Automatic DC system, is that possible with only smart rules?

Hi, there, I adopt a decimal system in my Resources group. What I’d like to achieve is to use smart rules to give every new group under this group a numbering. So the final group structure would be:



The idea is to build a 3-to-4-level structure and every time I create a group at the third or fourth level, a decimal system ID will be generated automatically. The problem is on the fourth level, how could make it inherit the ID from the third level group.

Like the third level group is 31.1-XXXX, and I want to automatically make the first group at fourth level 31.1.1-XXXX, is there anyway to do that?

You could get the name of the parent group in a script and then change it to whatever for the new group you create. All that in a script, since a Smart Rule doesn’t have access to the current group’s name.

But don’t all these leading numbers hamper readability of the group name?

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Sounds like a LOT of work, and I wonder what the benefits would be. I can see why a library with physical books and physical shelves would adopt it, but is it useful in a digital world? Particularly given the capabilities of DEVONthink when it comes to searching and classifying.

Each to their own, of course, but I’ve looked at Johnny Decimal, and decided it was not for me.


My folders are arranged like this. I type the numbers myself though, it only takes 2 seconds whenever I am making a new group. Seems like you’d spend more time scripting this (and discussing it on the forum) than you’d ever gain by not typing it yourself.

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Are you actually using the Johnny Decimal system, and using it effectively, i.e., organizing, finding, and accessing the desired documents?

Is that question to OP or me?

I’m going to answer anyway :grimacing:

I don’t think either I or OP said we were using Johnny Decimal. I’m not. My file system is numerical and I definitely stole bits I liked from JD (as I also did from library systems, etc.). I mostly just use numbers so that I can have my groups arranged to my own preference, and so that there’s a clear hierarchy as I navigate. I mostly navigate via my groups so it works well for me.

Such a system lends itself to some nice little quirks. E.g. I occasionally have minor folders nested 3-4 folders deep that don’t have a number. They only get a number when they get promoted to a “official” topic. It allows me to distinguish between emerging topics and things I’ve made “official”.

Another example is sometimes I will promote a subfolder so that it’s on the same level as its parent folder. This indicates to me that a topic has grown in priority but still belongs to a parent group.

So e.g. folder 30.05. might be sitting next to folder 30.05.02. I can see the two are related, but they’ve been raised to the same level.

Anyway I think a lot of this is personal taste. I don’t tend to use search for finding a specific file - I know where it is. I use search for researching and thinking.

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To the OP.
So you don’t use the numbers in searching. It just forms structure for you visually.