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V8 -- Recover Using Version History

As you will see in the steps below, CommonSpot provides a mechanism for you to restore prior content. At this time, such restoration to a prior version must be done manually, one element at a time: there is no method available that puts the entire page back to the way it was. Restoration includes only element states that were published; cosmetic changes that occur immediately, without having to be submitted for publication, including all changes done through the "managed" interface, are not available in the Version History, and so cannot be restored.

In prior versions of CommonSpot, the use of the Version History feature to recover previous content could not be relied upon to function as expected. Therefore, until we have accumulated more positive experience with the current version of CommonSpot, we urge you always to make a copy, using a different filename, of the current version of the page before you attempt to use Version History to recover a prior version of the page's content. This will preserve the current version only -- the version history is not copied along with the file, only the current version. If your efforts succeed, then do your housekeeping, and delete that saved copy of the page.

  1. Inspect the version history. You may use the check-boxes and click at the lower-left to view visual differences, and you may click on the "view comment history" links to see if anything useful is concealed there.

  2. Once you have identified a likely candidate for having better content than the current version, move your mouse to the left column, and click on the date and time (boldfaced and underlined) of the version you want to view.

  3. In the upper-right corner, if you have the pencil icon, select "Work on this Page"; if you have a blue "X" in the upper-right, then choose "Work on this Page" from the View menu on the content-spanning toolbar.

  4. Observe the prior version without the authoring mode tool icons, except that, for each element that is different, there is a "revert" icon at the upper-left corner of the element. Examine each such element. If you click on the "revert" icon, the resulting menu will include a visual differences choice, to compare the current and the old versions side-by-side. If the old version is better than the current version, for whatever reason, you may choose to re-activate it by clicking on the "revert" icon, and choosing "Revert Content" from the resulting menu.

  5. This will bring up a "Restore Version" lightbox. Click Restore to confirm restoration. Doing so will put you back into the current version, but with that element now being "Work-in-Progress" that if published would restore the prior version of that element. The Version History display will now include a non-published work-in-progress version at the top.

  6. You can repeat steps 1 through 5 to revert other elements, one at a time, to prior versions, accumulating work-in-progress in the current version. You may choose to revert one element to a prior version from one date, and a different element to a prior version from a different date.

    If you want to restore the page to a state in which an element that currently exists was not present, then delete that element from the current version.

  7. Once you have restored the content to the state you want, click on any yellow work-in-progress icon and submit the entire page for publication, which will install this as a newest version, available in the Version History. Be sure to include appropriate comments; usually it is helpful to include "reverting [element] to version of [date and time]".

  8. After the change is published, inspect the Version History in the left column; observe that each version is listed with comments and the date and time that it was published, but that there is no identification for any version as to which other, prior version(s) it was copied from, if any. This is one of the reasons why it is particularly wise to form the habit of providing comments when you submit a page for publication!

    In the example illustration below, content from the June 1, 2003, version was restored on August 20, 2003: