Bug 144511 - [DOCUMENTATION] Please describe how auto-save works in enough detail so users know when it will occur
Summary: [DOCUMENTATION] Please describe how auto-save works in enough detail so users...
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Documentation (show other bugs)
Version:
(earliest affected)
7.1.4.2 release
Hardware: All All
: medium normal
Assignee: Not Assigned
URL:
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Keywords:
Depends on:
Blocks: AutoSave-AutoRecovery-Backup Help-Changes-Features
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Reported: 2021-09-15 06:50 UTC by Luke Kendall
Modified: 2024-07-24 05:31 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

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Description Luke Kendall 2021-09-15 06:50:01 UTC
See bug https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=122530

I have no idea how Writer decides when to auto-save.
When auto-save starts, it locks the document I'm editing until the auto-save has completed, and it interrupts the editing. It can also take 30 seconds or more, completely destroying 'flow'. Its unpredictability is a problem.
 
Things I would like to know:

1. Is auto-saving something that is decided at some moment for all open documents? Or is it performed per document, independently?
2. When auto-save happens for one open doc, does that mean it will soon happen for other open docs?
3. Auto-save occurs at an interval the user can control: what is the start point for that period?
(Possibilities include: 
a) last auto-save for the document
b) last save of any type (auto or manual) for the document
c) last manual save for the document
d) any of a) - c), but only if the doc (any doc?) has been edited since 'last save'
e) last auto-save of the first doc opened
f) last auto-save of the first doc opened that's still open now
g) last save of any type, for the first doc opened;
h) ....
I'm speculating because I still haven't identified the pattern despite tens of thousands of hours of use of LO)
4. When is the auto-save deleted (I assume there is only a single auto-save for each open document)
5. Maybe include a high level statement of what the feature is meant to achieve. Initially I thought it mean "How many minutes of work on a document do I want to risk losing if LO crashes?", but I'm not sure if it really means that or not.

Basically, I'd like to know when Writer will decide to auto-save so I can try to save manually and thus avoid having it kick in and interrupt my workflow

Please note that I really appreciate the feature for those cases where I forget to save because I'm so wrapped up in what I'm doing, though!
Comment 2 patrick rall 2021-09-19 18:57:39 UTC Comment hidden (spam)
Comment 3 Justin L 2024-06-11 09:39:41 UTC
(In reply to Luke Kendall from comment #0)
> I have no idea how Writer decides when to auto-save.
These are implementation details that probably should not be enshrined in documentation, because then it becomes harder to change the implementation since some people will interpret that as "it must work this way" rather than "it does work this way". I'd say WONTFIX since the intention and implementations are pretty straight forward and logical.
 
> 1. Is auto-saving something that is decided at some moment for all open
> documents? Or is it performed per document, independently?
Since LO 24.2 it is per document - independently. (Prior to that, I believe all modified documents were saved at the same time.)

> 2. When auto-save happens for one open doc, does that mean it will soon
> happen for other open docs?
No. See #1

> 3. Auto-save occurs at an interval the user can control: what is the start
> point for that period?
Since LO 24.2, the timer starts when the document is modified. (Prior to that, I believe it was simply a timer - dependent only on the clock).

> 4. When is the auto-save deleted (I assume there is only a single auto-save
> for each open document)
The ODF AutoRecovery file is deleted after the document itself is saved (i.e. when it is no longer the most recent version on disk). For a miniscule period of time, there are two auto-save copies. The old one is removed when the new one has successfully completed saving.

> 5. Include a high level statement of what the feature is meant to achieve.
"How many minutes of work on a document do I want to risk losing if LO crashes?"

> Basically, I'd like to know when Writer will decide to auto-save so I can try
> to save manually and thus avoid having it kick in and interrupt my workflow
Please note that the answers above are all dependent on the computer detecting a "break" in the user's activity. It waits until an "idle period" has been reached, avoiding an interruption in the middle of typing a sentence, etc.
     #define MIN_TIME_FOR_USER_IDLE 10000 // 10s user idle
Comment 4 Luke Kendall 2024-07-24 05:31:23 UTC
This current behaviour is SO disruptive and frustrating.

My document is now long enough that saving takes over ten seconds.
It routinely occurs while I'm typing, so I lose what I've typed.
It also kicks in within a minute after I last manually saved, so I can't even stave it off by discipling myself to manually save, at moments I choose, as I work.

I really think the "time to wait to do an auto-save" should be measured per document, starting from the time of the last manual save.

That the documentation doesn't address this at all is an added frustration. I find it a very weak argument, that users would then think it SHOULD work as described.

But I don't dare turn off auto save, or even make it an hour long interval, as I have had Writer lose lots of work - sometimes in a crash, sometimes from a power failure.

Sigh.