Global Inbox and the Interface of Beta 4

With the addition of the Global Inbox - very welcome it is too! - the DTP Office interface goes from bad to worse. Now when the Global Inbox is chosen, the open database column doesn’t close but remains open and empty. This just adds to the cluttered, inelegant interface which already blights DTP Office.

In addition to the welcome new features, please, please do something with the program’s interface. There seems to be no sense that elegant interface design and operability are inextricably intertwined!

I’m not sure what this should mean, I’m sorry.

I think that what drspk means is this: when in Three Pane View with the Sidebar revealed, on selecting the global inbox, you are presented with a central column (i.e., the folder hierarchy) that is empty, unless you have some folders in your Global Inbox.

That’s correct of course. One of the reasons why the icon view is my preferred view for the global inbox.

drspk, as hauntedtapedeck noted, the ‘blank’ column, seen in Three Panes view when the Global Inbox is empty or contains only files, is no longer blank when folders are received in the Global Inbox.

If one has dragged folders into the Global Inbox and then wishes to direct them to various database locations, the UI provides important information that would be lost if the often-blank column were removed from that interface.

So, rather than seeing an interface problem, I see information. In the Three Panes view, I can immediately tell whether or not there are folders in the Global Inbox that I haven’t yet moved into one of my databases.

Christian & Bill,

You have both focussed on the particular point raised by drspk. Fair enough. Now, any comments on his general point regarding the persistently inelegant user interface of DevonThink?

This issue has cropped up before in the fora, but I can’t remember anyone from the Devon team addressing it comprehensively. Sure there have been significant improvements, but DT 2.0 still creaks. At times it looks and feels more like a Windows application than I expected it would - or should - after all this time in development. (What’s it been? Four years now?)


My comments in a related topic. No feedback from DTech (yet).

I have adopted DTPO 2.x as my sole information management program after a long time of using DTPO 1.X and Together in combination. I really like and appreciate the new features in DTPO 2.x, but I agree that the UI still needs work. Frankly, I would be almost giddy if I had DTPO 2.x underlying AI, architecture and power merged with the overall style and simplicity of Together’s UI.

I’ll add my vote here - the latest release is much better than it was. in fact, it’s made me fall in love with the DT way of storing research again - and saying it’s like a windows app is very harsh. only windows apps are that bad.

i’m working on a laptop, and i’m sorry Bill, an empty pane is not ‘information’ for me - it’s a waste of precious screen space. perhaps there could be some kind of flag or badge on the inbox or folder icon showing that it’s empty, and have the pane close by default when it’s empty. would that be so difficult?

but pleasing interface design is not just a matter of ‘eye candy’ - stupid phrase - as some dismissively suggest. i have the same issue with OmniFocus, which i use, because of its power, but i hate its dreary interface, i would switch to ‘Things’ if it had OF’s functionality, because of the clarity of that app’s screen layout.

Devonthink needs a more dynamic appearance - take a look at Journler, it’s bright, attractive, and most importantly, elements of the interface are easy to customise.

i don’t want to sound like an ungrateful wretch (although i realise i probably do) DT 2 - with this update, has persuaded me to start using it again after a lengthy hiatus, but if i really think if the interface issue were addressed it would not only help us, the users, but would probably attract a good deal more custom to Devon Technologies.

Using this comment I found out that I had the “retain view” preference checked resulting in no “remember view associated with folder”. I think this is a better name for the preference; Microsoft uses something like this in Windows (“remember folder view” or something like that) rather than, “do not change view” which is the opposite.

I agree everyone regarding the interface concerns. I’ve long thought that the interface is the weakest part of the program. It’s why I switched around to a few other programs, although I’m considering switching back. However, in this case, try setting your view for the global inbox to ‘Split view’. That should give you an effective “Three pane view” with no empty column.


One of the next betas or the final release will not use the three panes view anymore by default but another view carved to best fit with the sidebar.


Ahh, to have the perfect balance between killer features and a UI that is pleasing to the eyes of all users. :smiling_imp:

I for one vote for emphasis on the killer features and fine-tuning those that are still a bit ragged, then go after the perfection of the UI. :laughing:


Eric, thanks for the preview of a particular feature. Much appreciated, as were Christian’s and Bill’s earlier contributions.

More broadly, any general comments on the UI or, better still, perhaps a response to the issues raised in this this thread and others (e.g. see sjk’s link above) on the state of the UI? Something from you would be especially welcome.

Herein lies one more difference between Mac users and our Windows brethren. Most Windows program users don’t get hot and bothered by UI issues; we Mac users all have an opinion and we’re like the tech version of the cliche about mothers: No UI is good enough for my Mac. :smiley:

For what it’s worth, I’d like to add my voice to those confused by the new layout. Moving items from the Global Inbox to a particular group does indeed appear to be far too complicated, as things stand.
I wonder if there isn’t a way to specify that the inbox of my default database is the one to use when I send material to DTP, unless otherwise instructed.


See Preferences > Import - Destination: choices are Select group, Global inbox, Current inbox.

‘Select group’ provides the most user options. Choose among open databases, and any group within the selected one, or create and name a new group within a chosen database.

‘Global inbox’ - New content is sent to the Global inbox.

‘Current inbox’ - New content is sent to the inbox of the frontmost database (including the Global inbox, if that view is frontmost).

These preferences do not, of course, affect destinations of content dragged into the Sorter, as the Sorter provides its own method of setting destinations.

Thanks. You’re right… select group seems to be best default.
Very good!


That will be a most welcomed addition. I too have many of the same concerns with the UI that have already been mentioned in this, and other, threads. I’ll be looking forward to the change.