hypothetical or practical, even possible?

Let’s say I find an item in Devonagent and drag it into DTpro. Is it possible to attach a note or comment directly o the DA item I dragged into DT pro and, if not, what’s the suggested work around?



Hi, Jeff. In your database, select the item, open it’s Info panel and enter your keywords or note into the Comment field.

The Comment field is plain text, so you can’t create links to other documents in it.

Sometimes I want to add copious notes and perhaps links to other documents. In that case I create a new rich text note and give it the same name as the HTML or bookmark link. I can add notes and any links to this document.

By giving it the same name as the item moved from DA, I can search for it by selecting the name of the document transferred from DA and pressing ‘Command /’. Conversely, when viewing the HTML document, I can select it’s title and do a search lookup – same keystroke of the selected document name – to look at my ‘attached’ notes.

Hi, Bill. I always feel like I’m putting you to so much trouble and you’re so patient. Thank you.

I did an experiment. I selected an item from a URL that was stored in a “Group” I was working with in DT Pro. Then, as you suggested, I made a rich text doc with the same name in the name field. I then proceed to add notes into the Rich Text Doc. However, Command (apple) / only yielded a “bump note”: a boink. It didn’t return the document to which it should have referred.

I then duplicated the URL, as well, in URL field, so that there was now a “clone” Rich Text note with the identical “Name” in “Name field” and “URL” in the “URL field.” Again I tried Command / and I got the same “boink.” The keyboard command did not summon the document the notes referred to or were “linked to.” And, visa-versa, the original item did not locate the rich text notes I had created (with the clone name and URL) when I attempted Command /.

What have I missed?


Sorry, my fault. I didn’t describe accurately how I name that ‘associated’ rich text file(s).

I append a number to the name of the rich text file, usually “1”. Rarely, I’ve created a second or third note in this way, appending “2” or “3” to the name as the case may be. (I’ve used multiple ‘attached’ notes to a book-length PDF to distinguish notes made about a particular topic covered in the book, from other notes about a different topic – perhaps when I’m using the same PDF for different projects.)

Here’s an example of a PDF document name and its associated rich text:
A Framework for Quantified Eco-efficiency Analysis (PDF)
A Framework for Quantified Eco-efficiency Analysis 1 (rich text note)

Now select the title text (without that extra character) and do a search for the string by Name.

Both documents will be instantly listed in the Search window.

Hi, Bill.

It works, but one question, what is operator: command /

Jeff, when you select a text string and press ‘Command /’ that will initiate a Lookup in DT Pro. A Search window will open with the string inserted as the search term.

The Lookup operation is a Cocoa Service, so it can initiate a search from other Cocoa applications.


Thanks again. And, for what it’s worth, I prefer your title of “global moderator” to “evangelist,” particularly in these strange political times. Somehow, though it seems valuable to evangelize about great software, it’s better to hold aside the fundamentalist devotion implicit in “evangelism” in favor of the essential onward and upward spirit explicit in software development.

Wasn’t that a lot of blah-blah. :laughing:


Hi, Jim. Point taken. :slight_smile:

But sometimes, especially responding to problems of flaky behavior or data loss, or to preconceptions about how the database should function (without having experimented or RTFM to see how an objective can be accomplished) I tend to get ‘preachy’.

To paraphrase Nietze’s character, Zarahustra, there are times when I “bray like a donkey or rattle like a kettledrum.” That’s because, as a heavy user for years, my databases are very stable, I don’t lose data, and I find my databases very useful research assistants.

Is DT Pro more sensitive to glitches in the operating system, the disk directory or memory problems than some applications? Yes, it’s more sensitive than some applications, but only in the sense that it make more and more varied calls to the OS, and typically has large file sizes and frequent saves to disk (so depends on the integrity of the operating system and the disk directory).

