The perils of proprietary formats

Posted on Thu 04 May 2017 in Articles • 1 min read

A few days ago, I went looking for an old world-building project I created with VoodooPad. I found it but unfortunately I could not get the file to open. Fortunately, I had exported the files to HTML several years ago, so I didn't lose any work.

The reason I wanted to open it in the first place was that I was planning to write a post on world building with personal wikis. For a long time, VoodooPad was the gold standard but since its original creator, Gus Mueller, sold it to Plausible Labs it's been abandoned and the promise of a Version 6 release is basically vapour-ware.

VoodooPad serves as a painful lesson of the dangers of proprietary software and especially proprietary formats. Sometime in its history, the file format was migrated from an application bundle (like Scrivener) to binary. This was done, from memory, to support real-time synching with Dropbox but the downside is that it makes it almost impossible to recover data.

I'll still write that post on using personal wikis, but can't in good conscience consider, much less recommend, VoodooPad as a solution. It's a real shame because in it's day it was an outstanding piece of software.

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