A modern/seamless sync feature

I am sure I have seen a post on this topic here more than a year before (and I can’t find it today anymore), but the question still persists for me: Is there any plan to develop a modern sync solution into DevonThink? When I started using Devon products they used to offer a simple way organizing my work. Now with all the distributed work I do (three Macs, an iPad and an iPhone), and all the great advances in cloud storage and seamless remote syncing it increasingly looks like a liability to have to deal with periodic sync, sync conflicts, sync corruption, database corruption, etc…

And believe me, these happen more than it should happen with Devon products. Not that they are not carefully designed, but just that we have got past this point in syncing technologies…

Also the ubiquitous access to my documents offered by dropbox / iCloud / SkyDrive / GDrive, etc… at anytime and anyplace, makes it feel increasingly like an anachronic decision to rely on a solution that puts the information in arbitrarily named folders and then it doesn’t provide the proper device-based or cloud-based interfaces to seamlessly access the files whenever I need.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a dissatisfied customer bashing the hard-working team at work in Devon Technologies, but rather a loyal customer that wants to see Devon keep up with the new trends and provide working solutions for the foreseeable future. Personally, I don’t know of any other solution that can replace Devon for me, and I don’t like the fact that I am becoming more and more hesitant to drop files into my Devonthink database, telling myself that maybe I need to access these right away on the go, before I get the time to do a manual resync, or on that other Mac at work that has developed a corrupt database and I haven’t had the time to sit down and fix its sync issues (and even if I do, I have to wait for a good hour before it rsyncs everything). I have been using EverNote and OneNote increasingly in cases that I used to uniquely rely on Devonthink, and this is dispersing my information over different platforms.

I simply want to continue to be a happy customer, and I think Devon has strong assets to expand into online content management services given the unique expertise it has, that we see implemented in its desktop apps. Personally I believe that a cloud-based Devon-like content management solution will be able to create tremendous value for many customers way beyond what it offers today, and will be able to support many new usecases adapted to new classes of customers.

So, I try to formulate my question: Are there any plans on Devonthink’s roadmap pointing to a seamless and realtime and working sync solution? Are there any plans to offer more sophisticated cloud services? And moreover (I know this is not a new question), when will we be able to keep up with our paperless workflows on our iPads?

I (and there seem to be a good number of people like me) am planning to completely drop my laptop from my workflow, keeping only my iPad, as it seems much more adapted to the kind of activity I do on the go… Again, one of my major concerns is that I can’t rely on a half-baked bonjour-based wifi sync for that. Everybody has moved to the cloud (including the ultra-conservative Things app, and the super-finicky papers app). When will the time come for Devon? Can we at least have a roadmap we can put some hope in (the way CulturedCode does)?

Sorry for the way-too-long letter, and thanks for reading.

A second-generation Sync procedure for DEVONthink on Macs is in development. It will allow syncing of changes almost in real time.

A version of that next-generation Sync will also be in the next generation of DEVONthink To Go (which will be free to registered users of version 1.x). There will be many major improvements in DEVONthink To Go 2.x.

We don’t make predictions of release dates.

Will you be able to do everything in DEVONthink To Go that can be done on a Mac using DEVONthink Pro or Pro Office? No, although the next generation of DEVONthink To Go will be more powerful, there will be a number of features in the Mac version that cannot be duplicated in current iOS software and hardware. For example, I often use scripts and OS X Services; but AppleScript isn’t available in iOS. And iOS devices have very little RAM compared to current Macs. For example I can use the Server mode of DEVONthink Pro Office to share databases with my iPhone via the iPhone’s Safari browser. But Safari on the iPhone or iPad Air 2 will immediately crash if I present it with a database that has a great many groups, or if I attempt to open a group that contains hundreds of documents. But that’s the database I use most often!

DEVONthink To Go 2.x will delight those who like to annotate their PDFs.

The problem is this has been promised for a number of years now and not delivered. I’m getting tired of waiting. If my promises took this long and were so vague, I’d be out of a job.

