[IPython-User] autosave in notebook

Fernando Perez fperez.net@gmail....
Sun Jan 15 19:12:33 CST 2012

On Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM, Brian Granger <ellisonbg@gmail.com> wrote:
> If saves can be performed across network failures, I would like to
> take the time to think carefully about how we want to solve the
> version control/autosave issues.  It may be that we end up with some
> sort of autosave that is done in the manner proposed here, but we may
> find a paradigm that works better.  These are exactly the types of
> things that we could discuss at PyCon.
> I also agree that we really want to avoid cluttering the working dir
> of the notebook.
> The other issue here is that we need to start to think about how a
> full multiuser notebook would affect these things.  Because the
> existing notebook uses different notebook_id's each time the server is
> started, some kinds of things are difficult.  We may need to start
> persisting information to a db so that we can track information across
> server runs.  This would enable us to save the autosaved versions in
> the IPYTHONDIR somewhere and refer to them across server runs.  Moving
> in the direction of a multiuser notebook would force us to think about
> these things.

We should certainly try to find a solution that's solid for the long
run, but I think there are two criteria that are important:

- autosaving should work absent a 'real' version control system.  The
answer to data loss prevention in the notebook should not be 'install

- it should be very simple and easy for normal users to figure out, so
I'd strongly prefer a solution that doesn't go to the IPYTHONDIR or
depend on additional functionality like a database: since this is
about preventing data loss, simplicity and robustness should be
paramount.  For instance, a user could be working on a directory which
they put on a usb stick, and if there's a problem with the notebook,
they should be able to find the autosave files right there, not inside
their IPYTHONDIR which they may not even know about.

Basically, the scenario in my mind is that someone is working at 3am
on a project and for some reason the nb crashes.  They should be able
to find their data quickly, without having to know anything else about
how IPython organizes things internally or in a database.

So I'm +1 for going next to the working files and auto-cleaned up,
though making them be .foo_autosave.ipynb would be totally fine with
me, to prevent cluttering the directory during a live session.

There's no major rush to do this right away, but it seems like we're
slowly converging on a reasonable design that eventually we can
implement.  We can keep on mulling the interaction of this with the
rest of the system to make sure we don't paint ourselves into a
corner, obviously.



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