Felix Memory Serves

The power of automatic saving

I’m working on the next version of Memory Serves now, so I’m doing a lot of dogfooding with it. I’ve thus been using Memory Serves pretty much exclusively over the past month for my own translation work.

Over the course of using Memory Serves intensively, I’ve uncovered quite a few areas needing improvement; which is good, because knowing about the problems makes it possible to fix them. 🙂

One feature that really saved my bacon, however, was the fact that Memory Serves keeps the database up-to-date at all times. I had been working on a fairly large translation, and went out with my family for dinner. Okinawa was experiencing some intense electrical storms, and when we got back, I found that my neighborhood had had a blackout, and my computers had all shut down.

Since Memory Serves uses the SQLite database to store the translation memories, all changes to the TMs are saved to disk immediately. So none of my work was lost, and I was able to carry on translating.

With Felix, your TMs aren’t saved automatically; you have to save them much as you would a Word document. Although it will prompt you to save if you exit the program with unsaved changes, if your computer (or Felix) crashed, then you’d lose all the translation entries you’d made since your last save.

This happened to a Felix user a few months back: she had been working on a translation for about six hours when her computer crashed, and she hadn’t saved her TM even once. She asked me if there was some way to recover her translations, but the only way was to use Align Assist to recreate her translation memory — the original TM was lost.

I added a ticket to my Felix issue tracker to add automatic background saving of TMs, but until now I’ve given higher priority to other development. Seeing first hand how this feature saved my own bacon with Memory Serves, however, I’ve decided to give it higher priority for Felix as well. I hope to have it included in Felix by the next release (version 1.5), or at the latest by the version after that (1.5.1).

The next version of Memory Serves will be released over the next few days, and it’ll have a lot of improvements as well. In particular, it’s much faster, fixes some issues with correcting/editing translations, and will have a new search and replace feature. The new search and replace will serve as a prototype of the improved search and replace I’m adding to Felix.