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Odd problem just started happening to my previously saved works

Submitted by NINTR on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 19:58

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I have an RCA Viking Pro tablet, and my OS is Android 5.0, though I'm not sure what else you may need to know about it.
My problem just started when I launched my DubScript App today. I tried to load up one of my previous scripts, and though it loads the formatted version, all of my typed text is gone. If I type ANYTHING AT ALL into the Write page, it will overwrite what was saved as the formatted version on the Read tab. I accidentally lost one of my works due to this, but luckily I had a copy saved as an email draft to myself. Still a scary thought. I tried copying and pasting my draft from my email, and while it worked while I had the file open, as soon as I saved and closed out of it, then returned to it, the text in the Write tab was gone again. It was also a rather strange issue that this problem seemed to be able to overlap multiple save files. I tried once again to paste in my draft to the Write tab, then save the screenplay. This time, however, I opened another screeplay. In the Read tab, the formatted version of my other, newly loaded screenplay could be read. But, swipe over to the Write tab, and the text was that of the previously opened work. If I were to save or swipe right again, my other screenplay would be overwritten.
Does anyone know what could be causing this problem? Should I uninstall and reinstall DubScript altogether or is this a more widespread issue? Please someone help me on this. Aside from this issue, I adore this app. It's made screenwriting a worry-free breeze until today. Now I am terrified I'm going to lose one or more of my scripts! Please help! Thanks in advance.

Hey there--

So first off thanks for the great and detailed note-- to try to figure out what's going on, I have a few quick questions and thoughts that could help narrow things down:

1. Are you using RC2 or the new RC12? Or something older? You can tell by going to "Help & Info" -> About DubScript.

2. Is there any chance your device is full? If so, you should see an error when you try to save, but just in case, this would be great to rule out.

3. Similarly, is there a chance your SD Card (if that's what your saving to) itself is corrupted? It couldn't hurt to check on a PC or another device to see if you get any kind of errors.

4. I wonder if something is wrong with the "paste" command that is screwing things up- does the error only exhibit itself following a giant paste? Perhaps somehow you are running out of memory and the system is purging the contents of the "Write" tab in order to save memory before the content is saved? This is just a theory... If I understand correctly, you're saying you do this:

A. paste something large into the write tab.
B. Swipe, and the result is as expected in the read tab.
C. Swipe BACK, and the result is gone from the write tab?

Is that correct? If so, I wonder if it could be a memory type of error. Does it occur only after a paste or does it occur consistently? Is it with ginormous text only or would it do this with a one-page script?

FWIW in version RC12, f you try to load a file that is very very large, DubScript will warn you before loading it. Have you ever run into such an error (assuming you're using RC12)?

5. Just to be clear here-- are you saying that somehow an OLDER script will reappear in the Read side, even after you've loaded in a new script? Like it's skipping or reverting back to an older file in the Read side? I ask because what happens normally when you first load a file is it will save a pre-formatted copy of your formatted file in your app area so that when you re-start the app later, it doesn't have to recalculate the formatting and can just quickly show you the last script you had read. So if you're loading a new script, quitting, and then coming back seeing a script from TWO versions ago, it's making me think maybe your new cached formatted script (cached in the settings) isn't being saved over the older one, which may possibly be the result of being unable to update your settings-- this could be a full drive or maybe corruption on your user data partition. Don't panic-- it may not be that.. but you may want to verify that you are able to save/restore settings on other apps without any issues.

You can go to Settings->Storage and make sure you're not full. Also, if you're an advanced Android user, you can even take a look at the logs via an app like Catlog to see if there are any helpful errors that might give insight as to what's going on.

6. I'm a little confused by this bit: If I type ANYTHING AT ALL into the Write page, it will overwrite what was saved as the formatted version on the Read tab

Normally you'll type on the write side, flip to the read side and it gets formatted and appears on the Read side. So it's normal for the write side to "overwrite" the read side with the new stuff you've written, right? But you are saying that what you write something, it will overwrite the read side. I'm a bit confused-- What are you expecting to happen? Sorry, I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding, or maybe you meant to say "write" instead of read or vice-versa in that sentence?

7. I would say to definitely try installing/reinstalling just to be sure your app or settings didn't get corrupted. Also as mentioned be sure that you have ample room on your data and sdcard storage for your settings and scripts to be saved...

8. A quick note-- RC12 and higher should also do a local back ups every time you save. So if you look under "Script Recovery", you can find all the backups. You can change the number of backups saved in DubScript's settings. Adjust to fit your available space.

Also, RC12 lets you save to the cloud such as box.net or to Google Drive, which may be a good offsite way to save stuff. I believe Google Drive will ALSO keep something like a month's worth of history on all your updates. You can also keep doing those "Share" commands to send your script periodically to your email or another location--which I'm glad to hear you were doing as well.

Please keep me in the loop as to how it's coming! Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear DS is making the writing easy... worst case scenario-- you can always write the scripts on ANY text editor and just use DubScript when you need to format or convert to another file type. That's the beauty of writing in plain text. You can write anywhere on any device :)

Thanks again for writing,

R

Update-- the site was down for a few hours. Back up now :)

Alright, I'll take a look at everything and get back with you, probably tomorrow evening. I need to find the time to actually respond with everything you need! Thanks for responding! I'll be in touch soon!

Alright, I'm going to try to answer everything as bst I can!

1. I am currently running Version: 1.0 RC12

2. My device is definitely not full; I only use it for writing and have only used roughly 1/4 of internal storage.

3. I don't have an SD Card

4. It is not only an issue following a paste. It just started happening to all of my saved screenplays. As I stated originally, it deleted everything from the Write tab. I only pasted into it in an attempt to rectify the problem, though it didn't fix it. So the issue isn't with pasting; it seems to be a problem with the actual app itself not picking up the text from the Write tab, only the Read one.

5. That's not really the issue; the problem is that if I paste a screenplay into the write tab, then save it and open a new one, the write tab retains the previous file's writing, and swiping to the read tab overwrites the new file with the old file.

6. Like I said in my original post, the problem is this. When I load a previously saved file, the Read side contains my screenplay. However, swapping to the Write tab, all text is gone, only filled with the placeholder text that is in a blank screenplay. If I type even one character in over the placeholder text, then swipe to the Read tab, it will overwrite the screenplay in the Read tab with the single character from the Write tab.

7. If I uninstall/reinstall DubScript, will my device still save the .fountain screenplay documents I have saved, or will they be deleted with DubScript during the uninstall?

8. Even the script recoverys are lacking any text in the Write tab. I lost a number of projects a few years ago to a virus on my desktop, and ever since I have been unbelievably dilligent about backing up an saving my stuff. I have any and all things I write saved in at least 5-10 places. :)

I'll wait to hear back from you before I uninstall/reinstall the software. Thanks for the help.

Thanks for that... Terrific response!

5. So are you saying that somehow an older script's contents reappears in the WRITE side? Like somehow the write side is being super flakey-- it's sometimes disappearing, and sometimes old scripts will appear there? And this happens only after you fully quit out of the app and restart it? When you put it in the background and then bring it back? Or all the time?

And, just to be 100% sure, when you say you're starting a new script-- just to be clear, you're going to the menu, saying "new screenplay" and creating a new file with a new name... correct?

6. I think I'm starting to understand--as far as moving to the read side is somehow wiping out the right side... It SHOULD be the case that if you write even a single character on the write side (if you make the write side a single character) that when you swipe to the read side, it should replace whatever was there with the contents on the "write" side-- that is, the write side is what determines the read side. But it should NOT be the case that if you have stuff in the write side, and then flip to the read side and back, that the write side then disappears. If this is what's happening, something really strange is going on...

7. So to answer this excellent question-- let me break it down a bit:

A. first of all, you should definitely make an off-device backup before you reinstall the app, just for safety's sake. I'm a big believer in doing backups-- Because the texts are plain text, you can do this by copying the text into an email to yourself, or you can use an app like Signal to securely transmit it to your desktop. Or you can copy the files to Google Drive, or you could use a USB cable to copy it to your computer. There's a million ways... so use 'em all :) Always good practice-- you never know when your phone will get dropped in the toilet, misplaced, etc. New in RC12, as I mentioned, you can also save to cloud services. In fact, you CAN make Google Drive or another cloud service your primary save location as you edit (which I also believe will archive a save history for like a month or so), though I prefer to keep things mostly on the device (saves battery, speeds up saves, and is more private) and then back up to my own computer every now and again. But however you want to do it is great.

B. All backed up? Great... so here's how RC12 (the latest version) works as far as the files go: When you choose to save the file locally, DubScript saves your plain text files on your device's external storage in whatever folder you chose to create it-- so if you're saving it, say, in the root directory of the external storage, that external area should stick around even after you wipe or reinstall DubScript. In other words, your files are not saved in the private "internal app" storage space. This was to make it really easy for you to access your files from other apps-- say, a File Manager to move the file around or rename or duplicate it or delete it-- or a text editor to make changes or really any other internet programs (email/ftp/etc.) that can deal with a text file to transfer it or whatever you like.

