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Why won't Apple bring back "Save As" since "Duplicate" clearly *****?

35488 Views 703 Replies Latest reply: Dec 13, 2011 5:04 AM by softwater RSS
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,570 points)

    Aha - an possible example of Muphry's Law (as opposed to Murphy's Law).

     

    Muphry's law states that "if you write anything criticising something written by someone else, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written".

     

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,250 points)

    Tom in London wrote:

     

    Aha - an possible example of Muphry's Law (as opposed to Murphy's Law).

     

    Muphry's law states that "if you write anything criticising something written by someone else, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written".

     

    Or not, depending on Murphy

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,450 points)
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,570 points)

    as in my previous post notifying you of Muphry's Law, in which I foolishly wrote "an possible example".

  • DChord568 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Here is the best, clearest and most complete summation of what is wrong with Auto Save and Versioning I've seen so far.

     

    I realize that's not the main topic of this thread, but they have been discussed alongside Save As and Duplicate extensively here. As I've said, I consider these changes to be all of a piece anyway.

     

    Warning: this is quite long, but if you stick with it you will be rewarded. Credit goes to Graham Nelson, who posted this on the Macintouch site. Added emphasis is mine.

     

     

    **************************************************************

     

    On auto-save, Geoffrey Green asks:

    "It is different, yes. But how is it worse? If you open a word processing program and start typing, does it make intuitive sense that everything you enter will just vanish if you don't hit some magic key combination or select something on a menu?"

    It's better in some ways, worse in others. Auto-save can be your friend: it's beautifully implemented by BBEdit, and has been for years, in a way that fully respects the disc storage as a "true" copy of a file. But Apple chose not to do it that way, because Apple is moving towards a file-system-free user interface for casual computing.

    In my view, 10.7 fundamentally alters the meaning of ideas like "file", "contents of a file", "location" and "version". This only affects a small number of applications, for now, but that's the only reason people aren't more shocked by Lion. My guess is that Apple would need to coerce many developers, probably by changing App Store submission rules, to adopt the full suite of Lion changes — auto-quit, auto-save especially. But my guess is that Apple will indeed do this, since the present mixture of ideas is just confusing. Only then will Lion's radicalism show through.

    To answer the question directly, here are ways in which autosave is worse: Lion takes away all certainty about what is safely preserved in a file. You no longer know that what you "saved" is what's "there". (Indeed, and iCloud will make this more true still, the idea of a well-defined "content" of a file is disappearing.) You can't be sure what "undo" undoes to, or what state "revert" will revert to. It will be unpredictable, possibly losing data, if you edit the same file alternately with two different applications, e.g., editing an image in one app and trimming it in another. Versioning is done in such a way that a critical part of the filing system is hidden — access to past versions is limited to the "owning" application, which again forces us to think of files as having "owners", never as being data in their own right. Versions are weirdly not part of files alone, nor of applications alone, but in some strange way join the two together. They cut against the Finder's presentation, not only by being invisible, but also by being ephemeral: copy to an external drive and Finder makes it look as if the file was indeed copied. But its versions may not have been.

    The most serious problem is that Lion greatly increases the risk, and therefore the fear, of accidental damage. That sense of security that you can fool around because you aren't saving something is gone. You must always remember that using any menu item in a Lion application may damage the file it's looking at. Using Rotate in Preview, for example, doesn't rotate your preview of a photo, it alters the photo itself. You must always remember what you've done in any app, and when you started; and you mustn't get distracted and walk away. (Or bring another app to the foreground, because then the first app may autoquit.)

    For example, the other day somebody asked me for a copy of an article from a book, which I had a PDF file of. I open the book in Preview, I cut the other pages away, so now I have a PDF of the article. I want to save it, but I can't, because what I've actually done is damage my original copy of the book. I need to "Duplicate" it, making a file in limbo in some temporary folder I never asked for, then revert changes on the original book. Did I revert it to the right state? Don't know. And now ask what happens if I simply forget to do the reversion. My PDF of the full book stays broken. In two weeks, it's "locked" that way. Six months later I look at the file again and I'm baffled. Surely this has the wrong file name. Look, it claims it's a book, but it's just an article.

    The result is that I am spooked by Preview. It would be from every point of view better to remove auto-save from it. Lion's doctrine is that files are owned by specific applications which create and develop them. Preview just doesn't work that way: it's a browser, a tool to make quick off-cuts, and versioning that is pretty well a bug. Apple, however, claims to believe that autosave and versioning are a universal paradigm, good for all applications.

    So I see two fundamental problems: (a) versions are confusing to manage, and (b) it's easy to do accidental damage. Apple clearly knows this, but has chosen to apply sticking plasters, not to diagnose what's really wrong.

    To fix problem (a), the user interface makes versioning all but invisible, so that it won't scare or confuse us. This is a sure sign that Apple's UI designers, the best in the world, can't find a clear way to conceptualise and present the situation. And the invisibility makes the menu item "Save a Version" meaningless. It might as well read "Do Something Which Lion Says It's Doing Automatically Anyway, In Such A Way That I Can't Tell Anything Is Different". In a month of using Lion, I have never once Saved A Version.

    To fix problem (b), accidental damage, Apple has invented a whole new category of file status, "locked", which in some weird way is further out on the axis between open and closed, and seems to mean "really closed". It's displayed in the title bar of a window, but communicates nothing. I don't know the implications. Who locked this file? Why? Is it valuable in some way? Why is this file locked, and that one not? Does this mean it's locked in the Finder? (No.) The doctrine is that they lock "two weeks after your last edit", though of course, that may only mean "your last edit with this application". I can go away on a trip, come back and find my files have a different status, having changed all by themselves. And what if the clock on my computer is wrong, for instance if my laptop batteries have run right down? How can the safety of my data change merely with the day of the week? Is my data like a fresh batch of wine, needing some time on the shelf before it becomes valuable?

    Much of Lion is excellent engineering. The security model is superb. Preview, even if I no longer trust it, is better in many, many ways. The gestures are productive and well-done, for the first time in OS X's history. And some of the edgy new features are no big deal. Hiding the Library folder was short-sighted on Apple's part. Autoquit was an unnecessary tweak, a curiosity which does little harm, though it annoys from time to time. Autosave and versioning, though, is a failure of design. It will weaken Lion steadily more as applications use it. I urge developers not to adopt it, in the hope that Apple will evolve it into a better-conceived versioning system in 10.8.

  • DeaPeaJay Calculating status...

    To answer the question directly, here are ways in which autosave is worse: Lion takes away all certainty about what is safely preserved in a file. You no longer know that what you "saved" is what's "there".

     

    This makes little sense to me. What you save is what's there. When would what you save not be what's really there?

     

     

    The most serious problem is that Lion greatly increases the risk, and therefore the fear, of accidental damage.

     

    How? Autosave and Versions protects *against* accidental damage.

     

    That sense of security that you can fool around because you aren't saving something is gone.

     

    How is that gone? Fool around all you want, if you don't like what you did... File > Revert to Saved.

     

     

    For example, the other day somebody asked me for a copy of an article from a book, which I had a PDF file of. I open the book in Preview, I cut the other pages away, so now I have a PDF of the article. I want to save it, but I can't, because what I've actually done is damage my original copy of the book. I need to "Duplicate" it, making a file in limbo in some temporary folder I never asked for, then revert changes on the original book. Did I revert it to the right state? Don't know. And now ask what happens if I simply forget to do the reversion. My PDF of the full book stays broken. In two weeks, it's "locked" that way. Six months later I look at the file again and I'm baffled. Surely this has the wrong file name. Look, it claims it's a book, but it's just an article.

     

    Duplicate and Revert is not complicated. "Did I revert it to the right state? Don't know." - Yes you do, unless you saved it while you were messing around with it, it will revert to the last saved version. It's exactly the same thing as Save As.

     

    And 6 months later you'll still be able to revert to the last saved version. Just because you're seeing unsaved changes to a document 6 months later does not mean you damaged your file. It just means you haven't reverted the changes you made.

  • MacGuy From Hungary Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Dear DeaPeaJay.

     

    I'm sorry to say, but you just keep telling the propaganda used by Apple for these features. You don't have a clue of how this works. The person who wrote the long article is at least digs down to the roots of the problem.

    Your motivation of being a spokesmen of these "great features" are unclear.

    The way you talk clearly indicates, that you have no idea of what you talking about. Why do you do this? Serious people looking for answers here, with 10-20 years of computer backround. People who are well aware of the situation and its consequences, except you, who just sees the shiny top layer, of the "whoa" effect, when the window moves around to get your versions. It's also unclear that if you're so happy with these features, why don't you open a topic, say "Versions Lover" and your fellow versions lovers can chat about the animation effect. You can also have a contest there, for example: who gets the most versions to a document. I hope you'll win.

  • DeaPeaJay Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Let's be honest, are you really sorry to say that? =)

     

    Most arguments I'm hearing come down to: Versions and auto-save are different and I don't understand them and I don't want to understand them. I don't want to change how I've worked for 23 years. People are upset because they don't want to change how they've worked for a long time. They liked the old way just fine. Fine. Valid point. I'm just trying to help people understand how the new way works and that it's really not so bad once you learn how to use it. Because let's face it, these changes are here to stay and people will need to learn how they work eventually one way or another. Call me a fanboy all you want, it won't change the fact that the new features are here to stay and you're either going to have to learn how to use them or just never upgrade your computer or software ever again.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,870 points)

    If you want to rant and rage against Apple, please do so in your own words. Then I'll be happy to rant right back at you.

     

    I am not going to comment on anything reposted form Macintouch. Like most things on Macintouch, it is riddled with falsehoods, poor logic, and misinformation.

  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,570 points)

    And here we have the other problem: the Apple Fanboys who sit in forums meant for the discussion of problems, but who have no problems themselves, and whose only function is to act like an Apple Rebuttal Chorus, nay-saying and ridiculing whatever is posted in the forum by those who *DO* have issues, telling them how stupid they are and how unappreciative of Apple's infallible wisdom.

     

    So in here, for example, we not ony have to deal with the hideous issues created by Autosave and Versions, but we also have to put up with the Fanboy Chorus.

     

    Applause and thanks to Dchord for posting that long piece. It's perfect.

  • nodnaj Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Well said Tom in London.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,250 points)

    Tom in London wrote:

     

    And here we have the other problem: the Apple Fanboys who sit in forums meant for the discussion of problems, but who have no problems themselves, and whose only function is to act like an Apple Rebuttal Chorus, nay-saying and ridiculing whatever is posted in the forum by those who *DO* have issues, telling them how stupid they are and how unappreciative of Apple's infallible wisdom.

     

    So in here, for example, we not ony have to deal with the hideous issues created by Autosave and Versions, but we also have to put up with the Fanboy Chorus.

     

    Applause and thanks to Dchord for posting that long piece. It's perfect.

    I just want to take up one point Tom, posters who point out that they don't have the same problems do illustrate that these are not 'systemwide' but vary from installation to installation, and that is useful information, even if irritatingly useful.

  • DChord568 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    etresoft wrote:

     

    If you want to rant and rage against Apple, please do so in your own words. Then I'll be happy to rant right back at you.

     

    I am not going to comment on anything reposted form Macintouch. Like most things on Macintouch, it is riddled with falsehoods, poor logic, and misinformation.

     

    The last time I looked, you hadn't been appointed moderator of this board. Until that happens, if there's something I feel that adds to the discussion here, regardless of its origin, I will post it. That's my choice.

     

    If you want to hide behind the age-old and patently obvious dodge of maligning the source of an idea because you lack the ability to deal with the substance of it, that's yours.

  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,240 points)
    The last time I looked, you hadn't been appointed moderator of this board.

     

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • DChord568 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Barney-15E wrote:

     

    The last time I looked, you hadn't been appointed moderator of this board.

     

    Pot, meet kettle.

     

    Congratulations on mastering the art of replying with a cliché!

     

    Your implication is that I have, at some point, fancied myself the moderator of this board, and by extension, that I've told someone how, what, and from what source he or she should post.

     

    I invite you to reproduce any post of mine in which I've done this.

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