DTTG 2 and indexed files

May I ask, how will DTTG 2 handle indexed files? Will they behave as imported files on the iOS device? Will some inter-app facility of iOS be deployed to avoid duplication? We are facing a major conceptual challenge here, it seems to me. I’d appreciate a hint or two from the devs, as I need to take advantage of the summer recess to do my spring cleaning and reorganize my data. Thanks.

(This is assuming that DTTG 2 will finally emerge reasonably soon.)

I’m not sure what you mean here. Any precedents?

PS: You’re late. :mrgreen:

dt allows you to choose what you want / do not want replicated to the mobile sync. i am not sure what conceptual challenges there are here. you already have the power in your hands.

as for avoiding duplication of files, do you mean a situation in which you index files in a cloud service (dropbox) or files contained within another app synced to your device (simplenote)? i am unclear about what duplication there might be. using pdf readers as an example, none that i know of check dropbox or other apps (for example) to see if the files they have are replicated elsewhere, even though all of them sync through the cloud.

I knew I was being unclear but was hoping to get away with Sunday sloppiness. [What day is it?]
On the desktop, files indexed by DevonThink are accessible to any app, because the file resides directly in the filesystem and is not in a DevonThink database. On iOS, files reside in app sandboxes that would make such functionality difficult if not impossible. How do you plan to approach this hurdle?

Fashionably so :wink:

Yes, this is the sort of scenario I had in mind. To specify it further, my DevonThink database does not reside in Dropbox (which makes an unsafe location for this purpose, as has been documented elsewhere on this forum). My PDFs however are all drawn from a Dropbox folder and merely indexed by, not imported into, DevonThink. This allows me to use the AI facilities of DevonThink without locking my PDFs inside its proprietary database.

I am imagining that DTTG could provide comparable, if not identical, functionality by acting as a document provider for other iOS apps through the iOS Document Picker. Conceivable? Feasible? Sensible? I cannot help wondering, as I begin to like my tablet more than any Mac I’ve ever owned, and the upcoming multitasking features of iOS 9 give me more than enough material for dreamwork.

Document Picker would be interesting. But (informal survey of just me) it seems that there was a rapid run-up applications that used Document Picker right after it came to market, and then not much more happened. Maybe instead of Document Picker it would be interesting if DTTG could sync with the Dropboxes of the world – like GoodReader does. I.e., if DTTG could index these cloud repositories then there would be a use case that would eliminate the need to sync DTTG with the desktop – and all the seemingly fraught baggage that the sync process has created over the years.

I am wandering off the reservation. Sorry, @macula.

Good points, @korm. I never quite understood why Document Picker adoption tapered off; to my mind, it was one of the most promising architectural changes in iOS8. Anyhow, the worst approach to the issue would be to efface the distinction between imported and indexed files on the mobile platform. Granted, the problem is thorny. Perhaps a radical measure is in order for the sake of consistency and elegance; for instance, a requirement that all indexed documents be located exclusively in the iCloud drive or Dropbox, where paths can be easily and consistently translated between iOS and OSX.

I cannot see this as a mere detail, in any case. No intention to sound alarmist, but it could be a determining factor for the success or failure of DT(TG) in the long run.

There is no distinction. That’s not the way IOS works.

This is my point exactly: the distinction cannot be maintained [in any straightforward way] across platforms because of their architectural differences. Let’s assume that DevonThink on the Mac indexes a Markdown file that is located in my Dropbox. I then sync to DTTG on iOS, which pulls the synced file from the DT database (not from Dropbox) into the DTTG sandbox. At that point, my iOS device contains two physical instances of my Markdown file. This means that I need to remember not to ever edit that file directly using any other iOS app linked with Dropbox (e.g. Editorial.app or Byword.app), or I run the risk of conflicts, if not data corruption, syncing in the opposite direction, from iOS back to the desktop.

As I said, based on my limited understanding I can only imagine two solutions to this mess: either restrict indexing to files located in iCloud/Dropbox; or use DocumentPicker-like solution.

in that case, you don’t sync those indexed files to dttg.

you’d encounter a similar problem if you tried modifying a file in byword and notesy at the same time. or, on the mac, in bbedit and devonthink at the same time. i don’t see any conceptual hurdle here. users simply need to be careful how they handle their data if they are indexing.

