Devon "Search"?

I am wondering, given the absolute excellence of DTPO, why DevnoTechnologies (DT) doesn’t create a complementary product that will quickly search the hard drive using a custom index.

Although DT’s EasyFind is a suitable Spotlight replacement for (very, very) basic searches, it does not use an index and is thus so slow it can’t really be used in production contexts. Also, EasyFind forces you to “know” or do successive (possibly slow) searches whether you’re looking for a file name, file contents, etc.

And, as I was told by DT support, DTPO is not meant as a Spotlight replacement. (What and where to use DTPO’s “Index” feature is somewhat confusing then.)

I’ve been looking for a long time for a real Mac search tool that would find EVERY File and find them fast. Foxtrot Professional Search is an example of such a tool, but I found a serious bug in their current version (5.0.2). Plus, the the company does not seem to be very responsive.

The other “Spotlight Front-ends” are disappointing since they don’t find files not indexed by Spotlight … and that’s a lot of them (not indexed or found, that is).

For example, try to find a Java installation on your Mac. Spotlight won’t find it. Or, try to find a string “inside” a plist inside an “app” file in your /Applications folder. Spotlight won’t find it. DTPO won’t find it - even if you index your /Applications folder. (ok, DTPO isn’t a substitute for Spotlight. Check.)

We clearly need a tool suited for these searches.

I therefore hope DT creates a complementary product to DTPO soon (and that I’m not the only one who wants to see such a cool new product)!


  • m

There’s already such a product ( … rview.html) although its primary usage scenario is a different one (finding related files). But…

…neither DEVONthink nor DEVONsphere Express can find every file (e.g. files in packages or hidden files aren’t indexed).

I don’t know about those kinds of files, but I’d say that Spotlight and its front ends (I especially like HoudahSpot) cover a huge swath of use cases. DT would be entering a competitive space with lots of established, excellent players. I don’t know if the effort would be worth it for them.

As much as I like DT’s search capabilities, and I am generally satisfied, it’s actually not as powerful as others out there, so I think they’d also have some catching up to do. Something like BBEdit crossed with HoudahSpot would be amazing. But, indexing independently from Spotlight? That seems like a lot of work reinventing the wheel.

I’m not saying that the need isn’t genuine. I don’t know. But, I’m much more interested in the next version of DT getting developed (improved search capabilities?) and DTTG 2 (hopefully, much better search capabilities) getting released. They already have a lot on their plates. In other words, my only argument against it would be a resource one, but I guess only DT folks know how to best allocate resources.

You might get more traction with Foxtrot, who are much more invested in search.

Whenever I want to search packages I fire up Find Any File. Houdah and Foxtrot are great, but FAF is minimalist and quick for many cases.

Right, but FAF or EasyFind will take a lot of time to search for information where FTPS is nearly instantaneous.

Since DTPO already does this incredible indexing, it seems like a natural complementary product - again, I would agree, DT programming resources dependent.


  • m

Short answer: No.

What exactly do you have in mind?

Spotlight and DEVONtech’s search are two very different technologies, so I’d find it hard to draw a close comparison between them.

Bear in mind that all Spotlight enabled apps are standing on the shoulders of the giant, not along side it. (This is also the Achilles heel when the index is corrupt or an md process goes zombie.)

DEVONsearch is built for its own index and made not just for simple filename / content matching, but for data relationships as well. Neither Spotlight and it’s children or FoxTrot can do the same thing.

If anything (and Criss can punish me later :mrgreen: ), I would love to see fully supported REGEX in DEVONsearch capabilities.

Makes me shudder :mrgreen:


This is why I was proposing (hoping) that DT could create a complementary product that does what FTPS does, but hopefully better. DT’s support is awesome … hence my desire to see this product.

I’m still confused why I would use DTPO’s “index” feature if not to index-and-then-search a file system, but that’s a small tangential point.


  • m

Well, if I understand the REGEX request correctly, it would be something like that :slight_smile:

Ideally, I’d go to the main search bar without having to pull up the separate search window, I’d type in a GREP string of some kind and have the results appear on the main screen, filtering files as I go along adding to the string. This would look a little like how Evernote handles its searches, though hopefully with a much larger search grammar (that’s where BBEdit comes in).

The nice thing about this is that it would cut down a bit on the need to organize by tags, groups, etc. If you filter by searches (and save those search strings), you don’t need so much effort in organizing. Smart folders currently work a little bit like this, but again, without the level of complexity I’d like to see.

By the way, this is only a wish list. I’m actually pretty pleased with how everything works now in DT. I only mention this search thing because it feels a little clumsy how it is currently off in another window instead of being front and center (the search grammar would make it possible to have in the main window) – this ends up affecting all kinds of things like how you handle organization. Even if any changes are made, I’m likely to use multiple apps for searching, because I find they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and I like to be able to sift through my data in a lot of different ways. I don’t expect one app to be able to do everything.

A future release will simplify & revise the search interface and extend the search syntax. I guess you’ll like it :mrgreen:

Are there any estimates about when the next version of DTPO will be released - say, even which calendar year that release might happen?



The standing answer to all questions about when a new feature or release will appear is always “We don’t predict the time of release”. :slight_smile: