Save and Save As

I really can’t stand software that makes me save all the time.  I like the Save As… feature, but mostly so I can set a bookmark of revision (or to make sure I have a revert avenue after any layout or file corruption).  I love how Jeff Johnson describes Save:

One concept that developers often add to software conceptual models despite the fact that it doesn’t exist in most actual task domains is an explicit action for saving the results of the user’s work. When a person writes or draws on a physical piece of paper, there is no need for the person to do anything to save his orher work. Computer software has been addingSave actions to software conceptual models for so long that frequent computer users now consider it to be natural to most task domains. It isn’t.

Software developers add Save actions to conceptual models partly because doing so gives users a way to back out of changes they have made since the last Save. However, the ability to back out of changes could also be provided in other way, such as (1) making all changes reversible, or (2) automatically creating backup versions of users’ data. This is in fact how most computer file managers operate: when users move data files and folders from place to place, they do not have to save their changes. Users back out of changes by simply reversing the operations. Why are file managers designed differently than, say, most document editors? Tradition and habit, nothing more.