But if you don’t sync these files to DTTG several x-devonthink links will break and database search results will be far more limited than on the desktop, severely constraining the power of the mobile app compared to its desktop counterpart. If DTTG is envisioned simply as a “briefcase” for carrying a small subset of imported (not indexed) documents within one’s mobile device, then I rest my case. I was under the impression however that the roadmap is more ambitious.

In my scenario I was not editing a document on two apps “at the same time” but consecutively. In that case, editing a file in Byword and then continuing in Notesy poses no problems because the two apps stay in sync via Dropbox. They effectively work on the same physical file, not two separate copies thereof. Replace either Byword or Notesey with DevonThink in this scenario, however, and you run the serious risk of ending up with two different versions of the file: one stored locally in DTTG and another synced instantly to Dropbox. The two iOS apps have no way of syncing their contents, much as the file is supposed to be “indexed”, therefore external to the DTTG database. Thus, when the user returns to his desktop system and syncs DTTG with DevonThink for Mac, the two versions will clash because they both refer to the same DevonThink-indexed file in the OSX filesystem. Beyond DevonThink, this is precisely the issue that iCloud drive and the Document Picker address, among other solutions.

Your admonition about the user’s responsibility is well-taken. My suggestions here are only intended as opportunities for improving the product.

good points.

i think, in the end, we are looking more at the limitations of ios than devonthink. sync across multiple devices seems to be a very thorny problem that i don’t think anyone has solved yet to my satisfaction, and it gets especially frustrating with ios. i used to use ios a lot – i wrote my dissertation on it and easily relied on it more than my mac for a time. but, i kept running up against problems, and i have pretty much given up on it for sustained use. i use it every day for reading, writing, and teaching, but it is targeted use and i always have the macbook on hand just in case something goes wrong (my favorite ios8 / ipad air 2 problem is the random reboot).

i share your hope that something can be done, but i’d just be happy with a dttg 2 that smooths out the rough edges in dttg 1. anything more is icing on the cake :slight_smile:

Christopher says above: “sync across multiple devices seems to be a very thorny problem that i don’t think anyone has solved yet to my satisfaction, and it gets especially frustrating with ios.”

Sync-ing via dropbox doesn’t work for me, and I have given up on it. I am now going to experiment with local sync store. Soon I will be away on a trip to the archives for three weeks in August, and plan to carry my databases on a USB drive. I will work on and add to the USB databases and then when I am back, I will delete the local databases on my iMac and copy the updated ones from my USB.

Is this a good plan? If not, could you please suggest something better?

Many thanks!

I wouldn’t necessarily put the databases on the USB drive (though you could). I would work off the internal drive but Sync to a local syncStore on the USB drive. Other than that, I think it sounds like a great plan. Have a good trip! :smiley:

Thanks, Jim! I understand.


the local sync via a thumb drive works nice (the recommended local sync store). if you are going to visit archives (a historian?) i strongly recommend a mac rather than the ipad. if anything goes wrong you’ll lose everything with ios, because it doesn’t have a backup. i usually take a camera, photograph documents, save the camera data onto my computer, and then backup that data onto an external drive (obviously, dt would work well in this scenario). ideally, if you have an internet connection, you can also sync with a cloud service like spideroak or dropbox.

For this case, I use the recently updated Scanner Pro app on iPad or iPhone (depending on where I am) – which does an excellent job of automatically adjusting the crop to the page size – and I have it configured to send every saved “scan” to Dropbox. It can be configured to do the same with iCloud, OneDrive and others. I index that folder on my Mac at the office and move the indexed images into a database. The folder where Scanner Pro uploads the images can also be indexed in Good Reader if you wanted to take notes or annotate the images while away from the office.

Sorry for the long sidebar – I wanted to augment F’s suggestion.

good idea. i think it depends on the quality of photo’s you are taking. in my case, a lot of sixteenth-century manuscripts are in poor shape or are rather difficult to decipher, so it helps to have a high resolution, dedicated camera (often attached to a stand the archives have handy for researchers). for less troublesome materials, such as a book published in recent decades, i cannot recommend scanner pro enough. if you tend to use it a lot, you might want to consider signing up for their beta program as well in order to gain early access to features.

My archival photography method is quite similar to Frobgoblin’s. Tried and tested since 2003!
Use my ipad mostly for reading papers and marking student papers but never for archival work.

Am new to Devon. Let’s see how this works out.