Saving and Loading your Work
Rave offers two ways to save your work: Rave Projects, and Metadata. Use Rave Project (.rve) files to completely save your current Rave setup. Use Metadata files (.rvm) to only save supporting information related to your data set without saving the Workspace itself.
Some minor aspects of your Rave session are not saved. Currently these include:
- The currently selected workspace object may change (it will become the object you created most recently)
- Since the "Save project" button is on the manage tab, it is impossible to save a project in full-screen mode, or with any tab other than Manage visible.
rve files are plain text files, although you should not attempt to edit them. (Well, if you feel comfortable with the format, do whatever you want.) Since rve files are plain text, they contain all the data in your Rave session in an easily readable format. For this reason, if you are working with sensitive data you may wish to zip and password protect the rve file before distributing it. (Using 3rd party software; Rave does not have a capability for password protecting your files.)
rve files do not contain any saved versions of Rave's graphics; instead they contain script information that Rave uses to recreate all your graphics from scratch when the session is loaded. They also do not contain embedded versions of any files your Rave session had linked to, including function files created by Rave. If you wish to transport a Rave file to another computer, you must also find and move those linked files.
Saving a project
A Rave project can be saved by clicking the "Save Project to File" button on the Manage Tab. Note that since this is currently the only way to save a project, it is impossible to save a project so that it opens in full screen mode or with a tab other than the Manage Tab displayed.
The new project will be saved in a directory under your Default Rave Directory.
Loading a project
There are three ways to open a saved project:
- In Windows, if you associated the .rve file type with Rave during the Rave Installation process, then you can double click .rve files to open them. If MATLAB is not running, this will open MATLAB.
- In MATLAB, you can type raveopen('<path/name of .rve file>') to open the file. (You need to include the quotes, but not the <> brackets)
- In Rave, click the "Load Project from File" button on the Manage Tab to open a file browser and select a .rve file to open.
If you are interested in developing Rave plugins, you may want to read Working with .rve files for important information related to ensuring your plugins are compatible with saving as a .rve file.
Working with Projects that require User-Supplied Functions
Important: If you save a Rave Project as a .rve file and would like to distribute it or move it to a different computer, you may need to include some additional files. The .rve file contains your data (so there is no need to also distribute any original data set files that you had loaded, but it does NOT contain the files for any functions that you loaded from the Model Tab. Read the help article for Function files created by Rave and be sure to include those files whenever you wish to distribute your .rve Rave Project file.
(A future update will put a list of these files in the same directory as the .rve file for easy reference)
Metadata files contain additional information about your data that is not contained in the data file itself. When you load a data file in Rave, if a .rvm file with the same filename. is found in the same directory as the data file, it will be loaded simultaneously Metadata files can be exported from Rave, so the first time you use a particular data file, it will have no metadata. Rather, metadata provides a way for you to provide you with a more complete "starting point" for working with data sets that you use often.
If you had more than one Analysis when you exported the metadata, you will have the option of exporting metadata for all of the Analyses, or just one of them. Thus you can restore all of your Analyses automatically when loading a
The following types of information can be saved to a metadata file:
- All information about user-supplied functions that have been associated with your data set. Thus when you load the data file, any related function files will also load automatically without the need for you to load them from the Model Tab.
- Constraints that you have created.
- The Variable Color associated with each variable in the data set.
- The marker color associated with each row in the data set, as well as whether the rows should be hidden or selected.
- The Variable Type of each variable in the data set and its associated range (for continuous variables or allowable values (for discrete variables).
- The Current Point at which Continuous Graphs are being drawn.
- The Target Value and Preference Value for each variable in the data set.
The first time you use a particular data set, you won’t have any metadata (unless you manually create a .rvm file), but once you start doing things in RAVE like changing row colors or adding constraints, you can save metadata files so that next time you work with this data set you won’t need to redo all those things. Metadata is therefore something like a midway point between starting from scratch and saving the entire RAVE project. Metadata only saves the information listed below, not anything that is visible on the rave workspace (graphs, controls, etc). So if you start a new RAVE session and load a data set with metadata you’ll still start with a blank workspace, but your data state will be just like it was when you saved the metadata.
For information on editing the .rvm file, see Metadata file format
Why Use Metadata?
Since metadata only contains a subset of the information that would be saved in a Rave Project, you could just always save your work as a project and not worry about metadata. However, metadata has a few appealing properties:
- We are still making many changes to Rave, and it's possible that future versions of Rave will break current .rve files. Metadata files are easier to ensure future compatibility. (Note: Obviously ensuring that .rve files remain valid is important for our users. We will try to ensure that this doesnt happen.)
- When you are exploring a data set, you may try many different techniques. It may be easier to start with a "clean slate" every time you open the data set but still retain information about your functions, preferences, target values, etc.
- The .rvm metadata file is a plain ascii text file, so it is essentially uncorruptible. The .rve project files are encrypted MATLAB files and it's entirely possible that they will become corrupted or become incompatible with future versions of MATLAB. (Though we'll try our best to ensure that doesn't happen)
- The .rvm file has a simple format that can be edited outside of Rave.
Three Ways To Declare a Metadata File
When you load a data set, Rave looks for three different files to use as metadata. It uses the first one of these that it finds:
- A file with the same file name as your data file, but with the extension .rvm
- A file whose filename is the same as the data set name, with the extension .rvm. This option can be used, for example, when loading a spreadsheet that contains multiple data sets (sheets), and you want to specify a metadata file for an individual dataset within that file. Note: This is the naming convention used by Rave when you save a metadata file.
- A file named "metadata.rvm" in the same folder as the data file you are loading. This option can be used when you have many data sets that will all use the same metadata. Rather than create a separate metadata file for each dataset, you can simply create one and give it the name "metadata.rvm". This metadata file will then be loaded by Rave any time you load a datafile in the same folder. Warning: this means that all data files in this folder must be compatible with this metadata.rvm file. I.e. all data files should contain an identical set of variables. This option is most useful when you have an analysis that you run many times, so that each results file contains a similar data set (same variables, different values).
Note: if you have unchecked the "Load Metadata" box, then none of the above files will load.
To implement option 3, the easiest route is to simply load one of the data files in Rave, then save a metadata file using Rave and rename the resulting file to "metadata.rvm".