Create a blog backup with IFTTT and Dropbox

My colleague TJ Luoma inspried this post in the TUAW offices earlier this week. I thought I’d share a version of his idea with all of you.

Anyone who’s lost blog posts knows that particular pain. Database backups are important and shouldn’t be overlooked. But simpler plans can also be very helpful when worse comes to worst. Here’s a simple IFTTT recipe to create a plain text backup of every new post in Dropbox. It’s bare-bones for sure but still useful and could save you a lot of hassle.

The idea is to have IFTTT monitor your blog for  new posts. When it finds one, it makes a plain text copy in a Dropbox folder of your choosing, including the path to any images. Let’s set it up.

Set up

Before you begin, log into IFTTT and enable the Feed channel and Dropbox channel. Also, make a destination folder in your Dropbox account. Once that’s done, follow these steps:

  1. Create A Recipe.
  2. The “If this then that” prompt appears. Click “This.”
  3. A grid of trigger channel appears. This is the condition that must exist to prompt the next step. Click Feed.
  4. Two options appear. Click New Feed Item. This will cause the next step to fire every time you publish a new post.
  5. Paste your blog’s RSS address into the field. Click Create Trigger.
  6.  The “If this then that” prompt reappears with our feed action in place of “this.” Click “that.”
  7. The Action menu appears. Click Dropbox.
  8. Click Append to a Text File. This will add the new post to a single file. Once that file reaches 2 MB, a new one will be created.
  9. Enter the path to your destination folder and the name of the plain text document in there (a new one will be created if you leave that field blank).
  10. Click Create Action. Give your recipe a name and click Create Recipe.

Why Plain Text?

That’s it! Now, whenever you create a new blog post, it will be saved as a plain text file in your Dropbox account. Why plain text? David Sparks answers that question more eloquently than I could:

“There’s something to be said for the use of plain text files. Text is simple. Text files are easy to read on any computer running any operating system and don’t require any proprietary word processor to interpret. Even more important, text files can be read by humans. Keeping your writings in text makes them digitally immortal.

Moreover, text is internet friendly. The files are small and can jump among connected devices with poor connections like hopped up Disney faeries. It is really easy to work with your text files on any device from anywhere.”

If you ever find yourself recovering lost posts, you’ll be glad they’re in a simple format that you can work with from almost any machine. Have fun with this recipe and let me know if/how you use/modify it.

Dolly Drive Family Plan

Dolly Drive allows Time Machine to behave just like Time Machine, except that it sends backups to the Dolly Drive servers as opposed to a drive on your desk. Let’s say you’re at a meeting in the field, only to realize that an important file is corrupt or missing entirely. If it lives on an external drive back in your home or office, you’re out of luck. Dolly Drive lets you restore it from the cloud, using Time Machine’s familiar UI, getting you back in business.

The Dolly Drive Family Plan lets you back up multiple Macs (the number depends on the plan you’ve purchased) to a single account, which is great for households with more than one machine. For example, my wife and I each have a laptop. Other families might parent/student computers while some individuals own a desktop and a laptop. The Family Plan lets you create off-site backups of each via Apple’s Time Machine. Here’s how.

Once you’ve purchased a Family Plan (pricing follows), the account holder becomes the administrator. From there you log into your account online and create a new user, entering that person’s name, temporary password, email address and more. Most important is the storage allotment set aside for that user; assign what you wish.

Your new user will receive an email confirmation. Choose a new password, install Dolly Drive, login and get started. You can monitor each account on the summary page for information like allocated storage space, username, status (active vs. Pending) and creation date. You can also edit account details.Pricing

Dolly Drive offers several family plans, starting with the Small plan that offers 250 GB of storage at just $7/mo (paying annually gives you a bit of a break) up to the Power plan which offers 8 TB of storage and starts at $198/mo.

I’ve been a happy Dolly Drive customer for years now, and am happy to have a way to easily create remote bakups for the two Macs in our house. Let me say good work to the folks at Dolly Drive.