So I preach routine preventive maintenance on the operating system and the disk directory as the best way to keep database problems from happening. And I caution against problems that can arise from downloading applications or utilities that modify the operating system, as we frequently find that the operating system gets screwed up or memory errors cascade to create a problem. When Christian analyzes crash logs, the most frequent problem turns out to be haxies, especially those that break after an OS update.

There are other fairly common problems such as corrupt fonts, corrupt caches (System or User), and disk directory problems (often resulting from power irregularities or outages, or simply small problems that eventually become major problems if the directory isn’t maintained properly). Finally, failure to provide enough free disk space for use by the operating system and applications to write temporary files will ultimately result in file corruption (and not only to DT Pro files).

Apple provides utilities for OS and disk maintenance and recommends their use. There are a number of third party utilities that make it easier to perform some of Apple’s maintenance routines without resorting to the Terminal, many of them free-ware or donation-ware (always make certain that they work with the OS version on your computer). A couple that I use are AppleJack and OnyX, which are donation-ware. My ultimate tool for disk maintenance is DiskWarrior, which costs money but is worth it to me.

That said, it’s amazing how often flaky behavior can be cured by a simple Restart. Consumer Macs typically don’t use error-correcting RAM, and sometimes memory errors happen and grow. Who knows why? Perhaps a cosmic ray zapped the RAM chips, or the Universe wasn’t fair. So don’t try to set records for the fewest restarts of your computer. :slight_smile:

Make backups! Frequently, when the database is being significantly modified! I haven’t had to resort to a backup for more than two years or more. But I make a habit of using the very convenient Backup Archive script, on the assumption that if I don’t I can lose valuable data at any time, perhaps by a hard drive failure, perhaps if my MacBook Pro gets stolen.

Boring? Yes, but that’s my ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to keeping data safe, and it certainly works for me.

Finally, for new users, I recommend against starting by dumping the contents of your hard drive into a database. Don’t think of DT as a simple Finder replacement; it’s real purpose is to manage documents, search and retrieve them, and above all assist you to analyze the information in your database.

So start small with a ‘test’ database or two containing files that interest you. I prefer topical databases. My main database concerns my professional interests in environmental science and technology, environmental problems (lots of case histories) and health effect issues, policy issues and laws and regulations (USA and EU). It contains over 21,000 references and the AI features work wonderfully and quickly for me. But in total I’m managing well over 100,000 documents among several databases. And I don’t put every file on my computers into my databases, as many of them wouldn’t be very useful to me for my research or data management needs, although all of my financial and tax data go into a database for easy access, especially at tax time!

The DT applications, especially DT Pro and DTPO, are very rich and deep. Don’t expect to know all the the possibilities and tricks to using them at the very start, nor to find all of the ways of using them in documentation – it’s amazing how many varied uses are made of databases.

Experiment, get familiar with ways to meet your needs, participate in the forum and send queries to Support.


Thanks, Bill. That was well put, and I’ll say, amen.

J. :wink:


Dear Bill,

New question:

The explanation about why the “SERVICES” menu now appears under the “DEVONagent” menu in DT Pro is less than clear. You’ll see what I mean if you invoke DT Pro then go to the “Help” menu and search the terms “append file.” Should I be content to leave the SERVICES menu where it is, or move it? Or maybe it just doesn’t matter.


The nature of the OS X Services menu is that all installed applications that use Services are displayed whenever you click on the Services menu. Usually, the Services submenu items for an application are grayed out if not relevant at the time. For example, many of them require selection of text to become available.

The free HotService merely moves the Services menu from its default location under the name of the frontmost application, to the level of the main menu items. (It also corrects some minor bugs in a version of OS X concerning use of Services, but you probably won’t notice them.)

HotService isn’t currently compatible with Intel Macs. It does no damage if installed, but won’t load. Currently, there are too many develiopment priorities to bother with updates to the free items on the DEVONtechnologies Downloads page. :slight_smile:

Bottom line: The Help article on the topic is correct, but actual use of Services isn’t affected whether you install HotService (on a PPC machine) or not. So nothing to worry about.

Thank you, Bill.