Autosaving web forms

06 June 2005   1 comment   Zope

Mind that age!

This blog post is 16 years old! Most likely, its content is outdated. Especially if it's technical.

I just wanted to iterate my pride in reaching a beta stage with the Autosave feature. This is for the IssueTrackerProduct which now makes it possible to seemlessly type away, close the browser and return to your half-finished form without losing "anything". The reason I'm putting "anything" in quotationmarks is that the autosave only happens every 8 seconds which means that if you're writing with lots of bad luck a lot in the last 8 seconds before you close/crash your browser you might loose a couple of words.

Unlike other shitty solutions I've found on the web this one does not use size limited javascript cookies and if you're logged in your drafts are remember by your name, not a cookie.

To make this possible I've used the lightweight sack javascript library by Gregory Wild-Smith that enables me to more or less post a form with a POST request into a serverside function called AutoSaveIssue() . The form elements are crunched into a CGI string that gets encoded and sent into the server. The fortunate things is that the autosave rides on top of an already existing feature called: Save draft. The save draft makes a server side copy of what you've entered into the Add Issue form and this works completely independent of if you have Javascript enabled or not.

The complete feature isn't totally finished yet but having done it now for Add Issue and Quick Add Issue makes it promising for the followup forms. So far, no one has bother to report any negative feedback. I've asked friends to try it and people seem quite positively surprised that it works and works well.



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