An Attic Called DEVONthink

I’m an educator and consultant, and have been searching for years for a tool that would satisfy some pretty heavy-duty needs for knowledge management. I’m happy to say that I think DEVONthink is “the one,” although it is not without a few weaknesses (many of which, it seems, are being addressed in ongoing development).

On my blog, I posted a pretty detailed list of my criteria for choosing a tool, and how DT(Pro) meets those almost perfectly. Although I’m certain the contents of my review will come as no surprise to the DEVONthink faithful, I thought I’d mention the link here, and would love to hear what you think of it. I’m no expert in DT by any means, and know that many of the folks here might be able to give me suggestions as to ways to improve my usage (and to address misconceptions I probably have).

all my best,

a million monkeys typing :

Douglas: nice blog entry that should draw some new users to Devon.
You said “(Note: because Firefox is not a 100% Cocoa application, it doesn’t support a number of OS X services and abilities that Safari does. This means that I’ve actually been spending far more time in the latter lately; it hasn’t been too unpleasurable.)”

You might give Camino a try – it’s a services-aware, OSX cousin of Firefox.

I like Camino, but I think it’s a bit of “no man’s land” for me. It doesn’t accept Firefox’s extensions (which I truly love), and it doesn’t seem to work well with DT. For example, one can copy and paste from Safari into DT and get all the formatting and graphics, but copying from either Firefox or Camino just gives you plain text. I’m guessing this is because copying from the Gecko apps doesn’t take advantage of the RTFD capabilities of the clipboard (however, IANACP – I am not a Cocoa programmer :wink: ). Maybe now that the Camino programmer is on the Mozilla team, more OS X capabilities will be added to Firefox; I’ve already noticed some improvements in the last couple of builds.

Safari + Saft + PithHelmet seems to fill some of my Firefox extension urges, but unfortunately this combo is not free and it doesn’t cover the ground of the cooler (and geekier) plugs. Still, I’m sticking with Safari (plain-jane) for now because DT is starting to become almost as important to me as a browser. Which is truly a shocker, I must admit!

It seems that many people had this problem that Firefox doesnt support the MacOSX Services Menu. I read at the Firefox-Forum ( that there is at least a plan to support Services Menu in the future.
At the moment i use nevertheless Firefox as my standard browser and when i want to store a website in DEVONthink i create a new link there, then capture the page, and then delete the link. Not very comfortable at all :frowning:
Another possibility would be, if DEVONthink would extend its browser-capabilities (tabs, cookie and cache management, (ad)filter, …) 8)


DEVONthink uses Apple’s WebKit in its Web browser. That’s the Safari subset, basically. Cookies set in Safari are available in DEVONthink, which is convenient for visiting subscription sites. The cookie options set in Safari are honored by WebKit. I’ve set mine to accept cookies only from sites that I visit. Cache management is in RAM so it’s automatically cleared.

If you do heavy-duty information captures from the Web, setting up bookmarks in the DT database and making use of the contextual menu options to immediately capture text selections or WebArchives is extremely fast and efficient. (The option to capture HTML source instead of a WebArchive is coming soon.)

Example: I’ve got a pretty large set of Web sites that I visit on a daily basis, such as science journals, science news sites, a number of science and environmental policy sites, selected computer sites and, of course, this user forum. The URLs for these Web sites are stored in a Bookmarks group in my DT database, grouped by topic categories. Every Thursday afternoon Science Magazine posts its weekly issue online. I click on that bookmark, browse the issue and download all articles that interest me. This is easily an order of magnitude quicker than your approach, and negates any need for tabs. Popups aren’t a problem. Safari and WebKit browsing under Tiger seems comparable in speed to Firefox, with the advantages of better Cocoa standard features such as full OS X Services and DEVONthink integration.

I use DEVONagent as my default browser because it allows very quick and convenient transfers of information to DEVONthink from its Web browser as well, of course, from its Web search features. Although DEVONagent isn’t set up to create its own bookmark sets, it can import bookmark sets from Safari, Camino, Firefox and OmniWeb.

This is just a description of my own habits, which are tuned to repeated visits to a defined set of Web sites from which I want to capture information as efficiently as possible. :slight_smile: