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Create `backup' layer to enable auto backup behavior in spacemacs #11903

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Just for now

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#+TITLE: backup layer

* Table of Contents :TOC_4_gh:noexport:
- [[#description][Description]]
- [[#features][Features:]]
- [[#install][Install]]
- [[#acknowledgments][Acknowledgments]]

* Description
This layer adds support for automatic backups.

Emacs default behavior is [[][to backup a file first time it is saved]]. This behavior
results in a lot of =file_name.ext~= files being automatically created. Many
people find this annoying and spacemacs turns the auto backup off.

This layer re-enables and extends the automatic backups.

** Features:

- per-session backups

Similar to emacs default behavior, make a backup first time it is saved from
emacs session.

- per-save backups

Make a backup every time file is saved.

- better defaults

Do not clutter working directories with the backups:

- Store per-session backup in =~/.emacs.d/.cache/backups/per-session=
(customize variable =backup-per-session-directory= to override).
- Store per-save backup in =~/.emacs.d/.cache/backups/per-save= (customize
variable =backup-per-save-directory= to override).

Sane defaults for the backup files:

- Backup files under version control.
- Keep the last 10 per-save backups and last 3 per-session backups.
- Backup by copying.

* Install
To use this configuration layer, add it to your =~/.spacemacs=. You will need to
add =backup= to the existing =dotspacemacs-configuration-layers= list in this

* Acknowledgments

Inner workings of this layer is based on description by @GregorySchwartz in
syl20bnr/spacemacs#8947. Which is in turn inspired by a [[][StackOverflow discussion]]
on the subject.

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;;; config.el --- backup layer config file for Spacemacs.
;; Copyright (c) 2012-2019 Sylvain Benner & Contributors
;; Author: Igor Kupczyński <>
;; URL:
;; This file is not part of GNU Emacs.
;;; License: GPLv3

;; based on

;;; Variables:
(defvar backup-per-save-directory "~/.emacs.d/.cache/backups/per-save"
"Directory to store per-save backups")

(defvar backup-per-session-directory "~/.emacs.d/.cache/backups/per-session"
"Directory to store per-session backups")

;;; Defaults:
(setq make-backup-files t) ;; Enable backups

(setq version-control t ;; Use version numbers for backups.
kept-new-versions 10 ;; Number of newest versions to keep.
kept-old-versions 0 ;; Number of oldest versions to keep.
delete-old-versions t ;; Don't ask to delete excess backup versions.
backup-by-copying t) ;; Copy all files, don't rename them.
(setq vc-make-backup-files t) ;; Do backups also for version controlled files

(setq backup-directory-alist
`(("" . ,backup-per-save-directory)))

;;; config.el ends here
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;;; funcs.el --- backup layer funcs file for Spacemacs.
;; Copyright (c) 2012-2019 Sylvain Benner & Contributors
;; Author: Igor Kupczyński <>
;; URL:
;; This file is not part of GNU Emacs.
;;; License: GPLv3

;;; Code:
(defun backup-force-backup-of-buffer ()
"Make sure emacs backs up buffers on every save, not just the first time.
By default, emacs backups the file only first time it is saved:
> Emacs makes a backup for a file only the first time the file is
> saved from a buffer. No matter how many times you subsequently
> save the file, its backup remains unchanged. However, if you
> kill the buffer and then visit the file again, a new backup
> file will be made.
This function, if installed as a before-save-hook, extends that
behavior to save a backup copy each time a file is
saved (per-save backup). It also preserves the first-time only
behavior (per-session backup).
per-save and per-session backups are stored in different
;; Make "per session" backup at the first save of each emacs session.
(when (not buffer-backed-up)
;; Override the default parameters for per-session backups as we don't need
;; to keep as many copies.
(let ((backup-directory-alist `(("" . ,backup-per-session-directory)))
(kept-new-versions 3))
;; Make a "per save" backup on each save. The first save results in both a
;; per-session and a per-save backup, to keep the numbering of per-save
;; backups consistent.
(let ((buffer-backed-up nil))

;;; Setup:
(add-hook 'before-save-hook 'backup-force-backup-of-buffer)
(if (eq dotspacemacs-auto-save-file-location 'original)
(add-hook 'auto-save-hook 'backup-force-backup-of-buffer))

;;; funcs.el ends here
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