The bottom line is many folks are using tablets. Devonthink is behind the times. I don’t even look at DTTG anymore as it’s such a useless app. Evernote have steadily improved and with import scripts from DT to EN by Veritrope, there seems to be no reason to stay with DT anymore.

I seriously suggest you re-look at your priorities. Multi-device editing is no longer an option, but a must. I’ve only been lugging my laptop around because DT cannot sort out it’s iOS app. I’m now slowly migrating my databases over to EN. I’m not the only one. EN is coping with data in excess of 15GB. Once I’ve migrated my data I will not be returning. I won’t tell you when that is.

I’m saddened that you’ve failed to deliver on this promise. Much DT functionality is slowly appearing in OSX Finder. Without a proper iOS support, I’m not sure how much longer DT will become viable for folks to keep around.

I absolutely believe that people have the right to ask such questions as the OP has here, it is a concern for many people.

Having said that clearly, however, please can the subject now be dropped as it has been asked, in deferent forms, by many people always with the same answer! Two main reasons why I ask for it to be dropped:

  1. The answer “we don’t make predictions on release dates” is not going to change, (quite rightly so IMHO).
  2. The more time the developers have to spend in these discussions the longer it will take for the update to be released!

Not sure you can just “drop” something that is being asked so much. It’s obviously important to many people.

The topic will naturally fade as those for whom it is important either put up with the status quo or move to different platforms.

Although I’m not holding my breath, I am glad to hear that DTTG will (if it ever appears) be a “delight” to those who like to annotate pdfs.


Agree with Allsop. And nothing wrong with people sharing their opinions. What has become excessive in my view is the whining and the incessant “I count to three, and then I will switch to Evernote” noise.

And there are also these assertions of DTTG being “completely useless”. DTTG 1.x has its issues for sure, but in my own workflow, DTTG plays a very important role. It is my gateway of virtually all information flow between Mac and iPad. I syncs beautifully for me (and I insist on local syncing, not via the cloud). It gave me trouble 2 years ago when I started out with this, but ever since it pretty much “just worked”. Obviously, people with different needs and workflows might have different experiences, but don’t make it sound as if your scenario is the only one. Btw: I have all my DTPO DBs in the mobile folders, so gigabytes of stuff gets synced. I have to assume that I’m one of the heaviest duty DTTG syncers.

Didn’t use Evernote for years, but just happened to notice that on MacUpdate, it doesn’t get what I would call stellar ratings. And if you can live with a linear space of simple tags, sure, go ahead and use Mavericks for tagging. For me, DTPO is for the uses that go beyond that.

Having said all this, I have to say that I don’t buy the “developers should never comment on release dates”. I get the notion, and in general agree, but nothing ever is absolute. Roadmaps are useful. And I would hope that users in a community like that for DTPO (which I would call comparatively refined) could handle the news (the “I move to Evernote” people will do their thing no matter what). Rough ideas of where this goes would be truly appreciated. The mystery of the wonderful DTTG 2.0 has been with me since I got started with DT two years ago. If there is no notion of some form of convergence towards a final product, it might indeed be hard to keep the faith. If development time significantly exceeds the release time of technically significant iOS updates (i.e. where new behind-the-scences mechanism are introduced, that are highly relevant to DTTG-style software, such as extensions), there is real danger of no convergence. But no worries, I will not move Evernote :slight_smile:.

  1. For anyone who has / has / or was a kid (and that should cover all of us 8) )… Remember, every vacation or road trip… No matter how short or long the trip, there’s always an annoyed chorus in the back seat crying, “Are we there yet?!?”
    If we guessed when it would be out, many people would call it “a promise”. (Sad but true.) Then the trolling about not keeping deadlines would start up. (I’ve been through this before.) It’s best to not say too much until the time for talking arrives.

  2. Remember that we are not developing on a static platform. Changes to the OS, mobile or desktop, affect our development and direction far more than it does the end-user. Long before Yosemite went live we had people sending in support tickets asking why DEVONthink didn’t work as expected on 10.10 beta. Bear in mind, these are not our beta testers but people who wanted to play with the latest toys and we upset that everything didn’t work. We also had questions about iCloud drive support. So if we’re on a path in development and the OS changes or offers new features that people clamor for, should we adjust our course and slow development down or stay the course and have people complain that "this doesn’t support feature X! You stink!!! :imp: ) This is a very fine line to walk. Don’t disregard it.

