Today I took the chance to have a deeper look into the ‘new’ AutoSave function of Lotus Notes 7 for the first time. Since I am this kind of user who tends to hit CTRL+S every second line to save my last changes in the code or the document I am just working on I am not really in danger of loosing a lot of information when the Notes client goes down for whatever dubious reason ever. But I am aware that there are people out there writing long-drawn-out documents without even thinking of a file name (or subject/tile) at all.
First of all I had been a bit disappointed since not even the plain IBM Mail7 template does support the auto save functionality at all. Sarcastically speaking it appears like someone requested this feature in the last second prior to the release date so it could not be implemented and tested any more on time.
Two settings have to be made to enable auto save. The Autosave function needs to be enabled in the user preferences
And each form has to be flagged to Allow Autosave.
From now on all documents that are enabled for auto save and currently edited will be stored in a local database encrypted with the user’s name. Once a document will be closed the backup copy gets removed. If the client crashes the user will be presented with the option to recover her/his documents during the next start.
Strangely there is one bug that allows the unlimited recovery of previously unsaved documents. You can reproduce this in creating a new (Autosave enabled) document, edit some content and wait for the next auto save cycle or select File > AutoSave > AutoSave now. When the current Notes session gets killed and re-opened the saved document can be recovered and saved as a new document in the original database unlimited times. I presume this happens because Notes stores the original document unique ID in the $AutoSaveNoteID field of the auto save database for later comparison. However since the initial document has not been saved yet a unique ID has not been applied and therefore not saved with the autosave document. I think this is rather a minor issue.
For future version I’d like to see some improvements especially in terms of autosave support for the IBM provided templates and the user interface. The currently displayed information presented to the user for recovery is pretty rare. Maybe there could even be a preview button in case the user does not have any clue what the currently stored document could be like.