Blog Post

Lazarus: Bring Lost Forms Back to Life

I may be prone to worrying, but I don’t think I’m the only one who feels more than a tinge of concern when I need to fill out an online form, especially when its for something important, like a job application.

It just seems like there’s so much that can go wrong and information will be lost before I get to the submit button. Even posting in forums or comments sections can be a little unnerving, because you’re trusting that submit button to faithfully deliver the paragraph you just spent a good 10 minutes getting just the way you want it.

Lazarus, an add-on for Firefox, now makes the internet slightly less ephemeral, and provides an insurance policy in case that submit button isn’t cooperating.

Lazarus is a form recovery tool for the Firefox web browser. It’s designed by the team behind Interclue, another popular add-on which provides previews of websites when you hover over active links with your cursor. Lazarus has less apparent, but more broadly appealing functionality.

As its name implies, Lazarus will bring your forms back from the dead, should you be unlucky enough to have one die on you. Lazarus runs in the background and saves that data intermittently and when the Submit button is pressed, locally on your computer.

To test Lazarus, I loaded up the ABC contact form, since I’d been meaning to voice my concern over the recent cancellation of the excellent Pushing Daisies. I prepared a brief missive and pressed send.

I should note that Lazarus is a very innocuous add-on, and has no sidebar or toolbar interface. Optionally, you can have a Lazarus icon in the status bar, which is the gold ankh symbol you’ll see in the screenshot.

lazarus

After successfully submitting my form, I went back and refreshed the page to clear data already entered.

Sure enough, right clicking on any field or in the general vicinity of the form area brought up the “Recover Form” submenu, from which I could choose to restore either from an autosave or from the version saved at time of submission. Multiple autosaves were even present after staying at the page for more than a minute.

Keep in mind that information is stored locally in a SQLite database found in your Firefox profile folder. Setting a Firefox Master Password will prevent others from being able to restore the data, and you can set an expiry date for saved information. By default, all data is saved indefinitely.

Lazarus is effective, light, secure and runs in the background, so there’s no reason not to use it. Recommended for anyone who’s ever had to rewrite that incredibly clever forum post retort, and lost some of the killer wit in the process.

3 Responses to “Lazarus: Bring Lost Forms Back to Life”