  3. We are a small shop. (I say that, not as an excuse, but as a matter of pride in this company considering how incredible this team is and how much our software helps people.) Evernote literally has hundreds of employees and tons of backers and capital. It’s pretty easy to spin off a mobile app with resources like that. Also, consider which is more impressive, having 50 people work on one app or 4 working on something as powerful as DEVONthink? (There are some REALLY smart people in here. :wink: )

  4. Just a gentle bit of counsel: Threatening never works. We have people who love other apps and work DEVONthink together with them. We have people who leave us for other apps. And we definitely have people who come to us from other apps. Airing thoughts and feelings are fine, it’s an open Forum, but threatening never solves anything.

  5. Despite a comment I heard, this is not a “post PC world”. Mobile tech is handy but still incredibly limiting. An iPad is a computer, but so is an abacus. iOS 8 is nowhere near as functional as Yosemite (despite it’s ugly UI - sorry, got distracted). One of these days will mobile technology be as powerful as this laptop? Maybe? Probably? But daily, I need far more horsepower and capabilities than a simple mobile device can offer. That being said, we do see utility in mobile tech and we are working diligently to make DTTG 2.x a much better product than 1.x (which has always worked fine for me, for what it does).

I’ve said it many times before, things are far different on this side of things.


  1. Even children on a car journey need to have some idea of how long the journey is. Perhaps DT started talking too soon about DTTG 2 (2 years ago I believe and nothing on the horizon)? In terms of ratings, DTTG isn’t doing too well either.

  2. I appreciate you may be a smaller number of people. It doesn’t do you any favours that your lack of resources creates slower development cycles. If EN can “spin off” mobile apps on multiple platforms then you should be able to do it on one platform. It’s a question of priorities. I much prefer DT functionality, but mobile is increasing and is rapidly becoming the most popular platform (hallaminternet.com/2014/goog … t-metrics/). I no longer use a desktop, but a laptop connected to a large screen. Since iPad my laptop use has drastically reduced. The iphone 6 plus is also a game changer as was the Galaxy Note when it came out.

I do not only require to read my stuff on a mobile device but really need to record it in more than plain text. EN is one of the few apps that does that in the absence of companies like yourself that have little to offer on mobile. I can send my stuff to EN from just about anywhere and the number of apps with direct EN compatibility is rapidly increasing. I know it’s not pleasant when criticism comes your way. But what do you expect the user to do? I’ve waited 2 years for a fully functioning DTTG app to appear and it has not. DTPO is a considerable investment not just in terms of cost, but also in terms of data stored in databases. I need mobile functionality. I could wait around hoping for DTTG, but not even a roadmap has been given. For all I know I could be making the same comments in another 2 years time. Maybe out of all this DT will realise that mobile devices will eclipse desktops. In my home we don’t have any desktops, but 6 mobile devices.

I’m not sure where things go from here and I’m sorry if I have offended. It’s frustrating when workflows become complex. I’d love all of my data in DT, but that isn’t currently going to happen. I use my mobile devices to input the majority of my data and this is now a major problem with DT.

I have used DTPO and DTTG very successfully for some time now, though no doubt my usage is more basic than what other users desire.

My major sync request is the ability to have a 1-way overwrite “sync” between Macs.

We have a “Master” database shared between multiple users over a WebDAV server, but if someone makes unauthorised changes in their copy, it can corrupt back to the master when syncing. I want to be able to ensure that the “Master Database” can be selected to always overwrite in one direction only, and no matter what changes have happened in the Database on remote Macs, they will all be overwritten to be a duplicate of the Master, with nothing coming back to the Master,

As the database is over 10gb simply overwriting the entire database each time is not practical, so just the changes needed to make the overwrite sync.

