Recovering Ecto drafts

Recently I moved from the Mac behind my DSL line to a “real” webserver at Dreamhost. For some reason I don’t remember, this required me to make a change in Ecto, the tool I use to write and publish to, and in doing so, I lost all the drafts of articles or ideas I’d written but not published.


I searched the Ecto forum and found many others complaining about lost drafts. The only solution presented was by the developer, suggesting we send him a pair of files and he’ll try to reconstruct the missing entries. Although appreciated, it didn’t sound promising.

Ecto had made a backup of the “working” file when it created the new file (thank goodness for small favors, it turns out). Simply renaming the file from “entrydata_backup.plist” to “entrydata.plist” didn’t work, even though when I opened the .plist file in BBEdit I could see all the drafts there. I decided to poke around the files a bit.

I tried copying an entry from the backup to the main file, and it didn’t show up. It took a couple of minutes of poking around but I eventually did notice that some of my draft entries were listed in one tag as

<<key>url</key> <string></string>

while others were listed as


Hm. Could a simple "www." make a difference? Yes! If I copied an entry to the main file with "", it didn't show up in Ecto, but did show up as ""! A few more minutes in BBEdit finding and replacing appropriate entries, and voila, all my drafts were back!

This method may not work universally, but if your drafts disappear, check to see if your url key is set to something other than what you expect.

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