May 16, 2003 | Category:

A Kick In The Teeth

This was originally going to be an essay on the background of The Matrix (don’t worry, I’ll get round to doing that at some point). But, after I accidently hit the back button in my browser, the entire thing was gone. Disaster!

So, my question is: just how suitable are browsers for working with long pieces of work? Although I don’t have enough time to really look at this (I spent a fair while doing the deleted essay), it seems to be an important issue. How many people have actually lost work because their browsers didn’t remember the state of forms after an accidental page traversal? I know it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. The backspace button seems particularly prone to allowing this: try to remove some characters whilst getting ready to put in upper cases characters, accidently hit shift and ka-put: An essay gone.

There’s not even a decent way of saving text midway through typing. You know “saving”; that basic and obligatory function in every application since the beginning of back-up media. Sure, we could open a text file and cut-and-paste, but that’s too much hassle for real people to do it. Also, it also supposes that we expect a disaster. If we expected disaster, then we’d make sure to backup constantly. Without an easily accessible save function, it’s not natural to do this. State in other media (pen and paper) is automatically saved for us.

Maybe, I’m just angry at having lost hard work, but it does seem like the sort of feature all browsers should have.