Change the default search type in DTPO web interface

While the DTPO web interface is great, I’m not sure why the default search mode is “Exact comparison”, which is case-sensitive. Typically I want to search in Fuzzy mode.

To change this, edit the html start page. It’s buried deep in the DEVONthink files:

/Applications/DEVONthink Pro Office/DEVONthink


(Any time you hit an impasse, control-click on the file and choose “Show package contents”.)

Open the file in a plain text editor, search for “Comparison” and you’ll see the following:

Simply move the " checked" down to the “Fuzzy” line, as shown here:

(For aesthetic purposes, you could reorder the lines as well.)

Save, close, and restart DEVONthink to see the change reflected.

Quick follow-up: you can change the DEVONthink Pro logo to go home instead of to the DEVONthink product page by modifying the following files: error, index, html. Replace the full link (“”) with a single slash ("/").

(DEVONthink folks: I have no problem keeping a link to the product page in the web interface, but it needs to be a lot smaller. I found myself clicking the logo repeatedly when trying to get to the main page … and rather than training myself to accommodate a weird UI feature, I decided to change that feature instead.)

Good hint, thanks.

UI comment – that logo isn’t the logo of the DEVONtechnologies home page, but of the DEVONthink applications. So the embedded link in the logo leads to information about DEVONthink. As many people using browsers to access a database may not have DEVONthink, that link can take them to information about the document manager that’s holding the data they access. Some of those users may be on Windows computers. Maybe we can help convert them to Macs – and sell them DEVONthink. :slight_smile:

Those comparisons (Exact, no case, Fuzzy) are listed in order of decreasing specificity, and so also in order of decreasing search speed.

There are references to people with the last name “Swift” in my database. Assuming I’m using All and All Words and the query “Swift”, here are the actual results of searches using the various comparisons:

Exact 56
no case 122
Fuzzy 1,340

If I’m looking for a person’s name, I remember the last name is Swift, but can’t recall the first name, the Exact comparison would produce the most compact, yet richest set of search results for that purpose. Of course, that Exact search also included documents referring to Swift & Company, and one that had a sentence beginning “Swift switching…”.

Of course, it would be still better if I could formulate that query like this:
Swift AND NOT (“Tom Swift” OR “Jonathan Swift”)
That would produce a still more compact, richer set of results. :slight_smile:

The selection of the options for Search, Operator and Comparison depends on what one wishes to accomplish, and also on one’s knowledge (or guess) about the content within the database.

dbyler, the trick for altering the default was clever, especially if one uses a different comparison more frequently. :slight_smile:

I was momentarily confused when I did a search on DTPO’s web interface. For whatever reason (bad habits?), I always type my searches as lower case. I typed in a proper name and got no results, then switched to DTPO, typed the same thing, and got the expected results. I was somewhat confused, given that DTP’s application search defaults to fuzzy, IIRC.

I asked my wife how she typically searched, and she responded that she generally capitalized proper person names automatically but did not do so for proper place names or other usages where capitals occur. I told her that DTPO’s web interface defaulted to being case-sensitive, and she made a face :slight_smile:

I appreciate the usefulness of the Exact search, especially if someone is doing a search over the Internet, or if multiple people are searching at the same time. So I agree with your reasoning, Bill :slight_smile: I also don’t want DEVONtechnologies to feel like they need to hold the user’s hand. I hate patronizing interfaces.

One thing I’d suggest, though, would be to embed a notice that the search was case sensitive in the page in case zero results are returned (or perhaps on all searches using the Exact method). Or, which might be even better, replace the “Search” gray text in the search field with “Exact (Case Sensitive)” or something similar.

On the logo topic, I agree with dbyler that, in search pages at the very least, the top-left logo should lead back to the main page. It’s something I’ve come to expect from websites – that on any given page, there’s probably going to be an image or logo in the upper left hand corner that leads back to the main page.

I don’t (at all) have a problem with a “Powered by DEVONthink Pro Office” link or anything like that. I also understand that there might be a trademark dilution issue if DTPO’s shell is being used to refer to my database, and dbyler’s, and everyone else who comes along. And I really like the way the web interface is laid out, and don’t want you to take the images away completely :imp:

So I dunno. Maybe I’ll just have to make a point of retraining myself and the wife not to click the big colorful thingy.

Well argued. I probably do most searches as “no case”. But as some of the place names I look for will give better results if capitalized, I’ve gotten in the habit of capitalizing place names. Let’s see. There’s Grand Rapids, Thousand Oaks, Little Rock, French Lick, Baton Rouge… (A Phrase operator works, too.) For those place names, an Exact Phase search will be faster than a no case Phrase search.

If I enter “twain” I probably want to find something about Mark or scanners, but not both at the same time.

Take a look at DT Pro Office’s Concordance. Terms are indexed by case. So the terms “twain”, “Twain” and “TWAIN” are each indexed – and DEVONagent keeps tracks of which of those terms are in which documents. Especially for multi-term searches, specifying case can sometimes make a thousandfold faster search in DT 1.x.

If I want to find stuff about that all-too-loose standard for scanners, I will be better off doing an Exact search for TWAIN, than a Fuzzy search for twain. See these actual results:

Exact - 17 results in 0.0106 seconds – all relevant
Fuzzy - 557 results in 1.3451 seconds. – 3 out of 1st 10 relevant

Here’s a kludge. If you have been doing a series of searches and want to get back to the start search page, click on the Bonjour button in the toolbar.

Soon… :wink:

Good points, all.

Re: Search modes: I agree that there’s great utility in having the specific search modes… and I’m definitely glad for that. I was just glad to find an easy way to change the default, since I rarely use Exact.

Re: site link – I’m not going to dispute the value of having a link to DEVONthink product information – I think that’s certainly an important thing, especially for non-DEVONthink users. I’m just saying the natural impulse for me is to ‘click the big icon’ to go to the top-level page… and as a DEVONthink owner/user, I can think of no conditions under which I’d actually want to click through to the product page.