[wp-hackers] Incremental backup and restore

Chetan Kunte ckunte at gmail.com
Fri Jan 27 02:17:23 GMT 2006

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Nevertheless, many hosts continue to permit the cron job
> functionalities while denying command-line access. My host
> is among them, so one can set up a cron job to sqldump the
> database onto the Web server automatically.

Roy, cron jobs intimidate end-users. Let me explain below.

Owen Winkler wrote:
> Seriously, if the size of a daily transfer is a problem,
> sign up for a /free/ Gmail account, and send the backups
> there.  Even uncompressed at 3MB/day, a whole month of daily
> backups will use 93MB of space, which is less than 3.5% of
> my current total capacity at Gmail.  You could visit your
> Gmail account once every two years to clean out the old
> backups.

Owen, I do this every week. I was not speaking for myself, but in
general. More on that below.

Scot Merrill wrote:
> The backup plugin is a convenience for people who need
> to backup,  but are intimidated (or confused) by phpMyAdmin.
> It's an effort  to easily give people peace of mind in the
> event that their site  blows up / gets hacked / falls into
> a space-time rift.

> I suppose a one-file-per-table export might be a good
> idea, to alleviate the need to manually split the backup
> into separate files in order to load them one at a time
> into phpMyAdmin -- but then, where do we stop? It'll only
> be a matter of time before someone wants X number of rows
> per backup file because they have a ginormous database.

Guys, thanks for your thoughts, truly appreciate it. My point is not
how a geek or an experienced user works when he backs-up or restores.
As Scot says (and I quote again):

Scot Merrill wrote:
> The backup plugin is a convenience for people who need
> to backup, but are intimidated (or confused) by phpMyAdmin.

Yes, this *is* the crux of the matter, but not just limited to it. And
the tribe of such people is going to increase exponentially as
blogging becomes not just popular, but a way of life and work. And
when they start adding content to their systems, the database is going
to become bigger and bigger. It will become so big one day (depending
upon how active the content creation is) that it will refuse to be
restored in one piece, whether it is via phpmyadmin or via a future
plugin. I am very sure you'll start to see this in Support questions
very soon. Then what do you do? Would you tell the user to change to a
host with more tools? This is like sidelining the problem, not
attacking it.

Put on an end-user's hat for a minute and forget that you've heard of
anything called cron job or phpmyadmin. The end user will only look
under the Dashboard and think, oh hell, I don't have a way to download
my work and restore it. Or if he tries on a very large db (say 5-10MB
file gzipped), he's going to feel the heat and hairpull.

Ideally the WordPress system would check the size of the backup and
say: "Your database size is over 2MB gzipped, would you prefer
downloading incrementally? We have one or two options (by year or
category, lets limit to one or these two options max)". And in the
same way offer an incremental restore as well (in addition to a full
restore in one shot).

Let's look at some keywords: cron job, gmail backup, convenience,
one-file-per-table export, split-backup

Are we not talking so much geek for most end-users, that this is
incomprehensible? For a universal adoption of the application (whether
by a geek or by an end user), simplifying things for the user is a
must and a great idea. I am quite aware of the enormous burden of
coding that comes with the idea of simplification. But would you see a
smile on every user when he sees such options? Hell, yes!
Chetan, ckunte.com

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