Auto save texts on text boxes on websites and retrieve even if the window closes unexpectedly

firefox addons image

There is this frustrating moment in everyone’s life – you spend a good 15 minutes writing on a comment box on a website, for some reason the window closes and you loose all what you have written. Every website can’t have what Gmail has. Gmail fortunately saves whatever you type on the compose box as a draft. With a Firefox extension, every website can be made to take draft locally on your hard disk. The extension is Textarea Cache, and a similar one is yet to be made for Chrome or Opera.

This could be a new feature request for browsers, and even sites or CMS to auto save texts as being written. Browsers are getting smarter, having this feature will be of great time saver to anyone. Talking of browsers, to install this extension for Firefox, you need to restart it. I wouldn’t say there’s a long way ahead for Firefox to completely get rid of this restarting to install certain extensions. Textarea Cache helps with that too, as I am writing this, the extension can save a copy (cache) of what I have written more quickly than WordPress. Which brings us to take a look at how often the extension can be set to, take an auto-save of your writings.

As soon as you install, open the addon page (Ctrl + Shift + a) to open Textarea Cache’s options, you should see something like the image below,

textarea cache options

First is, you can turn on/off the status bar icon notification (textarea cache status bar icon). Why would you turn if off, if you can see a copy (cache) is saved and available. You can click to open the cache window to see the saves made.

Next, you can set how many days you want the cache to be saved. It’s good to have it for a day before it gets removed. If you are on travel make it a week for longer availability.

The last option is the exception list. You can add sites that take a copy for you automatically in there. You can even add Gmail to the list. This feature is good, as it lets you know what sites take an auto-save and what doesn’t.

There is Open cache window button. Open it to see what caches are saved. This is a window that has a list of all cache saves on its drop down list. Select one by one to see what are all the cache saved and remove the ones not needed anymore.

textarea cache box

It just has a cache saved for this site. It will soon save all what I write on all sites here for a day or for how long I have set it before expiring.

Now, for the advanced setting on the about:config,

Advanced settings – About:config

If you are new to the advanced Firefox settings, it can be opened by typing about:config on the URL bar. Accept the warning and you are in the main control panel.

Copy and paste this (extensions.tacache) on the search to get all the settings for this extension.

textarea cache about config

You can instantly clear the cache by setting the .clearCache to 0. Turn off any time spans, that is the duration of your cache saved and reset it to the default value by setting the .clearTimeSpan to 0.

If you want to keep saved texts for 30 days, for example:
1. set “extensions.tacache.clearCache” to “1”
2. set “extensions.tacache.clearTimeSpan” to “30”

If you want the cache to be saved for a longer time,

1. set “extensions.tacache.clearCache” to “1”
2. set “extensions.tacache.restartClearInMin” to “-1″
Then the saved texts will be kept in the cache unless it’s full. -1 is the value to turn off that setting. .restartClearInMin is the minutes before it empties the cache after restarting the browser.

By default 20 caches are saved. To increase this limit, set “extensions.tacache.maxTextSaved” to 50, if you want 50 items on the cache.

By default the extensions is made to clear the cache on clearing recent history. If you don’t want this to happen, set “extensions.tacache.clearWithSanitize” to “false”.

And to take a look at how often the extension can be set to take an auto-save of your writings. extensions.tacache.saveInterval is the setting. By default it is set to take a save every 60 seconds!

That’s it. Let the other settings be as is.

I have set it all and my settings now looks like,

textarea cache my settings

That translates to, my caches are 20 items, saved for 30 days and for every 60 seconds. It never gets cleared on a restart, has a status bar icon to view the cache, and it doesn’t gets nuked on a recent history removal.


Overall it’s a great time and data saver. Textarea Cache is the must to have one, if you are the one that participates in the community and felt this frustration of textbox empty on an accidental tab exit.

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