No, the sync feature only works on indexed files. The current import scripts copy the message text from the mailbox in your mail program. There is no connection between the mail program and DEVONthink. The current scripts will flag the imported messages, so you could use that to check for new messages that you can import.
We are planning to improve this situation in the near future. However, when or in what form is undetermined at this point in time.
I think the idea is use DT as a means of archiving all your email and keeping your Mail database mean and lean or of saving important messages with other documents in a project. In the former case, you would remove the archived messages from Mail database. In the latter, you might want to keep a copy in both places.
Everyone has his own modus operandi. I save very few email messages; when I do, I save them directly to the disc as text files.
offline, I try to discourage an approach to DT Pro as a Finder replacement.
I’ve got many times your amount of data on my PowerMac, with 2 500 GB HDs internally and another 500 GB external for backups. I’ve got a very large collection of music and video files. I don’t bother to bring those music and video files into my DT Pro databases, except for a few that are related to my professional interests in environmental science and technology, with subsidiary interests in international environmental science exchanges and graduate education.
I’ve built my DT Pro databases as topical collections of material that reflect my interests and are useful to me. My main database was deliberately constructed as a research tool for my environmental science interests. It runs about 20,000 documents and about 20,000,000 words and DT Pro provides very fast searches of content and helps me find conceptual relationships, actually mining the information content. I do most of my writing inside this database, and spend most of my working time in it.
That database was constructed to be self-contained so that I can use it on my MacBook Pro while on travel, or sometimes use it from an external drive when I’m working on a colleague’s computer.
I’m constantly adding to it. Sometimes I will accumulate information that’s not pertinent to the “theme” of this database, and I will spin that material off into a separate database. So I’ve got a DT Pro database that holds financial information, warranties, software registrations, purchases and so on. I have an old Apple Newton 2100 and remain somewhat interested in it. I have a huge database of Newton information (almost as big as my main database).
There are practical advantages to multiple databases. Although I have 2 very fast Macs, if I were to merge all my databases into a single one several times larger than my main database, I would expect a slowdown in search and AI features. I’m spoiled. I expect DT Pro content searches to be orders of magnitude faster than Spotlight searches and much more usable. I expect a Phrase/Exact search to be complete in a few milliseconds. I want a See Also list to pop up right away. And that’s what I get. And, of course, I would have problems running my main database on my MacBook Pro or on an external drive if it were a great deal larger, or was Indexed rather than Imported.
More importantly, I’m helping DT Pro’s artificial intelligence features to work more efficiently for me, because there really are contextual relationships between the contents inside each of my databases. I don’t do tagging of individual contents and don’t need it, for just that reason.
And the current lack of DT Pro’s ability to search across multiple databases becomes a non-issue for me, as it’s pretty rare that I would find anything useful that way. For example, I don’t capture all my email messages into a single database. When I capture emails into DT Pro, they are captured into a database they are related to by content. Sometimes I will duplicate an email or article in more than one database, but that doesn’t need to happen very often.
On my computers it take about 20 seconds to switch between my main database and another. When I’m working with relatively small databases the switch time is just a few seconds. But I achieve continued fast response times in each of my databases, so segregation of unrelated materials into different databases makes my work experience far more efficient and rewarding.
My overall preference is for self-contained databases. I’ve got enough RAM and drive space to pay the penalties for the greater memory requirement, compared to an Indexed database. And I compensate for the greater memory requirements by segregating unrelated materials into different databases – which also makes the AI features very efficient. That also lets me distribute a database on CD or DVD. Example: a syllabus for a graduate environmental engineering course, dealing with the topic of investigation and remediation approaches to a hazardous waste site, with links to recommended readings.
You were asking why DT Pro can’t index the material on your drive. Of course it can, right now. Just use File > Index or the equivalent, Option-Command-drag to move files into your database. DT Pro will capture the text and images that it can recognize, and establish links to the external files. (If those external files are deleted, of course, the database will lose the information content of the files.)
DT Pro can recognize and capture text and/or images from a variety of file types, including plain text (and some variants), rich text (RTF and RTFD), HTML, Web Archives, XML, PDF and postscript, Word .doc (RTF only), a variety of images, and QuickTime media. But there are other file types, most of them proprietary, that DT Pro can’t “read” and these are the “unknown” file types noted in DT Pro’s Preferences > Import. If you don’t check the option to capture “unknown” file types, they will be ignored. If you do check that option, DT Pro will establish a link to the external files (Index mode) or copy them into the database Files folder (Import mode). Some examples of “unknown” file types are Excel, KeyNote, Pages, Mellel, etc. There are workarounds for capturing text and/or images from such file types. Example: “print” as PDF to DT Pro using a supplied script.
If you really want to do that, you can Index your entire Documents and Pictures directories into a DT Pro database. Just select DT Pro’s File > Index, then select those directories (or your entire hard drive, if you wish). But I don’t think that will be a very efficient way to use DT Pro, and I suspect you will be disappointed with the result – I certainly wouldn’t take that approach on my PowerMac with a terabyte of drive capacity online. It’s not that DT Pro can’t do it; it’s that I wouldn’t be happy working in that database, whereas I find DT Pro a marvelous research assistant with my topical database approach.
Personally, I use iTunes to manage my music and video collections. iTunes lets me listen to Beethoven while I’m mining information from my references, notes and journals in a DT Pro database.