Drop box / Quick entry?

Perhaps this request has been addressed elsewhere in the forum – or (more likely) the functionality already exists and I haven’t yet discovered it:

I’d love for DT to have some sort of “Drop Box” folder that lives on my dock, that I can dump stuff into – ideally with a tagging option – without having the whole DT program running. Journler has this, and it’s my favorite aspect of the program; for everything else, DT is far better. I work off a MacBook so I try to keep as few programs running as necessary – but I want the fastest possible entry point for DT. I know there’s a widget, but that’s on the Dashboard, an extra step away. I’m looking for immediacy. Again, maybe it’s there already and I’ve missed it? All suggestions welcome …

Did you have a look at the import droplet, see folder Extras > Scripts > Droplets on the disk image?

Thank you! Interesting and potentially handy, but not fully intuitive (at least for a non-intuitive person like myself). For example, the Help instructions for the droplet script says

… but when I place the droplet on my Dock and then an import item onto it (a webpage, say), nothing happens. Should I have installed it in a specific folder somewhere? Also, I’m not sure I understand the functional difference between the import droplet and the folder-action approach.

The folder-action approach works better, but only imports if DTP is running and a database is open; otherwise the import items just sit in the folder. My ideal is to have DTP not running most of the time, and have an import folder that imports as soon as the program is opened. Of course, the import folder would also need the ability to know which database (if I have more than one) to import to. It’d also be nice, when dropping things into the import folder, to add comments and tags right then, rather than wait til I rediscover them in DTP.

I guess I’m probing at a deeper interface issue. As I say, Journler (also Together) do the import thing quite easily and elegantly, so it must be possible. DT 2.0?

Put a folder on your desktop (or anywhere, or use an alias) and name it whatever your want. In as many DT databases as you wish, import that folder. Give it a name or put characters in front of the group name to move it to the top of your group list, if you want. So, drop whatever you want into that folder. When next you open the relevant database(s), sync the folder.

This does the same thing as the Journler drop box - which is just a particular folder that Journler polls - except for the manual synching. (Some adept scripter could automate that piece too.)


One problem I’ve discovered with this approach (and also with the Import droplet option) involves text clipped from a Safari page. If I clip (i.e. cut and paste, drag and drop) directly from Safari into my open DTP database, the new entry retains the URL. But if I clip and drop it into an import-to-DTP folder and import it later, the URL is gone. That’s a crippling loss for me. Most of the time I want DTP closed, to save system resources – but I want a ready drop-box to dump stuff (web text, archived webpages, pdfs, whatever) into as I come across it, to enter into DTP at some future point, with a record of their origins safely preserved. Seems like a simple UI fix to add (I say, knowing nothing about creating such things :wink: ). In the interim, frankly, I find myself not using DTP at all, simply because the barrier to faithfully enter what I want, when I want, is still so high…

tzero, you raise some good points.

Like you, I want clippings from Web pages to retain the source URL. But that information isn’t retained if I save the clipping to a Finder folder, or to that folder’s icon in the Dock.

Like you, I have multiple databases, and at times – especially when I’m doing a lot of scanning/OCR of paper documents – I’d like to have a convenient way of collecting the resulting PDFs in different “boxes” for subsequent firing off to different databases.

I understand your point about resource use. My ModBook (an Axiotron custom tablet Mac based on a MacBook) has 4 GB RAM. But earlier MacBooks and MacBook Pros were limited to a maximum of 2 GB RAM, and many DEVONthink users have less than 2 GB RAM. A big DT Pro/Office database can soak up a lot of memory resources. Even with 4 GB RAM I don’t want to have a big database open while I’m doing photo editing in Aperture 2 and moving photos into a video project.

The forthcoming new versions of the DEVONthink applications will handle a lot of things differently than the 1.x versions. But that’s then, and you are looking for a solution now.

So here’s one of my workarounds that might be useful to you, in two parts:

  1. Create a new database. Create groups in it corresponding to your working databases. Its purpose will be to let you collect data intended for subsequent distribution to your working databases (I don’t try to include the organizational schema of each database, just the top level name). Because it will be empty or small most of the time, it will open very rapidly and will not use up significant memory resources. If you wish, make this your default database. Now if will be available at any time for adding new content, but will leave lots of RAM for your other open applications.

  2. Use the floating Groups panel for collection of clippings from Web pages or excerpts of other documents. Set Preferences > General - Interface so that the option to Hide the Groups panel when inactive is NOT checked. Minimize the Groups panel to the Dock. Now, whenever you wish to use it to import a clipping or Finder file and place it into the proper group, click on the Group panel icon in the Dock and drag the new item(s) into the appropriate group. Source URLs of Web clippings will be preserved.

When running scan/OCR on paper copy I send the searchable PDFs to the top level of this database. Later, I’ll file the PDFs into the groups representing their target databases.

Periodically, I’ll export the groups as folders into the Finder. Associated metadata will be maintained, such as Comment fields and URLs. Then I can open each database in turn and import the contents of its corresponding Finder folder (including the DEVONthink_storage file). When that task is complete, housekeeping consists of deleting those temporary export folders in the Finder, and deleting the contents of the groups in the “collecting” database, so that it’s ready for future use.

Yes, it’s a “ritual dance” workaround, introducing new steps into your database procedures. :slight_smile:

But this approach can be useful when RAM resources get tight.

It can also be useful to those who are running a database with copies on multiple computers. Using the “collection” database on your laptop can save time and effort to synchronize the database content on your desktop computer, especially if you are gathering new material destined for multiple databases. Or vice versa. I find this especially useful for updating databases on two computers when I’m doing a lot of scans.

Many thanks, Bill, I’ll try that approach. (I’d not noticed the floating Groups box option before, that’s handy to know about.) Incidentally, the DTP script “Copy Selection To…” (which works only when DTP is open) likewise doesn’t retain the URL of web clippings. The script “Copy Selection To Incoming” does retain the URL, but it adds an “Incoming” group to my database–annoying but manageable.

In addition to multiple databases and limited RAM, I’ve also got limited real estate on my screen, as I travel a lot and work mostly off my MacBook. So shuffling between windows (even with a utility like Spaces or You Control Desktops) to enter stuff into DTP is a serious hassle and barrier. The quick-entry dropbox – jeez, even freeware like Punakea has one; how difficult can it be to build? – is sorely needed and overdue. Like many here, I await the promised land of 2.0. But patience is a terrible thing to waste. Perhaps someone on high could give us an updated timetable?

To provide some of the functions of a dropbox, I’ve been using a folder in my dock with the “Import Action” script attached. I also use the Hoffman/Mosby’s Scripts, but I’d really love it if DT 2.0 could pull all those together. So, for example, if I dragged a textclipping from a browser onto the dropbox in the dock, it would be imported with the URL info intact. I’d be even happier if some of these functions were available with a keyboard shortcut.

I’ve been playing with Shovebox and I really like the way I can import textclippings with a keyboard shortcut from any application and Shovebox stays quietly in the background. I also like its QuickJot window I can pull up with a keyboard shortcut, make a quick note, hit enter, the note is recorded, and the window goes away.

Have you tried DEVONthink’s Services menu commands? They also import selected text with a single key stroke, including the URL.

Seen the Dashboard widget that does exactly this? You can find it on the DEVONthink disk image in the Extras folder.

Thanks, I forgot about this.

I don’t really like dashboard. Whenever I pull it up, the widgets cover the window I need to see when typing a note.