Understanding the Homebrew Save/Restore App | webOS Nation
 
 

Understanding the Homebrew Save/Restore App

by Adam Marks Wed, 08 Sep 2010 8:32 am EDT

SaveRestore Back in April, we reported on a new app that was just hitting the WebOS-Internal’s testing feed called Save/Restore. The app was designed to help you restore all of your applications' saved data and preferences after wiping your phone from a visit to the webOS Doctor or after a phone replacement. While still not officially at v1.0, the application has been in the production feeds for a few months now has been a great success and has seen some major enhancements. But before we talk about those enhancements, let’s give a quick recap on what Save/Restore actually does and why it’s necessary.

Keep reading after the break!

Palm’s own Backup App--which is designed to run every 24 hours--will save a lot of important data to Palm’s backup servers, including a listing of all apps you have downloaded from the App Catalog, your PIM data saved to the Palm Profile, browser bookmarks and more. However, it was never designed to keep track of your installed Homebrew apps and patches, nor any data that you have entered into your Apps since they were downloaded or progress within your games. Some apps like SplashID have tried to get around this by letting you send yourself an encrypted email with your data, but for the majority of your apps, this is not available.

This is where Save/Restore comes in. Instead of actually backing up the data for entire apps, Save/Restore is designed to save just those files or databases that are changed by the app, and can then restore it back on to your device or even on to a replacement device. Unlike Palm’s Backup app, Save/Restore does not run automatically, nor does it save all the data from every app. Support for each app needs to be built in manually, with about 150 apps currently supported. If you have an app that you would like added, please visit the Save/Restore Forum thread and request it. Note that if it is a paid app, you may need to include a bounty so a script writer could purchase the app (read about the bounty system on the first page of the forum thread), or you can try to build a script yourself by following this walkthrough.

So in addition to increased application support, what enhancements have we seen to this app since last reported on it? The two biggest enhancements are probably the ability to back up the following:

  • The listing of your installed Homebrew apps and patches.  To back up and restore your homebrew packages, you need to save the list of those apps from within Preware.  To do this, go to Preware, select "Saved Package List" and click "Update" to save this listing. Then, just use Save/Restore to backup Preware to save that listing. When you do a restore at a later date, you can go back into Preware, select "Saved Package List" and then choose “Install All” to re-install all your homebrew packages
  • All your Launcher icons and icon locations. While official App Catalog apps should automatically be restored to their rightful place on your launcher pages, there was no way to save the placement of homebrew apps or icons that have been added to your launcher (e.g. "Add to Launcher" websites or contacts, or icons from the Launchpoints app, etc). Save/Restore has recently been updated to allow the savings and restoring of all these icons.

With this increased support, the process of completely restoring a webOS device has gotten a whole lot easier. However, it is very important that you follow a specific set of steps after a webOS Doctor or phone swap to ensure you do it right. Here is a good cheat-sheet for the process you need to follow both before and after you erase/swap your phone:

  1. Open Preware, swipe down from the top-left of the screen to bring down the Preware Application menu, select "Saved Package List" and click "Update"
  2. Open Save/Restore, select "Save Application Data" and click "Save Selected"
  3. Connect your phone to a computer, connect as a USB drive, and make a copy of the "saverestore" directory to your computer.  Also, make a copy of any data that you want to back up from the USB drive since that data is also not stored in your Palm backup
  4. After a doctor/phone swap, sign back into your Palm Profile, let all your App Catalog Apps reinstall, and then install Preware back on your phone.  Then, using Preware, install Save/Restore back on to your phone, too. (DO NOT USE webOS Quick Install to reinstall Save/Restore)
  5. Connect your phone to a computer, connect as a USB drive, and move your old copy of the "saverestore" directory back onto the phone, along with any other data you backed up in #3 above.
  6. Open Save/Restore, select "Restore Application data", select only Preware and click “Restore Selected”
  7. Open Preware, swipe down from the top-left of the screen to bring down the Preware Application menu, choose "Saved Package List" and click "Install All"
  8. For each app that you plan on restoring data to, open and close each app in order to initialize the cookies and databases for that app
  9. Open Save/Restore, choose "Restore Application data", click "Select All" or choose the apps you want to restore, and then click "Restore Selected"
  10. Immediately perform a Luna Restart

At this point, all your apps, patches and data should be back on your phone. If you run into an issues, please visit the Save/Restore thread and post your issues and the good folks at Webos Internals or other forums members will try to help you out.

We would also be remiss if we didn't mention the Pre Backup Utility app from forum member DrewPre. This app is designed to take full snapshots of pieces of the OS and restore it directly back to the phone. You can read more about this app here. While this can definitely be a useful app, it also has the potential to cause some issues with your phone. There is a great post from Rod Whitby of Webos-internals that tries to explain the difference. Both the Pre Backup Utility and the Save/Restore app provide a valuable service that is currently missing from webOS, but we will leave it up to you to decide which method of backing up you would prefer.