DT's biggest shortcoming

When it is time to be at a computer, DT is the centerpiece of my workday and personal interests. Collecting, organizing, researching, extending: all of these are excellent features. DT 2 is more enabling than DT 1, and I anticipate that the remaining features that will bring DT to the end of the beta phase will be equally helpful. However, as more data collects inside my databases, the biggest shortcoming becomes more obvious. The shortcoming is the ability to invoke the powerful potential of the DT database to RE-organize.

On one level, reorganization is possible in small steps. The “AI” lets me select this one thing and see what piles it might belong to. But I can’t select a pile of things and see what other piles it relates to. To speedily create collections without physically moving things around (the key is “speedily”). For example, we can do a “see also” and make a replicant group of those things, but it’s a two step process that requires a pre-existing group to which the replicants are sent, and it’s still limited to the model: show me how this one thing relates to a bunch of other stuff. In that one respect, in my personal opinion, the AI interface stops at around 2002. I’m confident the database has the subtle connections that would enable a more robust interface. I hope that the DT team is thinking of the future Version 3 and beyond, where the more robust interface is possible.

What is “more robust”? These things: tools to investigate many-to-many and many-to-one relationships in my data, not only one-to-many. Tools that rely on the data itself and not metadata like tags (metadata is stateful by definition - data exploration should be stateless). Transparency in the AI so that I can easily see and tweak the factors that go into the “score”. AI that depends not on the piles of things I’ve already made (groups) but on the intrinsic features and relationships within the documents and between the documents. Tools that suggest new categories and collections. Tools that work across databases, even if a database is not open (ok, that might be going a bit too far, but it’s a nice thought). Much easier abilities to create and destroy relationships on the fly. (A simple but powerful partial step in this direction would be to change replicate/duplicate/move to prompt for, and create, a new group rather require pre-existing groups). Beyond these, there’s the possibilities of visualization, but that might also be beyond the definition of DT.

I firmly believe that Eric, Christian, Annard, Bill and the rest of the DT team have very successfully met their publicly stated objectives with DT 2, even as it stands with PB 7. It’s not only best in class, it is the class. Because of that, I’m confident that there can be a DT 3 that vastly expands the capabilities and shoves the “AI” well beyond what any Mac app has delivered thus far.

Thank you for the nice feedback! The next steps after the final of DEVONthink/note 2.0 are DEVONagent 2.5 and DEVONxyz 1.0, afterwards a lot of things are possible and depend heavily on feedback/requests.

By the way, DEVONxyz is of course not the actual name :wink:

Implied replication and virtual groups. :exclamation:

I agree. Although the AI has been much applauded, there has been no visible progress on that side. For example in all the programs I sifted through : Notebook, Notetaker, Eagle Filer, Voodoopad, Journaler , Together and others none have the possibility for example for a “Highlight and Gather” feature which does not need an AI engine . Why can’t I automatically have all my highlighted notes gather in a seperate page ? Why not a page for each color ? Skim does this but only for pdf’s .
Second, DT 3 ? I look forward to it …but my guess it will be not before 4 year (1 year beta and a year to 18 months programming for DT3 and similar timeframe get other DT products out and updated ) . This is a long time. A shorter time frame (1 year) with focus on AI overhaul would be great even at the expense of letting other products linger .

Third, I am not sure if the DT team is going to spread themself thin, is there really a need for three versions of DT or can this be streamlined .

Please take this in the manner it is intended to be , there is no other real competitors to DT , but with all the great features , much more has to be done to give it a truly great leap.

Yeah, Kahlid that’s why I wrote in another post:

I’m trying to use DT beta demo. I’ve read a lot of lit on the app, and how it compares to others of its kind.

I’d really like to make DT AI work for me, but the more I think about it (and use it) the more I’m not confident about the linchpin: setting up an intelligent, appropriate folder hierarchy. DT screencasts say the more you folder and subfolder the more AI works on down the line; and you don’t need to drag new content into folders, as the AI will do it for you. Sounds good, but what about files that include desperate content of paragraphs and quotes that can (and should) be filed in various subfolders? So much for AI doing the work for you