Improvements to Backups

whitedavidp's Avatar

whitedavidp

10 Feb, 2018 06:15 PM

I can see now that MD creates backups every time it exists. Not a bad idea. But each backup has the same name tied to the current date. If you open/use the program more than once per day, previous backups for that day get over-written. Not good! Both date and time should be used in the backup's name to prevent this. The user then should update the max number to keep if they want.

  1. 1 Posted by rm2426 on 10 Feb, 2018 06:47 PM

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    I agree. Backup separate for each open/close on same day.
    rmalone2426

  2. 2 Posted by whitedavidp on 12 Feb, 2018 05:47 PM

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    Just FYI, until MD makes this change (if they ever choose to do so), I have implemented a hacked-together "solution" for this on my Windows machine using this free program <https://www.nodesoft.com/foldermonitor>. I configured MD to put backups into their own folder. I then have FolderMonitor watch that folder for file creation events for files with names ending with ".moneydancearchive". When one happens, I have FolderMonitor run a batch file (attached) that first waits 20 seconds for MD to complete writing out the file and then renames the file just created by adding the current time (military time) on the end of the file name. It is a hack but it does what I need/want for now. Cheers!

  3. 3 Posted by whitedavidp on 19 Feb, 2018 02:06 AM

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    Ok. Looking for testers for my new (and first) MD extension. It is written in Java and is really quite simple. It has NO user interface at all. It merely logs to the console window. When installed, since it is not yet submitted to MD, it will issue a warning that it is not signed and potentially a problem. I assure you it is not.

    Here is what the extension does...

    1. MD automatically makes backups in a folder you specify in the preferences. It does so every time the program exits. The file names are always in the format <datafile name>.YYYY-MM-DD.moneydancearchive. If MD is opened/closed more than once per day, any previous backup file for the day is overwritten.

    2. When MD starts, this extension (once installed and MD closed) will be triggered. It will look in the configured backup folder location for a file with a name conforming to that above where YYYY-MM-DD matches the current date.

    3. If it finds one, that file's modification date/time (when it was written to last) is queried. The date will match that shown in the file's name, of course. This extension will take the modification time in the format HH.MM.SS (using military time) and use it to rename the file in-place to a name in the format <data file name>.YYYY-MM-DD.HH.MM.SS.moneydancearchive so that you now can have multiple backup files per day.

    4. So the backup file created on the final close of the MD program on any given day will NOT be renamed. This is because when MD is opened the following day, the current date will have changed and there will be no MD backup file with that date in its name yet.

    In my testing, MD seems to treat these renamed files exactly as it does the original files. That is, it makes no distinction between files that this extension has renamed and those which have not been renamed.

    SO BEFORE YOU INSTALL THIS, go to the preferences and dramatically increase the number of files that MD retains. How many are right for you depends. If you previously told MD to keep 5 daily files but you open/close MD 2 times a day, you should double the 5 to 10. But I would also increase it by 1 or 2 more as a safety margin.

    The extension is attached but I had to change the name to have .zip on the end instead of .mxt as it must be for MD to install it. This is because this forum will not permit me to attach a file with .mxt for some reason. So you must rename this file after download to have .mxt instead of .zip before it can be installed from within MD. Then go to the Extensions menu, choose Manage Extensions, and then press the Add From File button at the bottom left.

    If this proves of value to others, I will submit it to MD. Meanwhile, you can leave comments in this thread.

    Cheers

  4. 4 Posted by rm2426 on 19 Feb, 2018 01:38 PM

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    2018-0219 07:32am CST, USA

    Hi David,

         Re: Moneydance Extension for Backup of data file.

    Thanks-great idea, this may be a nice solution to Backup Moneydance data files.

    I have some questions...assume this Extension will run on MACs (OS= High Sierra)

    1. Will the Extension” work with all releases/years of MD, i.e. MD2014, MD2015, MD2017, etc?
    2. Does the “Extension” also copy the “Receipts” attachments to entries in check register, etc.-transactions-everything in the MD Data File and any other supporting documents attached to transactions?
    3. Can the “Extension” include a routine to backup to an External HDD also at same time (2 locations) and to warn if External Drive not connected but backup on internal HDD, and warn if not able to backup?
    4. OR can there be more than one Routine for Internal HDD Backup and one Routine for External HDD Backup, and name each routine (Internal-BU or External-BU), kaccordingly?
    5. Does the “Extension” create a log of each backup routine-activity as to name, date, time, and ALL locations-Paths where files (location-data path), were backed up?

    Please let me know or add me to list to be notified when EXTENSION is approved and accepted for USER’s by The Infinite Kind Support Staff for use by Moneydance users.

    Hope this is elevated to the highest priority to get accepted as this has been needed for YEARS!

    Thanks...your work-idea is most appreciated...hope it goes through very soon.

    Moneydance user,

    Robert Malone
    [email blocked]

    Sent from my iPad

  5. 5 Posted by tonyt on 19 Feb, 2018 05:53 PM

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    Me too please..hope it gets approval!
    Cheers...

  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 19 Feb, 2018 08:32 PM

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    Hi Robert,

    I think you are misinterpreting what David's extension is doing.

    The extension is taking the Backup as produced by Moneydance when it exits and renaming it to include a time stamp, thus allowing you to preserve more than one backup a day.

