[How To] Implement a Stuffit-based Nightly Archive System


The users whose Macs I administer often ask me if I can retrieve a slightly older copy of a file they've been working with. For example, on Wednesday morning they might be asked to restore a paragraph they were told to delete on Tuesday. Ideally, they'd like to be able to bring back that file "as it existed on Monday night" before the paragraph was deleted. My RsyncX based backup system doesn't permit that sort of recovery, but I wanted to give them that functionality since it's something they often need. So I set about to "invent" a nightly archive system.

What this system does, essentially, is scan the computer for any files that have changed since the previous day. It builds a list of those files and feeds them to Stuffit Deluxe, asking Stuffit to compress them as much as possible and store the resulting archive file in a specific place on the system. It keeps the last 30 days' worth of changed files, throwing away those older than 30 days.

Now, any time a Mac user needs an older copy of a file, all they need to do is go to the archive directory on their computer, open an archive from "around the time" they want, and extract the file using Stuffit, which they're very familiar with.

This script is pretty rough, grabbing a lot of files that the users might not really care about, but it does the trick. If you can spare the disk space and need this capability, the script could save you some programming time.

As with any freebie, use this at your own risk.

You can find the script on my web site at: