Has anyone tried the new DevonThink eBook?


I have been using DT Pro for years now for scientific research, but I suspect that I am under-using some of its features.

The new eBook “Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2” looks promising.

Any reviews, esp. from almost- or wannabe- power users? :slight_smile:


PS- I found one reference to this book buried in another thread (without detailed reviews), but I figured feedback on the book deserved its own thread.

See e.g. devon-technologies.com/scrip … ss/?p=1068

I bought the book, and I’m a bit disappointed with it. The book is short, spends a great deal of time on very basic features, and (at least it seemed to me) frequently repeats itself. It’s probably helpful for new users, but I doubt advanced users will walk away with much.

I’d still like to see a DevonThink book that focuses on specific examples and usage scenarios rather than a laundry list of features.

I too bought the book, I would reply exactly the same than timlockridge, I’m also a bit disappointed. But as the book’s title suggest it is for beginners:" Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONTthink"

After listening to the MacVoices podcast interview with the author, I decided not to purchase the book because it simply sounded as if there was more knowledge in the forums.
That said, it does bring more visibility to DevonThink and hopefully more users (all boats rising with the tide).

I purchased the book and have to say that I am finding it very helpful. I don’t class myself as a ‘power user’, so I am finding the book a clear and logical explanation of the features of DevonThink.

I haven’t seen the eBook but would be grateful if it addresses and helps reduce repetition of certain “FAQ candidate” topics on the forum.

Yes, kind of - helpful. Doesn’t have an index though.

[edit - I have to change my less-then-glowing comment above to a more positive one. I’ve been experimenting with some of the new features, and the eBook does provide information that has helped me.
But I do have to disagree with the author’s suggestion that you stick to either groups or tags, but not both. That is unacceptable to me, since I use groups to hold collections of documents (e.g. all docs pertaining to a course I teach; exams, lectures, code, assignments…) and tags to identify topics a doc contains (e.g. a code file that is a demo of a project assignment might be tagged with “singleton” and “Hashtable” to identify topics the code involves. In experimenting with tags, I find a good relationship (so far) between groups and tags - not perfect, but workable.]

Why does one need an index in an ebook? Yes, I know that sometimes an index can be useful even in a computer-readable document.

But if you open this ebook in Preview (with the sidebar displayed), there are section bookmarks including a table of contents with clickable links and also Preview’s Find field.

The bookmarks and a search query interact in a useful way. For example, enter ‘drag’ as a query term. The bookmark sections list is now sorted by relevance (frequency with which the search term is found in that section). Play with this interaction between a query term and the ebook’s bookmarks.

“Why does one need an index in an ebook?”

When the ebook has been printed. There are many times I prefer a real book instead of a laptop.

You’ve got me there. A laptop isn’t all that great for reading books. Too heavy and awkward to hold.

But I’ve been buying all my new books for the Kindle for some time now, and Apple just sent me confirmation that my iPad will be delivered by 3 April. :slight_smile:

I’ve got thousands of books and lots of bookshelf space - but the shelves are filled now - and there really are advantages to a small, light ebook reader.

“and there really are advantages to a small, light ebook reader.”

I absolutely agree with you. I read my books on my iPod Touch and for years on my series of Palms. But with “technical” books, I find the Touch not as great as hard copy - especially when I add notes. But you are right, with the iPad, that will change things. It will be a hard sell with my wife (I finally got her on a Touch for reading and the web/emails). My idea is to first get her an iPad.

BTW - on another topic: I’ve just come back from a short stint with EagleFiler. It’s a nice app, but when comparing features with DTPO, and using both apps, DTPO has a whole lot going for it. (My reason for moving away in the first place - I did not see eye to eye with Devon’s definition of tags, and used the “closed” file structure as an added excuse. But with DT coming out of beta and the realization that I can bend the tag definition to better suit me along with the final features, I had to come back.P)

Yep; I bought the book and was very glad of it.

It doesn’t go deep but it does give a good basic orientation to DevonThink, which is needed the first few weeks :slight_smile:

My iPad arrived yesterday. It’s even more pleasant to use than I had expected. :slight_smile:

This is now the king of the hill among ebook readers. The only downside is that I’ve already spent big bucks downloading books.

Think DEVONpad!

Bill, keep us posted on how you find the screen for reading. Have seen a few posts online in various forums from some who feel it’s not quite as crisp as, say, a newish Macbook Pro.

I haven’t compared the specs on pixel size and density of the MacBook Pro and iPad screens, but you needn’t worry about the crispness of text on the iPad. I’ve already finished a book purchased from the iBook offerings and found it very comfortable (although I turn down the brightness a bit for reading, by comparison to looking at pictures and movies). The iPad screen is certainly crisper than my first-generation MacBook Pro’s screen.

Mail, Safari, Pages and Numbers for the iPad are familiar, although redone for the touchscreen environment. The onscreen keyboard is very usable, although I’ve ordered the wireless keyboard dock for heavy duty text entry.

Battery life is awesome, one of the features that has surprised me – more than.ten hours with WiFi turned on and running the iPad through all of it’s paces, including a full-length movie. Charge it at night and it’s good for a full day’s work on battery power, and then some.

Is it perfect? No. The screen is hard to read in direct sunlight. Worst of all, it doesn’t run full OS X Snow Leopard and doesn’t have a USB port, so I can’t install DEVONthink Pro Office and hook up a portable ScanSnap.

But watch for a mobile version of DEVONthink!

Glad to hear you’re excited about the iPad. It would be awesome to see a Devonthink version of the iPad.

Sorry, I have to disagree about the iPad: I think the PPI (pixels per inch) is lower (either truly or at least subjectively) than the PPI on an iPhone and/or on the MacBook Pros running at 1920 x 1200. I’ve looked at the iPad probably 5x so far in the store; and with my good glasses, the fonts are definitely ragged.

That said, I do think the book reader iBooks looks amazing. I just wish there were more font size choices (the iPhone Kindle app has five).

Sandy, I agree that the iPad display doesn’t have the resolution of my 27-inch iMac. That’s noticeable for the photos I’ve imported, which look good on the iPad but don’t have the full detail shown on the iMac (which is likely in part due to the ‘optimization’ of the photos by iTunes as they are synched to the iPad).

But as you said, the iBook reader on the iPad is “amazing” with very readable text — as is Amazon’s 7 April update of the Kindle app for iPad.

For the heck of it, and to get slightly back on topic, I uploaded the ‘In Control’ DEVONthink ebook to iDisk, then used the GoodReader app for iPad to download it. The ebook is very readable on the iPad in full-page portrait alignment. There’s not enough screen room for the bookmarks, but they are separately viewable by a button in GoodReader.

As the iPad has Bluetooth, I’m sitting in my gazebo out in the woods typing this post into the iPad, about 150 feet from my cabin and with a good WiFi signal.

Bottom line, I’m looking forward to DEVONpad to let me synch selected documents from my Mac DEVONthink Pro Office databases so that they will be available when I’m on travel, and synch back to the Mac database anything I’ve written or edited. I wasn’t satisfied with the iPhone as a practical mobile device for reading and creating documents, but the iPad fits that bill very nicely. The iPad is much lighter than my laptops and has a three-fold longer battery life in actual use, so it’s a great traveling companion.

It’s really quite amazing how many of us around the country immediately picked up on the potential of the iPad as a mobile device for bringing our research around with us. After getting mine a couple of weeks ago I quickly proceeded to load my 50+GB of data on to my iPad using GoodReader and a couple of other apps. While these apps are good, a “satellite” version of DT on the iPad would be a match made in heaven. Heavy duty document development and management could be done on one’s iMac, and DT on the iPad would permit us to have our research–literally 1000s of files–on a device that’s one and a half pounds. And I wouldn’t denigrate the display quality: it’s about the same resolution as a lot of laptops with 12" displays. Personally I’ve never seen a display of this quality in such a form factor, it’s simply amazing and provides a stunning window with which one has access to one’s files. I do hope we see such a DT tie-in, even a modest app, soon!