    So for Q2 it is whatever data Moneydance has put into the backup, for Q 3, 4 & 5 the extension is not creating the backup itself it is just renaming the backups.

    An extension written for Moneydance 2017 will only run on MD 2015 & 2017, there were API changes made in MD2015. You would need a separate extension for MD 2014 and earlier.

  7. 7 Posted by Ken on 20 Feb, 2018 06:09 AM

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    Mac users who have the "Hazel" app by Noodlesoft can automate this task. Not a free app though.

  8. 8 Posted by tonyt on 20 Feb, 2018 06:51 AM

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    For me, that is all I want, just time stamped so as to get more than one per day. Ideal!

  9. 9 Posted by whitedavidp on 20 Feb, 2018 02:59 PM

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    Glad to hear that others find this useful. Let me confirm to Robert what others have said. I am new to MD in version 2017 so cannot speak to earlier versions. Also, all this addon does is rename the file that MD creates. It is NOT a more sophisticated or configurable backup routine in and of itself.

    That said, Robert mentioned backups of attachments and since I am new to MD, I wonder now if attachments are included in the backup files. In Quicken I am pretty sure they are NOT. But in the KB, I read "Once you’ve attached a file to a Moneydance transaction a copy of the image will be stored in your Moneydance data file." I can see that this should not be taken literally as the files seem to be stored un-encrypted in a folder apart from the rest of the data. Can anyone confirm/deny if attachements make it into the .moneydancearchive files?

    I will submit this addon to the MD folks for signature.

    Cheers

  10. 10 Posted by dwg on 20 Feb, 2018 08:20 PM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    David,

    It should be easy enough to check the contents of the archive.

    The archive is really a zip file so taking a copy changing the extension to .zip and examining it with your favourite zip program should show what is in the archive.

    Just to state again the API was changed in MD 2015 so an extension written for MD 2017 will not work on MD2014 or earlier versions. In any case file formats and backups have changes considerably over the years so even without API changes it would surprise me if the extension worked in its current incarnation on many older versions.I seem to recall changes during the life of MD2015 to backups so the extension may even not work on all releases there, especially early ones, though there is no real reason to be running an early 2015 release.

  11. 11 Posted by whitedavidp on 20 Feb, 2018 08:49 PM

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    Good lord, what a dope I am. You are right of course! I opened the zip and navigated to find that attachments are indeed in there. Thanks for all the help.

  12. 12 Posted by jeff on 24 Feb, 2018 06:35 AM

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    Hi David,

    Think I’ll light the fuse & await the fallout from my comments below. Whilst I admire your programming skills & enthusiasm, I think you are attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.

    The writers of the software give us all the backup routines that most are ever likely to need. I agree the Auto backup feature is very weak & missing flexibility. However, the Manual backup is quite powerful. Three mouse clicks & the job is done. File > Export Backup > Save.

    The resulting file is Date & Time Stamped to the minute. Each time you save it, the previous location is remembered. If you want to, you can add to the saved file name with more detailed information as to what you were doing at that point.

    Mac users have even greater flexibility, in that if you go to the saved file. CMD+I allows you to type a whole essay into the Comments box. Sadly missing in Windows.

    Furthermore, I can do all this without exiting MD. I don’t need to shut down MD & wait 20 seconds, then fire it up again to continue working. Your method leaves me with a whole series of time stamped files in a fixed location with no descriptions.

    Feel free to abuse me as much as you like!

    Jeff

  13. 13 Posted by dwg on 24 Feb, 2018 07:02 AM

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    Jeff,

    No abuse from me.

    I think David's intention is to have a backup for each Moneydance session you may have for those that have more than one session in a day by utilizing the inbuilt Backup on exit function but ensuring each one is saved rather than overwritten, so an automated process.

    Hence I think this solution fits between having one backup per day and using the Manual backup function as required.

  14. 14 Posted by whitedavidp on 24 Feb, 2018 02:26 PM

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    Hi Jeff. No abuse from me either. This is the great thing about having a plug-in architecture. Those who want it can have it. Those who do not need not! There is no single, right way to do anything. DWG is correct in his response about what I was wanting and trying to achieve. I find that as experienced as I am with computers I forget to make manual backups at key times. And failure to do so has sometimes left me stranded in places I preferred not to be. So I love apps that do auto-backups. Some allow you great levels of control over this: like how many minutes between them, where they are put and how they are named. In the case of MD, I just wanted more protection against myself. With this terribly simply and easy extension (not really much to admire except the simplicity with which MD permits me to accomplish it), I am able to satisfy myself. I have done this alot - writing plugins for apps (Thunderbird, Firefox, etc) and I have found that others often find what I want useful. So that is why I post them. Certainly no other reason to do so (fame/fortune). So use what you find useful, ignore what you do not. Cheers!

  15. 15 Posted by Syd on 22 Mar, 2018 04:54 PM

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    This is now implemented in Moneydance. Seems to meet the bill.

  16. 16 Posted by Syd on 22 Mar, 2018 04:56 PM

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    Should clarify, implemented at least for the export archive selection.

  17. 17 Posted by whitedavidp on 22 Mar, 2018 08:34 PM

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    Yes, I have seen it in the manually-triggered export function. That's great. But not really what I was trying to get at. Cheers!

  18. 18 Posted by shiner03 on 23 Mar, 2018 04:15 AM

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    Jeff,
    What a great idea: to manually backup whenever desired. Thanks

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