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Many apps save state and progress automatically in the background. Mobile apps save what page you're on even after the apps are cleared out of RAM. OneNote and Word for iOS save documents automatically. Elementary OS apps are supposed to open where the user left off last time. But if non-interruptive saving is possible, why does auto-save in desktop word processors require the user to wait for saving to finish?

This process doesn't seem to be instantaneous, for some reason. Scrolling position in Safari Reader Mode is a bit off after you press the home button while scrolling.

How does non-interruptive autosave work?

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Auto-save always makes you wait, because you don't want the user to be changing data while the save is taking place. It appears to be instantaneous when it is instantaneous (more or less).

The reason why e.g. Microsoft Word takes more time to save data is because its XML format is incredibly complex. Desktop applications in general can have twenty years of cruft they have to support, and also generally support more complex formatting and structure than mobile applications need to support with their ten or fewer years of existence and much simpler requirements.

If you want to see for yourself, try opening a nontrivial Word or Excel document on your phone compared to a simpler format such as the ones LibreOffice uses or a simple Notepad application. I have done this and anecdotally I can say those complex formats take far more time to load and save.

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    To give you some idea about the complexity of the Microsoft Office XML format: Microsoft submitted it as an open standard to the ECMA and then to ISO under the name "Office OpenXML (OOXML)". The spec has over 6000 pages. The spec is so complex that not even Microsoft Office implements it correctly. It is so complex that Microsoft Office actually implemented the Open Document Format from OpenOffice before it implemented the OOXML format. Feb 18 '15 at 0:23

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