I did request this as a feature in the next gen sync, so I hope it will be included. :smiley:

I was going to post a longer comment about “post PC world” but Bluefrog beat me to it. We are not there yet. IOS cannot match a MBPro for power, flexibility and speed. I use a MBPro and an Ipad Air Retina and appreciate both of them, but don’t confuse what they can and cannot do.

A better iOS linkage to the Mac based DTPO would be nice, and will be nice when it is released but the iOS will not match the Mac based functionality and power. It does not do so on other apps either.

The ability to synchronize wirelessly with IOS and to selectively add and edit would be useful but is not critical to my using DTPO.

Simple, rock solid syncing to other computers would also be nice, but I am single user so it is a nice to have, but not critical.

The comments about DT not working with 10.10 before the updates were released, not working by keeping the database on Dropbox [or similar tool] and then corrupting the data are perfect examples of outrunning the tool [DT].

I do not use a hammer and then complain that it will not work like a screwdriver. :slight_smile:

Just to be clear: I never meant to threaten anyone in the original post, and I am quite glad that at least two Devon employees partially responded to my concerns. What I described is the current situation of the market that is threatening and requires more transparency on Devon’s side.

Transparency does not exactly mean Devon team has to make the Trello and Exchange Calendar of every employee public. There is a fine balance between complete opaqueness and complete transparency. What I suggested was a public roadmap, which does not need to include the exact timing, but can very well inform users on the tasks at hand, their priority and their order. That alone will remove the necessity for this kind of post.

So, again: It is not like we bought DevonThink to be entitled to whine and have a space to do so. Neither am I putting forth ridiculous demands like compatibility with version 15 of MacOS. And we are not against Devon. Fore one thing the whole community will benefit if this platform flourishes. We also understand that Devon is a small shop, and DevonThink is much more of a handcrafted artisanal product than the beast that Evernote is. What I suggest is “run the small shop like a small shop” by maintaining the privileged relationship you have with your clientele. A part of that is keeping clients informed and treat them as “proximity” instead of .

I had to smile a bit.


ah, the Customer Relations Specialist (I cite from your signature) in you wrote :slight_smile:
You know that the question of “when” comes up over and over again. And often. Seems to have some reasons therefore.

To compare the requests by your customers with a childish behavior is not as polite, as i would have expected from a man, who looks downwards and relaxed on us from his avatar image :slight_smile:

And - to stay in your bad example - the drivers usually answer the question about when they expect to be there. It have been the highjackers who answer: “shut up, you will see” :slight_smile:

Please try to understand the questions - at least as far as i am concerned- as a matter of need. I have to plan my live and workflows.
And try to understand it as the wish to keep devonthink a part of it.

thanks for taking this thoughts into consideration


In response to the arrogant comments from BlueFrog:

  1. Quite offensive to find users being dismissed as childish. It’s actually a reasonable question, even from the kids. The only problem is the children’s inability to understand the answer. They don’t really get what 2 hours means. It’s only then the problem starts. The question is reasonable and is usually met, initially, with a sensible answer, being a reasonable estimate of how long the journey would reasonably be expected to take.

I agree users will take an estimate to be a commitment, and THAT is wrong. The question is not. And a reasonable estimate should be possible. Is it 6 months, one year, two or five? Surely you must know if within a year is not possible?

  1. The platform is not static. Particularly in view of the time scales YOU have incurred. The longer you take, the more the ground will change under your feet.

  2. You don’t have the resources. That’s a very fair point, but I really don’t see how it helps or even matters to me. I’m only interested in the quality and value of the product. The size of team doesn’t matter (except I may be afraid of a bigger risk of investing in software that will cease development). I do not ask to pay less because you’re small, why should I wait longer for development?

