I would like to do what you can do in just about any other software and that is simple save or back up of my catalog with having to exit lightroom.
I believe it is trivial to add this as I will explain below and save people a lot of grief.
Why do people want this? It takes time to exit and re-start lightroom. Sure, only about a minute but that is incredibly annoying.
The stock answer, one coming from, and Adobe person was "you can't". A bunch of discussion about the SQL data base and is impossible because of the dependencies in memory and write locks on files.
Well, yes, I have a lot of experience with SQL data base, and that may technically maybe true. But is a specious argument. That is exiting the DB, not the Lightroom program.
The simple proof of that is you can export the catalog with out exiting. Yes, the DB must be closed first and re-opened. Now that I say this, I am not sure about closing. It has always seemed fast to export. So maybe you don’t have to close as the Adobe guy said. Maybe you can just spool it out directly from memory.
In any case I think what I and people would be happy with is another button that say's "Backup Now". It does the export but puts it in the same location as the other backups. Now I don't have to mess around opening the file browser and thinking about what location to put the file in etc.
Maybe I am missing something, and this export is not equivalent to a backup. Let me know, I would love to learn.
But even if you do have to close then re-open it still saves time. It the time of exiting Lightroom itself and re-starting it. That might be 20 seconds to a minute depending on your machine. But that’s a lot.
Even if it didn't save any time, it would be convenient. Just one click instead of the whole exit re-start. I could hit backup, go re-fill my coffee, and come back and just keep working.
It would give the same user experience people have when they hit the save button in any other software.
I suspect that Backup is not the same as Export catalog. The reason is that if you have a slightly corrupted catalog, doing a backup and opening the back up does not resolve the corruption. However, exporting the enitre catalog as a new catalog does (sometimes) fix the corruption. I know that the "backup" is an OS level system operation that basically zips the contents of two files. But, the Export as catalog walks the catalog following links from file to file and builds the new catalog piece by piece.
Of course that does not preclude them packaging a series of steps under one button. For example, the Open Other Catalog or Open Recent allows you to point to another catalog and it will ask if you want the current one backed up first. If you say yes it closes the current catalog, backs it up, then opens the one you pointed to. This would do what you want (although it may take just as long as manually closing LrC and then re-opening it) if they allowed you to point to the current catalog as the new one to open. Howeve if you do that, it just leaves you where you are.
But, I'm not seeing this idea as having much wide spread benefit. First of all, catalog changes are saved to the database pretty much in real time so it is somewhat rare for a system crash to damage anything (it used to, but not so much in later releases). Secondly, the workaround of spending the minute to close and reopen the catalog is not really that terrible a burden for those who want the security of "saving your work" to another drive. I'd much rather the engineers at Adobe be told to spend there time on much more important things like synchronizing keywords between LR and LrC, among others.