In contrast to that public external area, what SHOULD hopefully always be saved in the app's own private storage area in RC12+ are the device backups-- the emergency backups that are made every time the file is saved (whether to external storage or to the cloud). You can view these backups (and the restore feature is available) on the "Write" side under the "Recover Scripts" menu item. These backups are meant to provide an emergency measure should something goes wrong with the regular save-- say you accidentally erase everything and then save on top of it, or maybe you forget the password to the cloud service you were using. So the on-device backup is your go-to if you need to recover from your history. The number of these backups is configurable in the settings. I believe the default is something like the last 50 saves.

Anyway, the point is that when you wipe the app, any normal files you've made to the device external storage (or to the cloud, obviously) should remain intact and unaffected, but you WILL lose the emergency backups in "Recover Scripts" that are stored along with the app itself. You'll obviously also lose any other settings the app has, as it will become a completely fresh installation.

So, this is a long way of saying that you can delete the app and shouldn't lose the .fountain (or .txt if that's how you named them) files in external storage, but you will lose your "saved file history". As I say, I advise you to already have an off-device backup just to be on the paranoid side (and for your own ease of mind).

If you give reinstalling a shot, do let me know if you continue to have problems. In none of my testing did I encounter any situation where the read side would spontaneously disappear like that-- it's very odd. Your version 5.0 of Android is relatively new and hasn't exhibited this problem either to my knowledge.

If the problem persists and is repeatable, do you think you could make a video of it happening? Android 5.0 I believe has the ability to record your screen to help with debugging... Maybe I'd notice some other odd behavior that might explain what's happening. For what it's worth, DubScript's text editor is a slightly modified version of the native text editor in Android-- it has some extras to help make it easy to add characters and such, but I don't remember any new changes have been made to it since version RC2, which was the latest from Nov 2015 until RC12. The only other changes that may have affected that text area were new official peices (libraries) provided by Google... perhaps one introduced a bug? If that is the case, I'll check if there are new updates from Google-- perhaps it's been fixed.

But first I'd like to know whether a reinstall fixes the issue. Do a back up (for safety), give a reinstall a shot, and let me know. And one other thought-- not that I think this would account for the problem, but just to eliminate possibilities-- the scripts that you are writing end with the extension ".fountain" or ".txt", correct? If they don't, and you still have the problem, could you use a File Manager app to rename the file, adding .fountain to the end and see if it makes any difference at all? It's a long shot, but figure why not give it a try...

One other thought-- do you have Settings->Writer->Real Time Styles turned on? I'm not aware of any bug related to this, but making the style appear does take more memory than not doing it, so maybe turning it off (if it's on) might have some effect? To that end, do any of the settings make a difference one way or another?

Thanks again for your assistance with this! Very strange behavior... would love to figure out what's going on here...

R

I think part of my issue is getting lost in translation here, as it's difficult to explain without video, which my tablet doesn't support, unfortunately.
I wanted to re-explain this using some examples.
Let's say I have Script A and Script B. I open Script A, and it pops up on the Read tab. However, if I swipe to the Write tab, it's blank with only the placeholder text. So, I go to another place where I have saved Script A, and copy and paste it into the Write tab, or I type a few letters into the Write tab. I save Script A, then open Script B, which opens on the Read tab. But if I swipe to the Write tab, the text from Script A is still present, and swiping to the Read tab overwrites Script B with the text of Script A.
Also, even if I paste in text and save the script, then reopen the script at a later time, the Write tab is again blank.
I will try the uninstall/reinstall method as soon as I get the chance. I've had some family drama lately that's eaten up my spare time.
Cheers!

Thanks for the re-explanation :) I'm sort of playing it through in my head. Script A loads into the read side but the write side is blank. You save it, open script B... and then script A is still in the write tab..

It sounds then as though the script is loading, rendering, but somehow never actually "making it" to the Write area-- and whatever was there previously is remaining there. So when you first start the script the write area is let's say blank by default, you load the script, it's rendered into the "read" area but write is still blank. You manually put something in the write area, load script B... it also renders, but the content doesn't make it to the write area again, so you still see the content from script A...

I'm trying to account for how this can happen, since the content of the write area (A "edittext view" in Android-ese) is used as the "source" for rendering into the read area. So when you load the new content in, it should first replace the write area with the new text, then use it to render the read area. It sounds like it's successfully doing the latter part, but not the former.

When you can, please do try uninstall/reinstall and see if this fixes things and let me know!

Thanks,
R

Alright, so the uninstall didn't work, unfortunately. I was hoping it would. The problem is still persisting. And I wanted to add that it's happening any and all times I access the app, not just occasionally or when I do a specific thing. I hope you can find out where the bug is in the app. Perhaps it's related to the tablet I'm using, and there's a simple patch to fix it.

You said you had Android 5.0-- there was a screen recording function built-in to Lollipop, which you can use with one of the recording apps . I believe it saves as an .mp4 movie file.

If I could see this in action-- it might help me identify the cause of this really strange issue. None of the devices I've tested have this behavior so it would be really helpful to get a "live" example of it happening.. One request, if you are unable to get the screen record-- if you can look at the device's log (using catlog) and see if any errors come up related to DS, it may help identify the issue, especially if it's one introduced by your particular device... maybe some kind of message might hold the solution.. I'm not sure what I may see.

Another off-the-top-of-my-head thought, and I'm guessing this probably isn't it but can't hurt to ask-- you don't have any funky settings turned on relating to memory settings under "Settings"->"Developer settings" do you? Some of the experimental modes developers use might be causing odd behavior like this if they were turned on.

Also, are you updated to the latest version? I see that marshmallow (Android 6.0) is available.

I see that Google has released a new version of their build tools this week. Assuming that nothing else works, I'll generate a brand new build for you to try to see if it has the same issue...

Thanks again,

R

Sorry I haven't had a chance to check to see if my tablet will allow me to record what is happening. My grandmother has had some health issues and this has taken a bit of abackburner. Have you had any further developments on your end? I checked out all of the stuff you mentioned, and I don't have any special settings on my memory or any errors relating to DubScript. Hoping you've had a bit of time to maybe find out what the issue is. Thanks again.

Hey NINTR,

Thanks for checking in. I've taken a look and don't see anything unusual with the code that would account for disappearing content, but that said there was a big (> 1 GB) update from Google that includes new code building tools, and an update to the Support Library, which is code that involves backward-compatible support for older devices and conceivably had some fixes that maybe (?) addressed the issue?

I'm going to do a fresh build of essentially the same code as in RC12 (which will be called RC13). I'll send it to the beta channel, so if you subscribe for the beta channel you should get as soon as I upload it in the next few days.

Best wishes for your grandmother and hope to hear back soon,

R

I am experiencing the same problem. If I load an old, saved script to make changes or edit it, I see the script on the Read side, but if I swipe over to the Write side my script isn't there. I see the default text of a new script directing me to write over the top of this text. I can swipe back to the Read side and see my script if I don't type anything. When I go to the Write side and type something and then swipe to the Read side my script is gone and whatever I just typed appears. I am not able to edit an old, saved script. I am using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone.

Thanks.. Which version of Android? Also, where is the file located (local storage? Cloud?) And can you confirm the file ends in .fountain ?

I am using Android 4.4.4. The file is on the phone's local hard drive (not an SD Card) and it is a .fountain file.

Okay this is so confusing because now it's on a 4.4.4 and a 5.0. Completely different devices. And I can't reproduce it. So maybe it's something about the FILE itself, not the device?

Do you experience the problem with every file? Here's an experiment to try. Try the sample Fountain file BIG FISH as provided on the fountain site.

Are you able to load this one normally? If so, then maybe there is something about the file that you two have in common, and we can narrow it down (size, some kind of unusual characters or encoding.. etc) I can't imagine what that might be, but if we can at least say "the file is the issue" it will help us narrow down the issue and hopefully identify it.

Does the Big Fish script file work?

Thx!

R

Update: Also, I just want to make sure of the language your device is set to in case that has something to do with the issue-- you speak English- is that your default system language setting?

Another Update: Also, can you join the beta channel? I'm going to put up another build with the new libraries shortly...

Yet another update: Are you able to post a logcat (that is, a system log)? If there's some sort of strange error, it may appear there. I have just tested the new build on an emulated 5.0 system and a 4.4 system and both work 100% of the time, where I loaded, modified, saved, and reloaded files several times on both devices. I'm going to do that new build, and we'll see if it makes a difference...

Okay, RC13, which is a newer build, is up. See if it fixes anything and please let me know! To try it, sign up for the beta channel in the play store.

Thanks,

R

Update: 2/13/17-- Just following up to see if RC13 made a difference. Thanks!

Google released a few new library updates, so i've just now released RC14 to match it. Please let me know if this fixes the issue!

R

I've updated the beta channel to RC18, which contains a bunch of new improvements. Does it fix the issue described in this thread?

R

Is it possible that under Settings->Developer Options you have accidentally turned on "Don't Keep Activities"? If that's the case, does turning this off fix things?