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2 ˝ years later and I still have to clean up those backups after OmniFocus… do developers at OmniGroup care about and listen to their users?
 
They do (if you use the feedback mechanism), but they show it by prioritizing their efforts so that more widely requested changes tend to be made first, along with those they feel will have the most benefit. For many people, the payoff of a few seconds saved once or twice a month isn't as great as the benefit from something else that could be done with the development and testing resources an automatic backup pruner would occupy. It's not as if they haven't been making any changes during those 2.5 years!

Send in another request with Help->Send Feedback if this is an important feature for you, and encourage others who want it to do so also...I would probably use it if it existed, but as others in the thread have mentioned, there are a number of external options. Generally, I prefer they spend their time working on features where only they can make improvements, because at the end of the day, there is still a long list of such features waiting for implementation. YMMV.
 
I disagree that this is a simple matter of priority. It's a matter of responsible programming.

As a UNIX Sys Admin one of the banes of my existence is application developers who decide to implement logging or transaction archiving within their apps without any thought given to cleanup and maintenance. When I get paged for their filesystems filling up their first response is always to ask for more space rather than doing a cleanup.

It's incredibly sloppy for the Omni developers to write an unending number of backup files without any cleanup and without even informing the customers what and how to clean up themselves. The cleanup process is something that should have been implemented very early in the product's lifetime virtually in lock-step with the backup process itself.

Implementing new features and functionality based on customer voting and priority is one thing, but some aspects to product development should be near the top of the priority list out of basic necessity and good practices whether people vote for it or not.
 
Let's run the numbers, shall we? OmniFocus will do a backup once or twice a day, plus each time you quit, if you so choose. Typical database size is well under 5 MB, but we'll call it 5 MB. We'll be conservative and say 5 backups per day, plus an additional 5 copies in Time Machine. 50 MB/day is not exactly a footprint that is going to run someone out of disk in a hurry. I haven't discarded any backups since the beginning of May, and have only lightly pruned the older history stretching back nearly a year. The backup folder occupies 3.4 GB. I just bought a disk yesterday. A 2 TB disk in an OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro enclosure with FW 400/800, USB 2.0, and eSATA interfaces works out to be about 42 cents for that 3.4 GB. Raw disk cost is about 40% of that. So, once a quarter, I could spend about 30 seconds to delete the previous quarter's backups, and recoup 42 cents worth of disk space. OmniFocus could easily remind me to do it, too :-)

For most people, it isn't a problem. For the remainder, the Finder works well (and is available at no extra cost), or something like Hazel can be bought and put to multiple uses besides pruning backups. Omni isn't likely to spend the effort to do anything fancy if there are few requests for the feature, so anyone who is particular about what gets kept probably still will want to roll their own solution.

We were pretty excited at our good fortune when the Unix systems I managed 20-25 years ago had considerably less than 3.4 GB of total disk space to serve 30 or 40 users!
 
You can be defensive about it all you want but that doesn't change the fact that letting backups pile up indefinitely with no provision for maintaining them was just plain lazy coding and/or poor design on someone's part. I'd even say it's irresponsible to treat their customer's systems that way. To not have addressed it in over two years and multiple updates is just baffling to me. To be clear, though, I'm thrilled that OmniGroup did think about backups and that they decided to be safe and back up as often as they do. It just gets my panties in a bunch when decisions are made to generate never ending piles of data without any regard for maintenance and retention.

3.5GB of backups for a 5MB file? And you seriously don't see any problem with that? To use your numbers of 50MB per day that's 18GB per year with no warning whatsoever from the vendor. Just look through the threads and you see that most people discovered the excessive backups by accident when they were looking to free up space. Contrary to your declaration that it isn't a problem for most people, it IS a problem for EVERYBODY. Each and every customer has to do their own research to find out, 1) what are these files, 2) can they safely be removed, and 3) how best to remove them. I have the skills to automate the cleanup with a simple script, but not everyone does. It's silly that people are expected to use an external tool like Hazel just for this function.
 
Thanks GrumpyDave, you're speaking from my heart. I too think that OmniGroup should clean up after their applications. If every single program would just dump logs and backups onto my drive and leave it to me to delete those then I'd have to hire an assistant for that task alone. It cannot be too difficult to implement a simple feature to only keep the most recent 10,20, or 30 backups. Other programs offer this feature too!!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyDave View Post
3.5GB of backups for a 5MB file? And you seriously don't see any problem with that? To use your numbers of 50MB per day that's 18GB per year with no warning whatsoever from the vendor. Just look through the threads and you see that most people discovered the excessive backups by accident when they were looking to free up space. Contrary to your declaration that it isn't a problem for most people, it IS a problem for EVERYBODY.
I'm loving the recent on slew of users who know what everybody's needs and wishes are. ;-)
GrumpyDave, I see your points and I'm sure that an integrated cleanup for backups OPTION would be great, but I'll stand as an exception to your assertion that the current situation is a problem for "everybody:" I, for one, am in favour of having unlimited backup of the OF database (at least as an option). I'm certainly not keeping backups of every single database I own forever, but OF is an exception for me: as the center of my electronic GTD system, I want to be able to retrieve information from any previous backup since I've started using OF.
 
