I sometimes think the WordPress developers live in soundproof rooms (virtual, of course). They never seem to listen to the WordPress users. Instead of adding on or off options in the WordPress settings for certain features, the WordPress user has to resort to searching the WordPress Codex to find out how to enable or disable options using the wp-config.php file. Such is the case with the autosave and post revisions features.
Additions to the wp-config.php File
While it may be an easy way to disable or enable options, editing the wp-config.php file isn’t intuitive. This is especially true if there aren’t any “commented out” options to refer to. And it isn’t just options for autosave and post revisions that are treated this way. You can check out the Editing wp-config.php Codex page to see all the stuff that can be controlled with additions to the wp-config.php file. The one thing to remember is that any additions must come before this line:
require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-settings.php');
From what I understand (and other than what I wrote about a long time ago elsewhere), autosave can no longer be disabled – it can only be extended. The default autosave interval is 60 seconds. That’s too often on a really slow Internet connection. To extend it from one minute to five minutes, add this:
define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', '300' );
Also, from what I understand, post revisions can’t really be turned off even if the Codex implies it’s possible. If you set it to false, one post revision (the one for the autosave) still gets saved. So, to limit it to a single autosave, it would be:
define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );
To specify an exact amount of post revisions (using 5 as an example), it would be:
define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', '5' );
In other words, it’s either false or a number greater than 0.
AutoSave and Post Revisions as Features
There are some people in the overall WordPress community who would argue that the autosave and post revisions features are annoyances more than features. This is why I think the WordPress developers are deaf to the desires of a lot of WordPress users.
There isn’t a doubt these are useful features – for most people. After dealing with horrible Internet connections, I belong to the group that considers them annoyances. There’s nothing like getting stuck at a frozen screen due to an unexpected autosave interval to feel like dumping WordPress altogether.
I have to be blunt here. I like WordPress, but I liked it a lot better before they started adding tons of features I’ll never use. It’s the “kitchen sink” effect and it causes code bloat. When WordPress loads, it loads all the unused features along with the features used.