Author Topic: Pre-existing file names and dumping of message  (Read 173 times)

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Offline cardan

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Pre-existing file names and dumping of message
« on: 03 Nov 2018 at 09:58 »
I've been caught a couple of times with this one.

If you try to post a message with an attachment with the same name as a pre-existing attachment already on the system, you get an error message to that effect. Fair enough. But it also deletes the post you have just typed! Very frustrating.

Is the message saved somewhere, or do I just have to type it again?


Offline Dave

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Re: Pre-existing file names and dumping of message
« Reply #1 on: 03 Nov 2018 at 19:03 »
Hi Leon,

Yes, that is very frustrating and it shouldn't happen. I don't know which piece of software is at fault - the browser or the forum software, probably both.
I have seen situations where the message was preserved and where it was lost. I seem to recall Google's Chrome browser was more successful in retaining the message than Mozilla's Firefox. I don't use the Microsoft browsers frequently enough to comment on how they handle it.

When the forum started back in 2004, losing messages while posting happened more frequently, even though no attachments were involved. In those days, the Preview step involved sending the message to the server and could cause problems. Now the Preview step is handled locally on the PC. But any brief loss of communication between the browser and the server would also bounce you back to a blank message window. Brief glitches were more common back then.

To hedge against these situations, I developed a habit of copying and pasting the text of a long message into Notepad, both during drafting of the message and before clicking the 'Preview' or 'Post' button. So if any kind of a glitch happened, the text is preserved in a separate application and can be recovered.  I still do this today even though I am not attaching any files. I will make a copy of this message shortly as it gets longer.

I am working on a long term plan to gradually convert all attachments to inline linked images. This will reduce the number of attachments and hence the number of pre-existing names. But there's a truckload of learning and testing involved to implement that plan.

In the meantime, there are a few things one can do to insure against name clashes and message loss in general.

1. Add the date to the beginning of the attachments in the form yyyy-mm-dd will almost certainly guarantee there is not an existing file with the same name. So '4hp.jpg' becomes '2018-11-03-4hp.jpg'.
This is recommended for all attachments. Having to repeat any post is annoying. But this alone won't protect against all possible message loss situations.

2. Using a Notepad backup for the text (suggested for any long message whether attachments included or not).
 - Open Notepad.
 - Put the cursor in the forum message window where you are are writing your message.
 - Right click 'Select All'
 - Right click 'Copy'
 - Move the cursor to the Notepad window.
 - Right click 'Paste'
Or you can use the keyboard shortcuts
 - Control-A (select all)
 - Control-C (copy)
 - Control-V (paste)

Should any kind of message loss situation occur, you can recover your text from Notepad.

3. This is an easier variation of the above, but not as robust as you can't see your backup copy of the text.
 - After typing your message, click on 'Preview'.
 - Highlight the text in the Preview with the cursor.
 - Right click 'Select All'
 - Right click 'Copy'
 - Now there is a copy of your text in memory
 - Should a glitch of any kind occur, you can paste it back into the message window.
But please note, because you can't see your backup copy, there is no guarantee you have one.
The Notepad method is the safest option.


Offline Doug

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Re: Pre-existing file names and dumping of message
« Reply #2 on: 04 Nov 2018 at 00:11 »
Dave, Leon,

I suspected the problem is in the browser, caused by an oversight in the forum. The browser actually loses the message. When the message is rejected by the forum due to the error, you are returned to the message editing window. The Forum does not save a snapshot of the editing window; as far as it is concerned it has not received a post yet. And apparently the browser does not save a copy either. It remembers the page, but the contents of the editing window are not apparently part of that page address/history. I got the same results (in FF), using the browser's back page button rather than the "back" button under the error message.

As far as incremental saves, I do the same. I have been burned more than once with a long and intricate post that went up in smoke often enough that paranoid, compulsive saves are a second nature! There is a quicker (though more ethereal) way than opening and pasting into Notepad, and that is to just use the Clipboard function only. In the text window, just do a "Crtl+A" to highlight all the text, and then a "Ctrl+C" to copy it to the Clipboard. There is no need to paste it into Notepad or other text editing application. I just do that every now and then on the fly to keep updating the Clipboard. You do have to remember to de-select the highlighted text, else you next keystroke will replace it. Then if the post does get wiped (or you hit a key without de-selecting the text!), the first thing I do is plant the cursor in the text area and do a "Ctrl+V" (paste) to recover the contents of the Clipboard.

The only time I will actually paste it into Notepad is if I am using other applications (like a word processor or email) at the same time and I might inadvertently overwrite the Clipboard from there, or if I suspect I might loose power, or I am using one of the other applications that freeze or crash the computer due to heavy demands on the CPU. Then pasting into Notepad will give a more permanent storage of the text vs. Clipboard, which is emptied when the computer shuts down.