Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

TypePad...please save us from ourselves!

Writing blog posts in a browser has some nice advantages - primary among them the ability to write from any machine with an internet connection. The main disadvantage is just how easy it is to lose everything you just spent 30 minutes writing.

With TypePad, if your browser hangs, you thoughtlessly hit your back button, or you accidentaly navigate away from the page for a search or some other innocent reason, you immediately lose what you've been writing without the slightest warning.

How do I know this? Way too much experience. I've lost a number of posts, though the painful lessons have made me save a draft about every five minutes or so. Worse is that I've had to watch my family suffer - both Ben and Lori have recently lost a lot of time and creativity, which is very sad to see.

What is particularly sad is that we know it doesn't have to be this way. Many current web apps (particularly Gmail) show us how it can be done. Please Six Apart, consider these improvements to TypePad that would be such a help to your users...

1. Auto-save a draft of the post every few minutes, something Gmail introduced recently and is as smooth as can be.

2. When you Preview a post, go ahead and save a draft automatically. I asked for this about a year ago - I can't imagine why this would cause a user any trouble. Once you're previewing a post, you're certainly to the point of wanting to keep a draft of it.

3. If someone has started a post and attempts to leave the page for any reason, ask if they're sure they want to lose what they've written. Again, Gmail does this perfectly.

Ben was so frustrated when this happened recently that he went ahead and figured out how to use MarsEdit on his own so he won't risk losing anything. I hope Six Apart will add features like these soon instead of investing time in tip jars and other money-generating programs that are useful to such a small subset of their customers.