Finally, an autosave plugin for Movable Type!

If you’re running Movable Type you’ll want to stop what you’re doing right now and fly over to Patrick Benny’s Web site where he’s just released a new version of his terrific [freeware] AutoSave plugin for Movable Type.
MT Autosave Plugin!Previous versions worked with Firefox and IE, but this latest version (with a bit of help from my own blog, actually) is now completely compatible with Apple’s Safari Web browser too. This means that you should be able to get this up and running with just about any Web browser, whether you’re running Mac, Windows or even Linux.


So what does an “autosave” plugin do?
Simple: as you type in your blog entries, before you’ve saved them or published them, it automatically every n seconds, saves the draft in a special drafts folder. If your connection goes away or your server crashes, you then only lose, at worst, a bit less than n seconds of new material, rather than minutes, or even hours of material that you’ve been producing.
Lots of programs have an autosave feature, actually, from Microsoft Word to Apple Mail. You might have to enable it, but all these years later I still find that computers (Mac or PC) are not 100% reliable, and this tiny additional bit of insurance is well worth the effort. I know that the autosave and recovery capability in Microsoft Word has more than once saved my proverbial bacon!
Further, it’s easy to install plugins with MT, even a stock configuration on a Linux-class machine, so there’s no excuse not to just do it.
Of course, I admit, I’m quite comfortable on a command line fiddling with my server, but if you aren’t comfortable, you can always have a sysadmin install the plugin for you, and, though I haven’t tried it, there’s at least one Plugin Manager that I’m sure makes this a simple point and click operation.
Here’s how I installed it from the command line on my NetBSD server, by the way:

$ cd cgi-bin/mt/plugins
$ GET http://www.chipple.net/mt/archives/AutoSave/AutoSave_1_3.zip > autosave.zip
$ unzip autosave.zip
Archive:  autosave.zip
inflating: AutoSave/AutoSave.cgi
inflating: AutoSave/AutoSave.pl
inflating: AutoSave/AutoSave.pm
creating: AutoSave/tmpl/
inflating: AutoSave/tmpl/config.tmpl
$ chmod +x AutoSave/ AutoSave/tmpl AutoSave/*cgi

That last step, the chmod, is darn important, by the way.
With the introduction of AutoSave, I have to say that the main advantage I saw with WordPress has now been met: the inability to have a simple autosave facility in MT has caused me untold grief as I have lost dozens of long postings in the last few years. Indeed, I suggest to the fine team at SixApart that this would be a solid addition to the main MT codebase itself.
Again, if you’re still reading this and you have Movable Type installed as your blogging tool, run, don’t walk, to install AutoSave. The readers of your otherwise lost blog entries will thank you! 🙂
ps: My only tip: before you go bonkers with its fast cycling, though, go into your MT preferences, plugin, settings, and change it to autosave every five minutes, rather than every sixty seconds.

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