  3. I would also gently counsel that calling your users childish and accusing them of crying is not good.

  4. Actually, it is a post pc world. It is not without PC’s, but it is a world in which PC’s and PC only software simply cannot cut it on their own. I don’t see anyone asking for ALL DevonThinks power on their iPhone, just the ability to access their stuff, albeit in a less sophisticated way, and submit information obtained on the go. My iPad offers more horsepower than my recently sold laptop. The OS is also limited, but if you can’t get iOS to handle some decent work that enables some level of integration with DevonThink then you’ve got a problem. Most people are finding mobile tech liberating rather than limiting. Nice little side swipe at Yosemite’s new look, by the way. I honestly found it served to underscore your rigid and old fashioned view of how things should be. It reminded me that DevonThink is a bit tired, something I had set aside, being more interested in it’s abilities and quality.

I came here looking for reassurance that DevonThink would be a good investment for me, that the vital (fully functional in its own right) mobile companion was forthcoming. More than any other, your post has convinced me otherwise. You find mobile limiting, you have little regard for your users and think they should be concerned at your view of things, which seems a little backward.

I’m sorry you interpreted BLUEFROG’s comments as arrogant, but I don’t see them that way. Please take another look at this thread. We learned at least ten years ago that attempting to provide a timeline response to queries about development objectives is a bad approach. That’s why the policy of not doing so was adopted. But this thread kept generating the same request for a timeline, and we must give the same answer. :slight_smile:

No, that’s not the way development plans can work. In the case of DEVONthink To Go, the next generation development is tied to development of the next generation Sync procedure for DEVONthink on the Mac, and there are very good reasons for that.

I’ve seen a number of comments about the need for a modern Sync procedure that allows sync via the cloud. Evernote is often identified as having such a procedure. The problem is that Evernote is far less powerful than DEVONthink, and Evernote’s sync procedure would emasculate DEVONthink. (Evernote simplified their approach by converting many files to a proprietary Evernote filetype, which DEVONthink would never do, as that’s contrary to the user’s interests.) The Sync procedure needed by DEVONthink is much more complex–and yes, it is moving along and will appear, when we are satisfied that it has met our objectives.

Of course! Both the Mac and iOS environments keep changing, requiring a lot of maintenance development to keep current generations of our software compatible. In the case of the iOS environment for which DEVONthink To Go 1.x was developed, the initial environment was fairly primitive and has undergone substantial changes. An inordinate amount of maintenance time was required to handle changes in iOS 8, especially changes in how RTF and RTF(d) files are handled. This was complicated by the fact that Apple’s development environment for writing iOS code and testing it didn’t reveal the existence of real world problems encountered by many users.

Yes and no. Yes, we recognize that iOS devices make it possible to transport and use files synced from Mac DEVONthink databases, and we want to facilitate that as far as possible, given the limitations of iOS and iOS hardware.

No, it’s not yet a post-PC world at all. Our primary development objectives must remain focussed on DEVONthink in the Mac environment, the heavy-duty “truck” in Apple’s operating system and hardware ecosystem. Ours is a niche market, and we have attracted many users because DEVONthink on the Mac is the leading document/information management software for the Mac. In large part, that’s because DEVONthink can make so many calls to features of OS X that are not available in iOS, the Pro and Pro Office editions have large AppleScript dictionaries that allow automation and extension of workflows (AppleScript isn’t supported in iOS), &c.

Yes, I do find mobile limiting, in the sense that it’s not possible to do most of the workflows I use with my DEVONthink Pro Office databases in the mobile environment. That doesn’t mean that I find DEVONthink To Go 1.x useless, as I do often use it to capture files onto my iPhone or iPad that I want to take with me, or even an entire database at times. But I’ve never synced my main database (30,000+ documents) that I use most heavily for research and writing to my iPad, because the work I do in it cannot be done in the mobile environment at this time, because of limitations.

There will be significant improvements in DEVONthink To Go 2.x, including the option of cloud Sync. I will likely use it more than I use version 1.x. But it will remain the case for the foreseeable future that my normal workflows in my research database cannot be done in the mobile environment.

To observe that there are limitations in the current mobile environment is not disrespectful to users, but a factual caution about expectations. Yes, in DEVONthink To Go 2.x you will be able to annotate PDFs directly. But a database in that environment will not be “fully functional” compared to its Mac counterpart, especially in the Pro and Pro Office editions.