I got Hazel thinking that it would be a waste of money as Omni would sort this glaring error quickly. Ha! Thanks Hazel for keeping me neat and tidy.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyDave View Post
You can be defensive about it all you want but that doesn't change the fact that letting backups pile up indefinitely with no provision for maintaining them was just plain lazy coding and/or poor design on someone's part. I'd even say it's irresponsible to treat their customer's systems that way. To not have addressed it in over two years and multiple updates is just baffling to me. To be clear, though, I'm thrilled that OmniGroup did think about backups and that they decided to be safe and back up as often as they do. It just gets my panties in a bunch when decisions are made to generate never ending piles of data without any regard for maintenance and retention.
I'm not defensive about it at all. It wasn't my call not to put in a pruner. There are many, many things I would rather see them spend their time on before this, however. Everyone has all the tools they need to delete backups that are no longer needed, but most users do not have the option of changing the behavior of the application in any substantial way. Given the choice between fixing something I can deal with myself and fixing something that only someone with source access can fix, I would prefer they do the latter.
Quote:
3.5GB of backups for a 5MB file? And you seriously don't see any problem with that?
No, I don't see a problem with it. It isn't one 5 MB file, it is 500 different 5 MB files (actually, mine average about 7 MB). It's an inconsequential amount of disk space for me, and when it becomes consequential, I spend 30 seconds in the Finder and vaporize a bunch of them. Geez, my camera's RAW files occupy 40 MB each, and those I store in triplicate. It's not like OmniFocus suddenly starts doing this without warning, either, unlike some of the messages that get blurted out to the console log with little or no rate-limiting.
Quote:

To use your numbers of 50MB per day that's 18GB per year with no warning whatsoever from the vendor. Just look through the threads and you see that most people discovered the excessive backups by accident when they were looking to free up space. Contrary to your declaration that it isn't a problem for most people, it IS a problem for EVERYBODY. Each and every customer has to do their own research to find out, 1) what are these files, 2) can they safely be removed, and 3) how best to remove them. I have the skills to automate the cleanup with a simple script, but not everyone does. It's silly that people are expected to use an external tool like Hazel just for this function.
Did you ever read the documentation?
Backing up your database, p. 50:

We've made OmniFocus err on the side of obsessive, paranoid data preservation, just in case something bad happens to your database.
The preferences have a big section on the front page devoted to backups, and no mention of pruning. I'm not sure why one would jump to the assumption that any program that makes backups automatically prunes them for you if nothing is said, especially a program that "errs on the side of obsessive, paranoid data preservation" but no matter. You still have to monitor free disk space on your computer whether OmniFocus prunes the backups or not.

Easy, no-cost solution while you wait for a built-in pruning facility: make a repeating action that goes off once a month and reminds you to delete some old backups of your choosing. There is no need for a script to just delete the oldest files in a directory. Given the bare-bones nature of the Archive facility, I very much doubt a built-in backup pruner is going to offer much customization.

A long-ago colleague was fond of pointing out whenever a computer did something unfortunate while trying to help (such as pruning backups) that the problem with programs that try to wipe your nose for you is that they often first wipe something else. The beauty of being a beneficiary of Kryder's Law is that it is no longer nearly so necessary to sweat over small amounts of storage, and the Omni developers can concentrate on what they do best. OmniDiskSweeper is a fine tool, but it's not why we are all here!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyDave View Post
You can be defensive about it all you want but that doesn't change the fact that letting backups pile up indefinitely with no provision for maintaining them was just plain lazy coding...
Absolutely right Dave. Clearly the OmniFocus team isn't going to do anything about this so I'll put in a reminder to myself to empty the folder out every week.

In my day job I work with a wide variety of developers and have developed an intuition for how they work. This team seems like nice guys who are working hard. But they are clearly not professional, not doing the harder work required to make quality software. They, or others, can tell me I'm wrong. But the fundamental issue is that this software can not be relied on for the long term as they will go off the rails at some point.

So, back to the ongoing search for good GTD software!
 
 


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