First, I must say, I love starting my day with a new version of ForeUI .. I’m just about to install 2.27.

That said, I must take issue with the recent ‘enhancement’ that automatically clears a DHTML directory before export.

Here’s a quick story of how my week ended last week:

I had to rush a prototype for our development team. We have a local intranet where we host all of our specs, and when we post our live specs, we reference them from our network, the structure of which looks something like this:



…..[ref image1]

…..[ref image2]

…..[other “really” important documents related to this spec]


……….[DHTML output from ForeUI]


………. [DHTML output from ForeUI]


……….[DHTML output from ForeUI]

……….etc …

All of my research documents, screen-flow images, and other essential documentation for each spec lives in the high-level folder. I then export each version of my prototype to its own sub-folder, and update my link in the live spec.

Rushing to make my deadline, when exporting my most recent DHTMl mockup, I didn’t notice that it was the /spec1 which was highlighted and not the /prototype4 folder which I had just created to hold my new version.

I pressed OK.

And, to my horror, I saw the list of all my critical documents that were being blown away by the export.

Granted, this was operator error, because I was the one who clicked OK, but, had this happened only one version ago (Ok, now 2) the end result would have been a slightly messy spec folder. Instead, ForeUI nuked everything ..

I understand this was a user request .. but, given the potential destructive nature of this feature, could we please at least have it as a preference?

Because, I’d be one who left that option disabled.

I’d rather not be lazy and spend the extra 5 seconds to clear my own directory than run the risk of loosing all my critical information with a single click ..

Fortunately, it looks like IT was able to provide me with the latest backup of that directory .. but, I’m still down a few hours of work, and I missed my deadline because my spec disappeared from the Intranet after all the files were deleted ..

So, pleeeease make this enhancement a preference so we can decide if we want to use it or not ..

Thanks for listening ..

can’t wait to go play with the new multi-menu tools now 😉

Update: I was wrong about IT having restored my directory .. so, I’m actually down days instead of hours ..

Please help save me from my own stupidity and let me turn this option off .. it’s way too dangerous .. and I’m not too happy about how much work was destroyed in a matter of seconds ..


8 answers

Hi Jeremy, I’m sorry to know that.

I understand your feeling and I am thinking back this “enhancement”. The reason that we clean the output directory first is because we found the old generated script files may affact the new ones and bring up some strange issues in simulation (which is very hard to debug).

We could add a preference option for this case, but maybe there is a better way: only remove the files and directories that generated by ForeUI, since ForeUI should know the folder structure of generated DHTML, it should be possible to make a “safe clean up”.


HI Xavier,

Thanks for the quick reply.

I would suggest that you leave the directory structure exactly as is .. and only delete script files that might be problematic.

The reason I say this is that my spec folder also has an /images folder, even with your proposed change, ForeUI wouldn’t know the difference between its own images folder and mine ..

I understand the need to clean up files that will break the simulation, and I’m all for letting ForeUI quietly delete those in the background .. because that’s something I’m never going to notice ..

But, as I build my directory structures, I have expectations of what should appear where .. and, if my operator error causes me to export the simulation into the wrong folder, than its my problem to clean it up .. but, ForeUI should never delete folders or files that it doesn’t know explicitly have been created by the DHTML export ..

so, maybe a solution is to export a .js/XML file into the parent directory of every DHTML export which tracks the content of the export directory

then, as part of any DHTML export, you search for those files, and only overwrite/replace ones that you have listed.

If you don’t see the .js/XML files, but also see that the folder is not empty, return an error message saying

“This directory is not empty, do you still want to export to this location?”

or something like that ..

I haven’t put much thought into it, but the end result is that an export of this nature should be aware of all the files it is impacting ..

that, or be restrictive, and only allow export into a new/empty directory ..

thanks for condisering options … i’d be curioius to hear what solutions other users might have …



Maybe ForeUI can check if the target directory first, if it is empty, ask user whether to clean the target directory. User can pick one from:
Yes: clean the folder and generate files to the folder.
No: do not clean the folder and generate files to the folder.
Cancel: do nothing and give up the exporting.

  1. @Charles: I would be happy with this solution, but I'm not sure it fully satisfies Xavier's need to automatically delete script files that might cause errors with the simulation. So, I'd be happy with a mix of the two:

    Provide the prompts as Charles suggests, and, if I select "No, do not clean" .. you can still silently clean out the script files without telling me, as long as you leave the folder structure, and other files intact ..

    Would that work?


Thanks for the suggestions. We also discuss this topic internally and realize that there will not be a perfect “safe clean up”, what ForeUI can detect is the folder structure of the target directory, it may make wrong decision if the target directory contains folders with the same name (e.g. the “images” folder). So to be safer, ForeUI should ask user for this.

Now we are inclined to this behavior:

If the target folder is empty (no any folder and file), no message will popup, ForeUI will export DHTML silently.

If any folder or file is found in the folder, ForeUI will show message “The target folder is not empty, do you need a clean up before exporting?”. User can select from:

Clean Up and Export: will try to do a safe clean up, only the “images”, “scripts” and “styles” folders will be cleaned up. Then ForeUI will continue exporting.

Export Only: will export directly, no clean up will be perfomed.

Cancel: will do nothing and abort the export.


Sounds good! Can I have it yesterday?

That would be great. I appreciate your fast response on this.

I’ve been able to rebuild my critical work, so I’m up and running again …

I’ll be more carefull until this new enhancement appears 😉




Un-freaking-believable. Truly unbelievable. I’m playing with a demo copy of foreUI and made the mistake of selecting the MyDocuments folder for an export of DHTML. Holy crap. VERY annoyed with ForeUI right now.

Steven Chalmers

  1. yikes, that's pretty bad .. and unfortunately, the mistake is too easy to make ..

    Xavier, I'd actually recommend that you pull version 2.27 right away .. even if you have to do a quick new build with the old Save DHTML behaviour ... in the long run, i'd like to see the changes you suggested .. but, i think a quick fix is in order .. this could be pretty disasterous for some users .. in fact .. i might just downgrade my version, just so i can protect myself from myself ;-)


We have implemented the changes mentioned above, and it will be available in the new version on next Monday.


The enhancement is included in V2.30


This question is now closed