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Batch Exporter Suite

This suite makes it easy to export the entire contents of Frontier.root to a structure of folders and sub-folders on your local hard disk.

Welcome to the new Batch Exporter suite, revised on 2/10/97 by DW.

The original version of this suite was released on 11/27/93 and is included in the Misc Stuff folder of every Frontier distribution since version 3.0.

You can download it from:


It's an essential step in cleaning up a cluttered root. After you batch-export a root file, everything you created is safe. You can start with a fresh root and only import the things you need as you need them.

It's also a useful way to do a backup, but be aware that files take up more space than objects in the database.


The method for batch-exporting is a much-discussed topic on the various Frontier mailing lists. Power is good, but it must be simple and relatively foolproof in order for it to work. It's very important to be able to trust this suite, and a misunderstanding about what it does can lead to lost data.

As the user table has grown, the original method for batch-exporting has become obsolete. For example, the contents of user.websites is far too big to export in a single chunk. Even the contents of a single website can be too large -- my own DaveNet website is an example.

The list of tables

A list of tables to export from is kept at suites.batchExporter.list. Please do not modify this list, it's provided for reference only. It's important that we can upgrade this list. If you must customize this suite, please make a copy of the whole table, call it something other than batchExporter, so we can safely upgrade this suite in future releases. Thanks!

The exporter script loops over all the tables in the list. creating a folder and attempting to export each sub-object in a single export file. If it fails to export a table in this manner, it recurses, creates a folder and exports each object separately. It burns a little time to create the optimal-sized folder structure.

If you're using this format to export stuff for distribution to other users, be aware, the amount of memory you give Frontier will determine how much memory will be needed to import the items. I'm not sure what the formula is, but the more memory you have available when you export, the more memory the user will need to import it.

For this reason I am planning on using this suite only for backups, not to distribute material. For distribution I'll write a custom script for each distributed object.

How to use it

Choose Batch Exporter from Frontier's Suites menu. Choose Export from the Batch menu. Click on OK to the confirmation dialog, take a break -- batch-exporting makes a fairly complete traversal of your database.

It creates a folder named Batch Exporter as a sub-folder of the Frontier folder. You can change this folder by editing user.batchExporter.folder.

A log outline is maintained, reporting on the success or failure of the exporting of any object. It's possible to batch-export an already-crashed root. It checks for errors, and tries to back out of them.

Overnight batch exporting

I do a batch-export every night at 2AM along with all my other system maintenence stuff. It's easy to do:

  1. Choose Batch Exporter from Frontier's Suites menu.

  2. Choose Nightly Export from the Batch menu.

Leave Frontier running when you quit for the night. When you come back in the morning the Batch Exporter log window will be open.

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