Compare and contrast

by danhon

Inflection Point, 11 February 2003

Why do we have to manually initiate the save process? We’re already creating a rolling record of all the alterations done to our document: can’t we just spool this all to disk? It’s not as if our disks aren’t big enough anymore: we’re now down to a dollar per gigabyte of storage. This is not a new suggestion; it’s been complained about and continuous spooling has been mooted by others for a while. Let me try and explain how much little sense having to manually save a document makes in this day and age:

When you write something down on a piece of paper, you’re not expected to laminate it or perform some other bizarre closing ritual before you file it away in your desk drawer. You would be surprised if you wrote down a note to yourself and when you went back to it the next day, half of it was inexplicably missing after you swear blind you remember writing it.


In one mode of editing our mammoth every-version-ever Letter to Aunt May, there’s a scrolling timeline at the top of the document window. At the extreme right hand side is “now”, and at the extreme left hand side is when your letter was first created. We can scrub through this timeline and watch every single change that was made to the document. We can even scan through its history to find changes that were made at a specific time.


Apple Mac OS X Lion Preview, 24 February 2011

Say good-bye to manual saving. Auto Save in Mac OS X Lion automatically saves your work — while you work — so you don’t have to. Lion saves changes in the working document instead of creating additional copies, making the best use of available disk space. The lock feature prevents inadvertent changes from being saved and automatically locks documents after two weeks. And the revert feature returns you to the state the document was in when you last opened it, so you can feel free to experiment with confidence.


Versions records the evolution of a document as you create it. Mac OS X Lion automatically creates a version of the document each time you open it and every hour while you’re working on it. If you need to revert to an older version or retrieve part of a document, Versions shows you the current document next to a cascade of previous versions — in an interface similar to that of Time Machine — so you can see how your work looked at any given time. You can revert with a click, or quickly copy and paste work from a previous version into the current version.