How do not open databases that were open last time

I could see starting from the commandline - though it’s a far nerdier option than most Mac users would explore - but again, this behavior was changed in response to User requests / feedback / etc. The Close All was also added in similar fashion.

While the majority rule doesn’t always win - sometimes the request isn’t feasible or is volatile, or sometimes the majority is, well wrong :mrgreen: - if a decision is weighted to one side over another, we do consider that in our development.

Things like this are like auto-save.

“You should save my files for me!! What if I forget?!?”
“Don’t forget. It’s your responsiblity to not forget. I’m just a computer.”
Days later… User makes a very bad change to the file and it… saves.
“ARGGH!!##*&^$@ Stupid auto-save saved my changes! My file!!!”
“Umm… you told me I should always save your documents, didn’t you?”

Having run production departments for many, many years: these things are the responsibility of the User.

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You mean that do not make allowances for user’s fickleness and downright stupidity, and you do not have the ability to read their minds? What have I paid all this money for? :unamused: :wink: :exclamation:

Yes, but we could wrap that script with Platypus into an app that could be docked permanently. One could even give it an ammonite-style icon :smiley:

But I completely agree with your other sentiments. I only posted this scheme to demonstrate that there is always some way to augment DT with scripts. Most of the time, that’s less ideal than a built-in function, but if there is none, it’s still a great help.

Opening all documents that were open on last run is, I believe, not always appropriate to an application like DEVONthink. For Pages, or Mellel, or apps where you are creatively working on several small documents, it’s appropriate. But for applications where you use huge documents that take a very long time to open, and where they are used as reference rather than for creation, then it is no longer appropriate.

Some people use DT for creative work on small documents, fine. But some don’t. This the essence of why one creates configuration options.

Somewhere in the code, just before exit, a list of files is being persisted somewhere so that DT can reopen those files on restart. I’m asking for a checkbox with some code that says, “If checked, delete this list before persisting it”.

How about we get some feedback from the developers on whether this is feasible/desirable, rather than saying that because some users want DT to reopen files, that means it’s best for everyone?


Though my boss - the Lead Developer - can chime in, I am speaking on behalf of the company on this.

Don’t have that many fingers :smiley:

Haha! It is a bit of a contortion! :wink:
(I actually have gotten used to it though - when I need it.)

Now we’re full circle to alanshutko’s comment: Re-assigning that command to something easier, maybe even Cmd-Q (I know that pvonk is jesting).

Final remarks, jwiegley, before I retreat form this thread:

  1. I do not mind the option that you demand, it’s certainly useful and you have a good argument.

  2. Bluefrog does speak for the company, so we know what their opinion is.

  3. In terms of support from other users, a thread like this one is indeed a good gauge of how popular a feature request is. I’ve seen numerous threads where comments like “I"m in favour”, “sign me up”, “yup” pile up. In this particular case, this has not happened.

  4. Why did it not happen? Not sure, it’s certainly a useful feature. One suspicion I have is that the tone of a thread has something to do with it as well.

Over and out.

I am glad I found this thread.

I would like to add my vote and say that I also would like the option to be introduced (or re-introduced). I may be mistaken, but I could swear that there used to be an option of choose that at launch if I wanted to (1) reopen the database(s), (2) open a specific database, or (3) open no database.

While I would agree that it is a great idea to simplify Preferences, I would argue that the option to choose the launch behaviour would be very useful. I used to prefer the (1) option (i.e. reopen all the databases that were open). However as I started to use DT more, I started having a number of databases which are all for different purposes. As I usually do not use the same database between launches, I am constantly having to close a database manually right after launch.

And it does not help to have “Close database” right above the “Delete database” in the “File” menu!! Sure, to delete a database I need to confirm first, but that is still a little too close for comfort.

I understand that I can manually close all the databases before quitting DT each time. But the problem is that I will have to do it manually every time I quit DT (and I will have to remember to do it as well).

This is similar to some software opening up a New Document on launch. True you can close the New Document window and get on with what you wanted to do, but it is rather annoying that you have to do that. Devonthink’s default behaviour is simply that. Great if it fits your use case, but annoying if it does not.

I am actually surprised that not more people are requesting this feature. Perhaps most people only have one or two databases that they use 99% of the time.

I know I probably can have all my data together in one gigantic database instead of splitting things up, but that means my backup scripts and dropbox will have to back up a much larger amount of data, plus it would really slow down launch and make tagging a nightmare.

Hopefully you’re not keeping your DEVONthink databases in your Dropbox folder.

