Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Recovering Lost Post Data

I recently typed out a long, thoughtful response in a textarea. I clicked submit, like I've done millions of times, and I got the dreaded "session expired" error message. This happens very, very rarely, but it's devastating when it does. Creating long & thoughtful responses isn't something that comes naturally for me. I crossed my fingers and clicked back. No luck, web 2.0 dynamically created text boxes ensured Chrome had no chance to preserve my editing state.

My first reaction was: I guess I'm not responding after all. Then it occurred to me, DevTools must have my data somewhere, right? Lucky for me, the answer was yes.

There might be easier ways, this is what worked for me:
  • open DevTools
  • go to the "Network" tab.
  • look for the row with the method POST.
    • If you don't see a POST row, try refreshing the page. With any luck you'll get a repost confirmation dialog, giving you some hope that your data is still around. (You'll want to allow the data repost)
  • click on the POST row, and scroll down till you see "Form Data". If you've gotten this far, hopefully you'll find your data in clear text and able to be copied.
The examples from this post are from following the instructions above and logging in to twitter.com. If you've ever lost post data in the past, you may want to give these directions a dry-run now.
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