Featured Software Debate: Is the Save Option Really Necessary?
Article by George Norman
On 14 Nov 2008
There are some features that are universal and you do not give them much thought; one such feature is “Save” or “Save As” which I myself did not give much thought to until now. I work with text and software on a daily basis and performing “Ctrl + S” every couple of minutes has become second nature to me, and so is “Ctrl + Z” and “Ctrl + Y” (these are the shortcut keys for the undo and redo actions). You can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across an article that claimed software products could do away with the Save option altogether.

According to Luis Villazon, the simple reason why the user has to permanently confirm save actions is because the software developers are too lazy to implement a better undo feature, one that would track the user’s every keystroke. In his vision the software product should not even ask you if you want to save, it should come as granted; and if the user is not happy with the alterations made to the document, this is where the undo option comes into play. By setting it up to record every keystroke and mouse click and by allowing the undo option to transgress sessions, then one could effectively do away with Save.


“Saving should be as automatic as breathing and the file should preserve every edit so that I can roll back to any previous point indefinitely. Files will be quite a bit bigger, but who cares? Disk space is the single cheapest resource a computer has,” says Luis Villazon on TechRadar .

The way I see it there is one simple problem related to this issue. It is not the fact that millions of users will go berserk when they can’t locate the Save button; it is not even the fact that the hard disk drive will be put to unnecessary amounts of stress; it is the fact that if Undo will transgress sessions, then the people I send messages to will be able to simply press Ctrl + Z and see whatever changes I made to that file. Imagine you are reading this article and at any time you have the option to see exactly how long it took me to write it, what I wanted to say but changed my mind, what mistakes I corrected in it – because that is what a permanent Undo feature can do. To my mind, we should leave things as they are. I would rather take control of my actions rather than let the software automatically try to assume what I am trying to do, not to mention that I can always set up my software to periodically perform an AutoSave.

What is your opinion on the matter? Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with the rest of us.

Tags: Software, Save As
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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