As far as the database issue, it was changed in response to User requests.
The current behavior is also in line with Apple’s change to reopening apps/windows.

And now other users are requesting a change. Please stop selling this “feature” as if it’s wrong to be asking for it to change. It is both annoying, and quite needlessly so.

Even Apple has a way to disable this behavior:

General Preferences > “Close windows when quitting an app”

Why would Apple – who is famous for deciding what users should want – allow it to be configured, except to acknowledge that not everyone wants it, and with good reason?


I am not “selling” anything - as a feature or otherwise. I am merely stating the situation and the reason.

As Jim noted, the paradigm adopted by Apple in recent versions of OS X is that a user can quit an application, or Restart or shutdown the computer and on the next startup or launch documents or windows that had previously been open will be reopened, allowing the user to return to work immediately. I’m told that that was in response to user suggestions.

This behavior of OS X influences DEVONthink.

Looking back over a number of years of DEVONthink user comments about behavior of the application on launch, I’d have to say that the vast majority of users like the current behavior (in DEVONthink as well as OS X). It tends to save time and effort. The ability to close all open databases is available to those who prefer launching the application without an open database.

For example, I usually have 5 or 6 DEVONthink Pro Office databases open, my Journal document window open, and probably an open document window for the current draft I’m writing. When I Restart my Mac, all apps that were previously open are automatically launched, and my suite of open DEVONthink databases–as well as open document windows–is available. My MacBook Pro has 16 GB RAM, and my suite of databases fits comfortably into available memory. My MacBook Air has only 4 GB RAM, so I have fewer “standard” DEVONthink databases normally open when using it.

When I’m working with a memory-intensive application, such as when photo editing, I’ll temporarily close some apps, including DEVONthink Pro Office. I’m delighted when, on relaunching DEVONthink, I don’t have to individually select and open my database set, and select and open the previous open document windows.

I understand that some prefer launching DEVONthink without an open database. But there’s an available menu command (or keystroke) that will close all open databases (at next launch, no database will be opened). At one time there was a DEVONthink preference to “do nothing” on launch. There was no provision to automatically open a specific database on launch of DEVONthink, other than double-clicking on a selected database in the Finder (with the “do nothing” preference). The trouble with adding Preferences is that there are already so many of them, and users can get confused when they forget the settings that were chosen. That’s why the developers are reluctant to proliferate new preferences.

Yes, I do occasionally open other DEVONthink databases, and close them when finished with them.

I do agree with the comment above that the proximity of the contextual menu commands to Close or Delete a database is unfortunate, as it increases the possibility of a careless click deleting rather than merely closing a database. For most of DEVONthink’s history, there was no user command to delete a database from within DEVONthink. A database could only be deleted by deleting its file in the Finder. From a QA perspective, it think it was better to make deleting databases somewhat difficult.

I understand why the behavior was changed. I am only asking that, like Apple has done, a configuration option be allowed to disable it.

I’m not going to remember to close all databases before quitting DEVONthink each time, since I very often quit DEVONthink either by Applescript (auto-closing all applications before sync’ing my machines when I get home), or using Cmd-Q from the application switcher. I do not always select DEVONthink, then remember to close databases, then quit. If my pattern always followed that path, I wouldn’t have this grievance.

I’ve configured General preferences to close windows on quit, but DEVONthink does not honor this global preference. If it did so, this would answer my need.

Thank you,

That’s an interesting approach.

I don’t see how it would answer your need. Opening and closing windows in DEVONthink is independent of opening and closing databases. I can close all my windows in DEVONthink now, go to the File menu>New Window, and all my previously open databases are there to choose from.

Good point, Greg. I was (wrongly) considering the comment as well, since windows are indeed independent of databases.

The following command will clear the list of databases that are automatically opened when DT is launched (type into Terminal):

plutil -replace Workspace2.databases -json "{}" \

I put the command into a Bash function in my ~/.profile so I can just type “clear-dt”:

function clear-dt {
  plutil -replace Workspace2.databases -json "{}" \

Readers who are not familiar with modifying configuration files should be aware that [edit] there is no guarantee this suggested approach will continue to work or not cause damage to your configuration in any future release of DEVONthink. Be sure you backup your configuration file before using the suggestion. If you don’t know what this comment or the post referenced by the comment mean, then don’t fiddle with com.devon-technologies.thinkpro2.plist at all. This is technique only for tech-savvy users who know how to fix problems they created.

I appreciate and agree with the warning. However, the command I posted does not clear the entire Workspace2 key, it only clears the Workspace2.databases key. None of the user interface configurations are affected.