Is there a way to index a folder in DT3 as read-only?

Coming from the thread Indexed document suddenly shows in non-existing folder! I’m worried! I am thinking I probably could avoid problems with changes in indexed folders if I tell DEVONthink to lock the group of the index folder of changes.

This means I’d like to instruct DEVONthink: This Group/Folder and all of its content should be indexed by DFT3, but not changed. (I tried the menu entry Mark as Locked on the Group/Folder, I still can change names inside this group to my hearts content…)

Is there a way to do this? Or if not, is this a reasonable Feature request?

You could change the permissions in Finder. But that wouldn’t prevent you from changing the record’s name in DT, I suppose.

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Well, then I cannot change the stuff in the filesystem either.

Yep, that’s exactly it.

Basically I am looking for read-only indexed folders.

That’s life. If you index the stuff, it remains in the file system under the control of the Finder. The only way to prevent changes to it, is to change the permissions. If you want to change it in the file system, you’ll have to live with the fact that it changes in DT as well. Tertium non datur. Or: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Your request that something be “not changed” is, BTW, not clear. Do you mean the metadata only? The contents? The name in DT? Something else? The documentation says this about locking:

Locked/Unlocked: Items can be locked to keep them from being unintentionally deleted (groups, documents) or modified (documents).

So locking a group will only prevent it from being deleted. Locking documents will prevent them from being “modified”, too – which is as unspecific as your “changes”. I suppose it means “locking prevents documents from being edited, i.e. their contents can’t be modified”. Metadata still can. Which is probably intentional: Even if I can’t change the contents of a record, I might still want to add/remove tags from it, add/remove/modify custom metadata etc.

But you just said that you want the read-only folder to be modifiable in Finder. What is it that you want?

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No, this is not supported.

As @chrillek hinted, this is not a both AND; it’s an either OR.

And from our experience, the moment people get something like this, there quickly follows requests to create exceptions to that behavior.
However, the request is still noted.

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Sorry, if I wasn’t clear. I mean that the folder is read-only in DEVONthink, but can be changed as usual in the Finder – i.e. the lock would be a DEVONthink-internal mechanism.

The reason is that I manage the content of the indexed folder (a Dropbox subfolder) purely via other apps and the Finder, so it would be a safety mechanism that in DEVONthink I (or a mishap of the system) cannot accidentally change anything.

Does this clear things up?

Sure, that’s a problem.

Thanks, Jim.

So would double-clicking on a locked file in DT open its default application, say Pages, since you could use it in Finder, or wouldn’t it, to prevent desaster?


Interseting question… I’d say it would open it in the external app.

Which is exactly what happens now:

  • mark an MD file as “locked”.
  • you can’t edit it in DT
  • double click on it so it opens in the default app (say BBEdit)
  • you can edit it in the default app and save it back to DT.

So, I guess, this whole “locking” thingy is half-baked. DT can prevent modifications to metadata that are under its sole control (which might exclude tags which are synchronized with finder and Spotlight metadata/extended attributes, which could be modified outside of DT, too).

DT cannot prevent modifications to the contents of files unless it stops users opening them in external apps. Which basically amounts to setting the file permissions to read-only.

Back to your question: I’d say that the whole idea of having DT index your files and prevent modifications (and you still haven’t said which modifications, BTW) while at the same time you can modify these files outside of DT is not thought through. Nor is it feasible consistently, in my opinion.

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Thanks @chrillek. I’m not worried that other apps change file/direcotory name or contents.

I just want to make sure DEVONthink doesn’t do anythging to teh file system. (My reason is: When again something happens like a mysterious 2nd folder 2022_to-keep-1 appears, then I know it must have been either an other app (Dropbox?) or me in the Finder outside of DEVONthink and not DEVONthink itself who caused it.)

Discussed before in your other thread. I tend to agree with @cgrunenberg this sort of folder renaming is seen in cloud sync services, especially when set to be “online” when there a conflict and they do it so as to not accidentally delete data.

Consider this renaming a blessing, not a risk, IMHO. And check you haven’t now or in the past did your cloud sync with “online” on. And remember when you expose your computer to sync services, you’ve given them some sort of liberty to manipulate your files and folders to do the sync you expect.