How I lost 2 hours of work working offline on a Dropbox file

hans's Avatar


10 May, 2012 02:09 PM

Hi there,

yesterday, I wanted to work on an existing text file that was on my Dropbox. So I opened it at the train station, while still having a connection, and left the file open.
Then I was working on the train, offline, writing a few hundred lines... 2 hours later, I accidentally tapped the "+" button and lost everything I've written... I had now way to reopen the file (because I needed a connection to access my Dropbox files) and I did not manage to find a local copy.
At home, with a connection, I did not manage to recover my work either.

How can something like that happen?

Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Oli Studholme on 11 May, 2012 02:34 AM

    Oli Studholme's Avatar

    I’m very sorry to hear you’ve had this problem. Unfortunately Writer needs to read from and write to Dropbox’s servers directly, due to restrictions on Dropbox’s API. If you go offline while editing that isn’t possible. However, if you are editing a document on Dropbox and then go offline, Writer will try to save the document to your iPad. Please tap the File Drawer icon then Back to get to the Storage List, then tap iPad. Hopefully your missing work will be saved there.

    We’re working hard on improving this, and in a future release you’ll be prompted when this happens. In the meantime, please read our knowledge base article “What are the differences between iCloud, Dropbox and local storage?” for more on your storage options and how we recommend working offline.

    Happy writing!

  2. 2 Posted by hans on 12 May, 2012 11:59 AM

    hans's Avatar

    Thanks for your answer Oli. Unfortunately, there is no copy of my missing file on the iPad...
    I think you should not let the user edit a Dropbox file if he's offline (working on a local copy should be mandatory to prevent data losses like that).

  3. 3 Posted by Boris Liberman on 12 May, 2012 02:36 PM

    Boris Liberman's Avatar

    This comment was split into a new discussion: First time use questions

    Dear Sir
    I have two questions 1. How can I download file from Dropbox and how to save it
    2. The spaller don't show me my mistakes
    3. Where can I find the manual for this program?

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Oli Studholme on 13 May, 2012 04:04 AM

    Oli Studholme's Avatar

    I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve suffered data loss — this is an issue we’re naturally very concerned to hear about. Writer should have automatically backed up the file in this situation, and I’ve let the developers know so they can try to investigate further, in case there’s a bug or edge case we haven’t found so far. Unfortunately all I can do for now is to apologise — of course Writer should never loose your work. As I said we’re working on adding a prompt for this, and improving Dropbox integration in general.

    Happy writing!

  5. 5 Posted by hans on 13 May, 2012 10:27 AM

    hans's Avatar

    Do not hesitate to ask me if you need to investigate further. I can try to reproduce the problem and send you a step-by-step guide to reproduce it yourselves.
    Best regards.

  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by Oli Studholme on 14 May, 2012 04:55 AM

    Oli Studholme's Avatar

    If you can reproduce it we’d LOVE to hear the steps required, so we can confirm if it’s something we’ve already addressed or not. Thank you in advance!

    Happy writing!

  7. 7 Posted by hans on 14 May, 2012 07:03 AM

    hans's Avatar

    Tested on an iPad 3rd gen (Wifi only).

    1. Connect to Wifi.
    2. Open Writer.
    3. In Storage List, tap on Dropbox and pick and existing txt file.
    4. Switch to iPad settings and activate Airplane mode to disconnect from the Wifi.
    5. Switch back to Writer. Edit the file that is still open.
    6. Tap on the Save icon, it will fail.
    7. Tap on the + icon (originally, I did it accidentally), it will create a new document, losing all your edits on the previous file.
    8. Switch to iPad settings and deactivate Airplane mode to reconnect to the Wifi.
    9. Switch back to Writer. You have no way to recover your edits on the file (it will reload the initial version of the file from Dropbox).

    I hope it will be of some help.

  8. Support Staff 8 Posted by Oli Studholme on 14 May, 2012 12:55 PM

    Oli Studholme's Avatar

    Thank you for the detailed bug report. I tested this in our development build, and currently it saves the file in the iPad storage list and notifies you that this has happened as expected. This means the next release of Writer for iPad should prevent this problem from occurring. I’m very sorry that this bug caused you to loose data, but it seems it won’t be possible to loose data the same way from the next release.

    Once again, my apologies for you loosing work, and thank you for your excellent bug report. I hope this issue doesn’t affect you (or anyone else) before the next release comes out!

    Happy writing!

  9. 9 Posted by hans on 14 May, 2012 01:48 PM

    hans's Avatar

    It's always easier to write a bug report when you're a developer yourself – that's my case ;)
    I'm looking forward to the next release.
    Best regards.

  10. hans closed this discussion on 14 May, 2012 01:48 PM.

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