Sorry if this seems like an angry post. I’m just disappointed because after trying so many of the applications discussed in Ted Goranson’s articles for ATPM, DT got close to being perfect for me! But unless I’ve missed something, I won’t be paying for it any time soon.
I’m really struggling to get to grips with DT’s relationship to my computer’s filesystem. It seems to integrate in a completely arbitrary, very complicated way, which is virtually useless to any application except DT itself.
Am I right in thinking this is how it works?
If I have ‘Copy files to database folder’ enabled AND the file I link to is an image or a PDF, a copy is made in ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONThink/Files (by default). That folder is maintained as a flat file, with no relation to the link’s position in the DT database.
This seems to me odd behaviour in two ways. Firtsly, why is a copy only taken for images or PDFs? Surely this is a useful feature for all links! Secondly, why doesn’t the Files folder nest its contents in the same way as the database?
I guess what I’m basically asking, is why isn’t the database completely transparent to the filesystem? Why doesn’t it work like, say, SkinkHunt Notes or iTunes?
When you import a file to these applications, a copy is made in an organized, hierarchy which corresponds to a real folder on the filesystem. When you create a document in either it is not added to some opaque database, but rather to the same filesystem hierarchy imported files are added to.
I can’t see why DT’s very sophisticated and attractive built-in editing features and use of metadata would preclude it working like this. In the case of iTunes it is still possible to index its hierarchy for quick searching and add metadata (play count, playlists, etc.) to an XML file stored separately from the Library. Doing it like this would be at no cost to users who work entirely within DT, and ignore the file system.
As it currently works, DT’s file-handling is virtually useless to me. It doesn’t store half the information I’d add to it in a useful way (by which I mean easily accessible from other applications), and the other half is stored in a big flat folder for no obvious reason.
If I were to use it, I’d just use it as a basic note-taker and outliner, and there are plenty of other applications that do that.It has the potential to be a great Finder replacement–a front-end to my Home folder AND an outliner/editor/manager of arbitrary information–but it’s unnecessarily crippled.
Mike Williams, a very confused potential DT user.