself lives. On SL, when I open a

....
> Now, copy the original file to another hard drive. Open
> it up from the copy on the second hard drive. Pages still
> finds no Versions and heads to Time Machine (not finding
> any there, either).
>
> This last seems a bit dangerous. If you were relying
> on Versions, you cannot move the file to another hard drive.


One more thing - which I couldn't experiment with because
I have only one machine running Lion right now: If I save
from a Versions-aware program in my DropBox folder, the
Versions are maintained at the root of the drive on which
my DropBox folder lives. If I open that file up on another
computer which also uses DropBox - that other computer has
the DropBox folder synced, but of course, not the root
level of the hard drive -- the Versions history on the
two computers will be different, even though the most
recent saved copy of the file will always be kept in sync
by DropBox.

I imagine that some compromise had to be made re: where to
store the Versions. If they were stored inside the file
itself, all the copy/sync/etc might work - (maybe - depending
on how it was structured - if there were hard links the way
TimeMachine does it, syncing might make a mess of it) - but
you'd lose any kind of backwards compatibility to pre-Lion
software.

In all, it seems like Apple is pushing into a new paradigm
and that the whole thing, especially if folks have both
Lion and older systems, is just a messy thing to try to get
working. Kudos to Apple for giving it a shot, but my
observation is that it's still got a ways to go. In the
name of "it just works" there's a loss of transparency as
to what's actually happening and what some of the implications
of that are.

I'm still pretty excited to have it, though, and am just
going to have to treat it as a partial bonus and generally
still do the same things I've always done - duplicate a file,
time-stamp it in the file name, and work on the new copy
generally. The nice thing is that I don't feel a need now
to do this *every* time, only when I'm working on a major
new revision.

--
Plain Bread alone for e-mail, thanks. The rest gets trashed.
 
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John Young
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      01-09-2012, 08:28 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>,
Michelle Steiner <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>But under
> normal circumstances you just don't really ever have to save anymore.


I think I used Filemaker like this for many years and many versions. As
I remember I would change a record and it was just changed.

It's a good way to do things.

I retired six years ago so don't remember all the ins and outs of
Filemaker. Just for a kick, think of this. When we started using
Filemaker it was on a Mac SE on a base that would swivel, two keyboards
connected to the SE so the screen could face one of the two of us that
used it. When I sold out FileMaker was running on about 10 networked
machines. The company that now owns the business went to all PCs. I
think it's a fairly complex system because the terminals in the VA store
are actually dumb and all the computing is done in TX.
 
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Michelle Steiner
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      01-09-2012, 08:43 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed)
wrote:

> > I found this at the MacInTouch web site:
> >
> > Seth Elgart
> > MacInTouch Reader asks:
> > 1. What happens to Versions when you open a file on a snow leopard Mac
> > which was created on a Lion Mac?

>
> Unfortunately, some of the good questions asked here aren't answered. I
> couldn't find this article anywhere, btw - do you have a link?


<http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/lion/index.html#d09jan2012>

--
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People's Democratic Republic is to Democracy.
 
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JF Mezei
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      01-09-2012, 09:04 PM
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>
> In all, it seems like Apple is pushing into a new paradigm



VMS has had versioning since the early 1980s. Hardly a new paradigm.

And gues what, VMS's implementation doesn't try to hide versions from
users and lets users manage how many versions of a file they wish to
keep. All this from 1980s tech.

Apple's implemetation is flawed because they tried too hard to make this
"idiot proof" by hiding everything from the user.

The saving of a file without user,s permission when you quit an app is a
HUGE mistake.

Bringing up this issue reminds me why I won't upgrade to Lion.
 
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Michelle Steiner
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      01-09-2012, 09:18 PM
In article <4f0b5671$0$2102$c3e8da3$(E-Mail Removed) m>,
JF Mezei <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> VMS has had versioning since the early 1980s. Hardly a new paradigm.
>
> And gues what, VMS's implementation doesn't try to hide versions from
> users


Nor does Apple's.

> Apple's implemetation is flawed because they tried too hard to make this
> "idiot proof" by hiding everything from the user.


Hiding what? Choose "Revert Document" from the File menu, and you get all
previous versions to choose from.

> The saving of a file without user,s permission when you quit an app is a
> HUGE mistake.


In your opinion.

--
Tea Party Patriots is to Patriotism as
People's Democratic Republic is to Democracy.
 
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BreadWithSpam@fractious.net
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      01-09-2012, 11:48 PM
JF Mezei <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:


>> In all, it seems like Apple is pushing into a new paradigm


> VMS has had versioning since the early 1980s. Hardly a new paradigm.


It certainly is for an OS meant to be deployed to and used by
the average person for everyday stuff.

> Apple's implemetation is flawed because they tried too hard to make this
> "idiot proof" by hiding everything from the user.


I'm sure it just needs some work. As I demonstrated with my
experiments, you're right - there are things which happen which
are just not obviously to be expected by a user. One in particular,
the act of copying a file, whether on the same hard drive or to
another hard drive - does NOT preserve the file's version history.
The thing is that there is inherently complexity and compromises
to be made. If the act of copying the file always included the
history, that has other potentially negative implications - do
you or do you not want the history copied? Do you always want it
or never or sometimes? And if sometimes, how to you choose?

I'm not sure "flaw" is the right word. Compromise and an
evolving interface as people and developers get to understand
the implications is essential. This is a start.

> The saving of a file without user,s permission when you quit an app is a
> HUGE mistake.


Seriously? Many applications/systems save data on the fly as
you enter it. Most databases, for example.

The thing is that with auto-save, (a) you also automatically
have a back-up; and (b) if used in conjunction with Versions,
you also have the ability to roll back to any saved version,
especially ones you explicitly saved.

As I said, I *still* have every intention of copying and
tagging with dates at milestones. But Versions is a nice
*addition* to that, not a replacement. And auto-save, I'll
bet, will save a lot more people's asses than it harms.

> Bringing up this issue reminds me why I won't upgrade to Lion.


It takes some getting used to, that's all. I'm still working
on it. I've moved to Lion on one out of three machines I use
daily and I'm quite pleased overall. I'll likely be moving
the second machine forward soon, too (and the third machine
cannot be - SL is the end of the line for that ancient piece
of hardware).

--
Plain Bread alone for e-mail, thanks. The rest gets trashed.
 
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BreadWithSpam@fractious.net
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      01-09-2012, 11:53 PM
Michelle Steiner <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> JF Mezei <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>> And gues what, VMS's implementation doesn't try to hide versions from
>> users

>
> Nor does Apple's.


It kind of does. Not in the sense that if you're using a Versions
compatible program, editing a file which lives on the drive on which
you first started working on it - then you're right - you just go
and hit the versions viewer and you can see the time-machine history
of the file.

But it does hide the Versions in that (a) the user doesn't necessarily
have any idea where the old versions of the file live and (b) the user
can easily lose the whole file's history by simply moving it to another
drive somewhere -- which, aren't we all doing all the time when we
make back-up copies?

>> The saving of a file without user,s permission when you quit an app is a
>> HUGE mistake.

>
> In your opinion.


I can see where it's potentially a bit annoying - I often open
up documents to look at them and maybe play with the numbers and
I don't want these changes saved. Having to carefully remember
to revert the document is annoying - it's the opposite of the
behavior and training we've all had for so long. And if you do
go and edit a file and close it - and it gets auto-saved, sure
you can revert it back a version by opening up and scanning the
history until you find the version you wanted -- unless you've
gone and moved the file to another drive since then in which case
you're screwed.

But overall, I think it's almost certainly a good thing and
folks who open files and don't mean to keep the changes need
to change their behavior a little bit to accomodate this. The
up-side looks a lot bigger than the downside. More folks lose
work because they forgot to save, I think, than will mess up
their work because they forget to revert.

--
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Michelle Steiner
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      01-10-2012, 12:21 AM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, (E-Mail Removed)
wrote:

> >> And gues what, VMS's implementation doesn't try to hide versions from
> >> users

> >
> > Nor does Apple's.

>
> It kind of does. Not in the sense that if you're using a Versions
> compatible program, editing a file which lives on the drive on which you
> first started working on it - then you're right - you just go and hit
> the versions viewer and you can see the time-machine history of the
> file.
>
> But it does hide the Versions in that (a) the user doesn't necessarily
> have any idea where the old versions of the file live


Is that really necessary? With the versions viewer, you can find them, so
why does it matter where they live on the disk?

> and (b) the user can easily lose the whole file's history by simply
> moving it to another drive somewhere -- which, aren't we all doing all
> the time when we make back-up copies?


Time machine backups keep the versions, and so would cloning backups. And
I'm sure that backup utilities, if they don't already backup versions, they
soon will.

I just do not see it as a major issue, if an issue at all.

-- Michelle

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People's Democratic Republic is to Democracy.
 
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