August 25, 2019
One of the most common requests we get is to build an option for printing out Happyfeed moments, ideally in a book. Something people can keep forever, share with their loved ones, or just enjoy as a new way to look back on their memories. Sounds amazing, right?
Turning a digital journal into a printed journal is no small feat. We would need to find a printing partner. We would need to design for variations in post length, number of posts per day, and image orientation. We would need to find a way to let you choose which moments to include or not include.
So we decided to do what we always do: start small and build step by step toward our larger goals.
Introducing Journal Exports
UPDATE: As of December 31, 2020, exports are also available in a PDF format that's easy to print with all your images and emoji integrated into the design! 😄
Today, we're extremely excited to announce that you can now export all the moments from your Happyfeed journal in a simple downloadable format.
You’ll see a new option in your settings called “Journal Exports” where we provide the option to create a backup of your journal. Your data will be delivered to you via email as a .csv file with a compressed .zip images file.
We choose this format because it's simple and versatile:
- ☁️ You could save your CSV as a Google Sheet and back it up in the cloud
- 📊If you are an Excel pro, you could analyze your journal for patterns
- 🤓A developer friend could setup a visualization tool using the data
For now, exporting is only available to Plus subscribers on the iOS app. Please take advantage of the 7-day free trial if you’d like to export your journal without committing to a full subscription.
Why isn’t it free? It’s really expensive for our servers to turn all of your moments into a downloadable format. We have a separate set of servers spun up to handle export requests as they come in. More on that later.
Recently, another very popular gratitude app announced that they were shutting down their service forever. All those years of entries gone forever, just. like. that.
We have no intention of ever shutting down Happyfeed, but we realize bad things can happen (it's part of life) and we'd rather be safe than sorry.
- We were forced to shut down the company from a lawsuit or something unexpected?
- I (Matt) got hit by a bus and no one else had the motivation to keep Happyfeed running?
- Hackers targeted our servers and managed to delete all the data?
- Hackers turned off the entire Internet?
- A meteor... OK... you get the point 😅
Besides that, it just feels good to know you have full control of your posts. We think Happyfeed is a great place to explore them, but now you have the option to view your memories however you like.
Note: If we ever were forced to shutdown, we'd absolutely make exporting free for everyone during the transition period.
How does it work?
- Select an optional start and end date for the export
- Confirm your email and kick off the data export
- Our server creates a task to find all your entries
- For each entry, our server adds a line to a CSV file and copies any images
- Once done, the CSV file is saved in a private location
- The images (copied in a new folder) are compressed and saved as a single file
- You receive an email with (private) links to both files to download
- That's it!
Step 4 and 6 can be particularly time-consuming if you have been using Happyfeed for a long time. We limit exporting to once per week to prevent the servers from getting overloaded. Once we have a better idea of demand, we may adjust this.
The Big Question: Where’s my printed journal?
You may still be wondering, “But when will I be able to get a printed version of my Happyfeed Journal?” Honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about the same thing.
I have a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday to discuss options with a potential printing partner - someone who could handle the printing and shipping of individual journals. We want this to happen and are trying to get the ball rolling!
There’s a lot of work to be done still. We need to decide on the best way to layout entries, how to handle images, what the cover should look like, and ways to make it feel extra special. We’ll try and start small and build from there. Someday I’d love to have multiple formats and options for printing your memories. (Flipbooks, scrapbooks, yearbooks, etc.)
Testing and Surprises
There was one big test to see if the journal exporting could handle our bigger accounts. I had to try it out on the oldest account with the most entries: my account. It took a few hours of debugging to handle 2GB of images, but eventually, I received an email with my exported journal.
Me, looking at my files: 🤯🤯🤯
I’ve scrolled through my memories in Happyfeed, looked at all my moments from 1 year to 5 years ago, and I’ve swiped through my calendar many many times, but seeing all my 5500 moments in such a condensed format was wild.
I haven’t personally been this excited about Happyfeed in a long time. The style of short, positive posts made it easy to remember exactly how I felt during all those periods of my life. And I’ll have those forever.
We’ve been getting so much helpful feedback from Happyfeed lately and it feels absolutely amazing. I’m positive that this is something worth working on and that we are just getting started.
Please give Plus a try if you haven’t yet. Each subscription is a huge help toward building Happyfeed into a company that will be here for decades to come.
We're looking forward to bringing you even more ways to find joy in the coming months 😄 ...Like a PDF export option (Edit: We have this now!) and a printed book!
— Matt, Founder at Happyfeed