Comparative review puts DEVONthink Pro ahead

See this article, “Comparing Spotlight to Grokker and DevonThink Pro” at

The article notes the interest in search applications such as Google Desktop for PCs and points out that Mac users have – or will soon have – comparable or better capabilities.

Three approaches to searches on Macs are discussed: Mac OS X 10.4 Spotlight, Grokker, and DEVONthink Pro.

The author does a fair job of demonstrating that DEVONthink Pro is more powerful than Spotlight or Grokker. Perhaps the major weakness of the article is that, in fact, DEVONthink Pro in beta form can already do things the author seems to think it can’t do! (As can DEVONthink PE 1.9.1, by the way.)

Take a look at this article. It will help you understand just how clever the DEVONtechnologies folk are. :smiley:

But which exactly are the things the author wrongfully supposes DT can’t do?

Hmm. The reviewer gets enough details wrong that I have trouble trusting any of it. For instance, DEVONthink does support Boolean search, and while I’m not sure what he means by natural language search, Dt has numerous features in support of “fuzzy spelling” and the like.

From the sound of it he didn’t grok Grokker at all and as for Spotlight, his confusing references to NDAs make me wonder whether he knows more than he says or he says more than he knows.

Personally I’ve seen so much speculation about Spotlight that I want to get my hands on it before jumping to any conclusions about how it compares to other tools.

– Prentiss Riddle

Actually I’m not sure it does. DEVONagent, on the other hand, does support boolean operators and other types of searches.

Nope… DT does not support boolean search operators.

I, too, was misled by the manual for 1.9.1 that I downloaded with the software. It certainly says that DT allows boolean searches, and I tried for an hour or more to get them to work.

But then I found this admission from DevonTechnologies.

Eric said back in October 2004 that the Manual had already been corrected. Well not that I can see. But even so, the Help embedded in DT 1.9.2 still says

I question the accuracy of DevonTech’s claim that DT has an ‘intelligent search’ function given that it does not allow the use of boolean operators (much less regex).

But I find this sort of information in the manuals and help is downright misleading. I can’t understand why it’s there at all … unless it was a feature that was planned but not included (and still hasn’t made it into Pro, by the sound of things).

My mistake. Thanks for the correction. I tried a boolean search on my little test collection and misinterpreted the results. That is, I searched for “foo”, for “bar”, and for “foo NOT bar” and assumed by the document counts that what I read in the manual was correct.

My bad and I apologize to the writer of the review – although I still won’t believe anything I read about Spotlight until it ships…

– Prentiss Riddle