By Nicole Yankelovich
Something must be in the air. In the past week, I have received three separate reports of lost Wonderland data. I highly recommend that everyone who is running a Wonderland server on which people are building original content institute a regular backup routine. Relying on your internet server provider to do this for you is a formula for disaster. The rest of this post describes three ways to create Wonderland backups.
Back up the Wonderland Server Directory
In the user directory where you set up your Wonderland server, there is a dot file called:
Using your favorite standard backup technique, back up this entire directory on a computer other than your Wonderland server. You can do this nightly, weekly, or monthly depending on how often changes are made on your server. This will back up absolutely everything you need to restore all your Wonderland data. If disaster strikes, as it did with one community member whose ISP was attacked by a hacker, you will be able to do a clean Wonderland install and then copy your backed up server directory to replace the default one. All your snapshots, user directories, artwork, custom modules and configuration modifications will be restored.
Create and Save Snapshots
Snapshots are a mechanism for saving the state of your Wonderland world. Instructions for creating and restoring snapshots is provided in the Manage Worlds section of the Open Wonderland Server Admin Console Guide. The snapshots themselves are small XML files that contain references to artwork and other data stored in the various user directories. These are handy for restoring the state of the world under normal conditions. Saving snapshots alone, however, is not enough to restore a world if you lose the data in the user directories.
Whenever you have a snapshot that’s important to you or that you want to move to another server, you can create a zip bundle that includes all the artwork, apps, and object properties by using a utility script called save-region.sh. The script is available here:
When you create a zip bundle using this technique, be sure to save it on a computer other than the Wonderland server machine.
Create and Save Subsnapshots
As described in a recent blog post, subsnapshots allow you to save portions of Wonderland worlds. The advantage of subsnapshots is that content developers without system administration access can create these backups. A subsnapshot creates a .wlcontent zip file that bundles all the artwork, apps, and object properties included in a “container” or parent object. Assuming you have the Subsnapshot module installed, creating a subsnapshot simply involves right clicking on a container object and selecting “export” from the context menu. The resulting .wlcontent file can be stored on your client machine.
Unlike snapshots, which allow you to save your entire world no matter how much you have spread out the content, you can only make a subsnapshot of a single area. For example, to back up the default combined world, you would have to create six subsnapshots, one for each space.
Put a Plan in Place Today
Please do not wait for the worst to happen. If you don’t already have a backup plan in place, create one right now. This could be as simple as putting a monthly reminder in your calendar to create subsnapshots of all your new work. If you have system administration skills, then write a script to back up your .wonderland-server directory on a regular schedule.