I want to abuse DEVONthink! Help appreciated. :D

Thank you for this wonderful suite of products. I’ve never seen anything like it and am forever grateful for having discovered it. I bought the entire suite (Pro, not Office), but my needs are a bit complex as I’m obsessive, especially with learning, and always on the go – a dangerous combination, really, and I don’t recommend it. ;D

I’d like to know if what I want to achieve is possible with DT.

Background info:

  • Currently, I have some directories synced to my laptop from Google Drive + Dropbox. Not all, as I have a ton of stuff on the cloud that would exceed my laptop’s disk space.
  • I would like to be able to use the remote Google Drive + Dropbox servers and add metadata to them, in addition to the ones that I do have synced locally.
  • I want to use DEVONthink’s metadata and AI features both on my laptop and mobile devices (perhaps separately, but it’s not the main priority).
  • I want to use DEVONthink’s features and possibly database without duplicating the locally synced data from Google Drive + Dropbox. I wouldn’t mind just putting everything in the DT database but it would exceed my disk limit. Which means I need DT’s features with Google Drive + Dropbox’s servers AND my local servers.
  • I will likely want two separate databases or sync locations (one for mobile, one for desktop), as these won’t be identical.
  • I am currently using Dropbox (and considering a second sync location like Google Drive) for the sync point, so I’m not sure what kind of circular issue this could cause if it’s the same place I want storing all of my documents as well. Perhaps just having one cloud sync location and then store all files in the second service would resolve this problem?

In short, what I want is:

  1. To use existing locally synced Google Drive + Dropbox files as part of the DT database (don’t duplicate) – NOT indexed because then things become unsynchronized and messy. I tried indexing Google Drive dirs + files; it was nice at first but if I changed a file on one (DT) or the other (e.g. Google Drive), there were some consistency issues, especially when deleting the referenced item on DT, since the entire dir was synced. This may be my solution and maybe I just don’t know how to index or set this up properly.
  2. AND use remote Google Drive files (e.g. not synced to my laptop but available on the GDrive cloud) to allow for future downloading/metadata to any device.
  3. Mobile and desktop independent synchronization (which would basically mean I would need to be able to sync to GDrive or Dropbox remotely, as I don’t have all of these files on my laptop).

More precisely, I would like to use GDrive or Dropbox (or both) as the data dumps, and DT’s AI features with them as well as locally available files… I have a question about that actually–

Bonus questions:

  • If I moved a local file into the DT database (drag and drop or Import), would it truly move the file or just reference it like a pointer? In other words, is the database self-contained?
  • I also cannot seem to be able to select the Google Drive or Dropbox dirs to create a new database in there. Is this related to my concern above regarding a “circular” issue? :laughing:
  • Does a dark theme exist for DT?
  • What is the difference between DEVONagent and DEVONexpress? I could probably find this answer out by reading a bit but thought I’d just dump it on here too.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated. I use DEVONthink for everything- personal, work, learning, etc. I would love to be able to fully rely on it in the manner described above if possible. Thanks for your patience.


Do you have more than one Mac you’re Syncing? Remember that Sync is NOT a backup so if you only have one Mac, I’m not sure what you intend to Sync it for. Future Macs?

Indexing remote data is not advocated. If this is a static machine connected to networked drives, it’s a bit more tolerable, but still comes with a caution.

It copies the file into the database. The database is built to be self-contained and portable.

You should NEVER put your databases in a cloud-synced folder. EVER. The behavior is specifically disallowed when creating a database.

DEVONagent Pro or Express? DEVONagent Pro is a research assistant tool for Internet searching. It is powerful but not a mere front end to search engines. DEVONagent Express is more of a front end to searching. It’s a lite version of Pro.

I encourage you to strongly consider what your database construction plans are. Indiscriminate data dumps are not a good idea. (Read this: blog.devontechnologies.com/2015/ … nk-drawer/).

Also, size and performance have a relationship you must consider. Here’s my treatise :smiley:
Size in gigabytes isn’t the critical number. If you check out File > Database Properties > … for a given database, the number of words / unique words are more critical. On a modern machine with 8GB RAM, a comfortable limit is 40,000,000 words and 4,000,000 unique words in a database. (Note: This does not scale in a linear way, so a machine with 16GB wouldn’t necessarily have a comfortable limit of 80,000,000 words / 8,000,888 unique words.) So text content in a database is far more important.
If you have a database of images, it will have very few words but be large in gigabytes.
If you have a database of emails, it will have many words, but may be smaller in gigabytes.
The second one may perform more poorly as the number of words increases beyond the comfortable limit.

Smaller, more focused databases will generally perform better, Sync faster, and be more data-safe in the event of a catastrophe (avoiding the “all your eggs in one basket” problem). They also give you the opportunity to close unused databases when you’re not using them. This frees up resources, not only for DEVONthink, but the rest of the system. There is no benefit to having a bunch of unused databases open all the time.