I have a page in a web app that displays a large amount of tabular data regarding certain resources. With this release, in addition to standard columns, there can be an arbitrary number of user-defined fields that are set and show up as columns in the same table.

You can hide or show individual columns, but this isn't persisted across logins. Since the addition of user-defined fields, I'm adding the ability to save 'views', which is basically just a list of displayed columns and the sort order.

At first I was thinking of having three actions for saving/loading.

  1. Load saved view (select list of options)
  2. Save current view (+ textbox to enter name for new view)
  3. Update current saved view (if the current view was loaded from a saved view)

but now I'm not sure if that's intuitive, or when if once view is 'loaded', changes to the currently displayed columns should just be updated back to the saved view automatically.

Any opinions about which is better?

I've rambled a bit, but hopefully that's fairly clear.

1 Answer 1


I really don't think after loading a view you should automatically save changes back to the saved view. Otherwise (after loading a view) there is no way to change the view without affecting something - you'd end up saving your view as a dummy view so that you can tinker without affecting your favourite view (for example).

Save options should be:

  1. save last loaded view
  2. save + filename if never loaded a view yet
  3. save as if you have loaded a view but want to save the current view as a new one instead of overwriting the last loaded one

The only thing you might want to do automatically is either 1. load a favourite view on start (choose one default start-view from list of all views) 2. load/reinstate the same view as when you last quit - which involves a hidden auto-view

1 obviously overrides 2 there. You'd need to be able to change or clear the default though.

You'd also need to manage views that reference columns that are no longer available (ignore them, update the saved view to account for missing columns, whatever...)

And... manage columns which are for new user defined fields which are not referenced in a view which gets loaded (add to the end, add to the beginning, mark them unsorted, whatever...)

And then you wish you'd never started...

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