It's time to face the competiton

hi devon’s team!

Seeing the growing competition in the note’s database apps market, I think that Devonthink/togo should begin to find ways to face it properly.

Apps like Evernote and Notesuite have now reached a high level of appeal and usability that Devonthink fights only with it’s strong feature set. I think, if it’s not already in your agenda, that you should really consider going v3 with new overall design and user experience. All the more with DT togo which feel really outdated, not to mention the lack of features to make it a real devonthink mobile companion.

DevonThink for desktop is great for it’s strong features and integrations, but it’s design and user experience is really, really outdated, which makes it less appealing than competition with less features but far more enjoyable experience.

Let alone the UI, some functionnality are there but not well designed: take the note viewer for instance, with no margins which look like a big block of text, arid and boring.

Everything has an old design and few ways to make it different and customized. So I think it’s time for you to think about revamping your apps and give them more chance to stand in front of a now rude competition. You’re going to loose precious marketshare and customers because of this, and this is something that neither you (as a company) nor me (as a customer) want to see.

please, let me know what you think about this advice/request, as I may be one of those people who go to the competition once they reach your level of functionality, which may really be sooner than later!


a concerned customer :slight_smile:

Thanks for the thoughtful post and concern but the odds of the competition reaching our level of capability any time soon is a very, very long shot. One of the reasons is our AI engine - it is no mere “filename search”, what with it’s classification abilities, etc. The other is that groups like Evernote are interested in the lowest common denominator. they want something pretty but not deeply functional. They want to appeal to everyone doing basic tasks like clipping a recipe or making a quick note to themselves. Our software is built for big datasets (millions of words) and deep search and classify functions while offering simpler tasks like clipping the recipes too. Will we ever have as many Users as Evernote? Maybe, maybe not (software is a fickle, fickle thing). But our intent is not “to beat Evernote” (and we feel we’ve done that already without meaning to 8) ). Our intent is to continue to progess and evolve our apps in function and finish as well as to continue to bring new and innovative ideas to all of you.

PS: Don’t think we are sitting around sipping absinthe or espresso or some fancy microbrew with our berets on, idly making minor changes to our software to keep the revenue stream going. We are more like coal miners, deep in the recesses of the earth, mapping and planning and breaking our backs looking for the bit o’ gold to bring back up to you. :smiley:


It’s been mentioned, this was a good summary around the time 2.0 was going out of beta.

Read the whole thread, it’s a few pages, come back here and let’s start requesting what 3.0 should be 8)

For what it is worth, I thunk a distinction should be made between quality and window-dressing. The Devon suite of applications are primarilly very, very good work tools that do the job they are intended for supremely well, they are not lightweight “apps” but high end applications made for a purpose. The original poster speaks about it being “boring”, well fine but if I wanted entertainment I would buy a game! No, the Devon suite is IMHO the best application by far for the job in hand, and the interface is fine as it is and I am more than happy that the developers concentrate on what the suite can do rather than bells and whistles to make the “experience more enjoyable”. Keep up the good work folks. :smiley:

DEVONthink isn’t a “notes app”. “Notes apps” have a basic, limited feature set, such that they are usually free or given away with the operating system. You paid up to $149 to use DEVONthink – would you pay $149 to use Evernote?

It has taken me three years of gradual immersion to plumb the depths of the functionality of DT pro. I am very pleased I did. That is a huge investment that I don’t want lost to a new aesthetic. Evolution not revolution please!!!

Absolutely! :smiley:

Please, DEVONtechnologists, we would all be delighted to have even a modicum of information about your feature plans and timeframe estimates for DT3.

My father had a good aphorism, “If you do not know what might happen you will not be disappointed.” 8)

Your father was a wise man, Allsop! :smiley:

Sorry, macula et al but we cannot give out this info. Too dangerous for us, (and as Allsop’s dad pointed out) potentially too disappointing for you all. The time will come when a peek behind the curtain may be appropriate but it’s not yet.


Thank you, he was!

If I can have a wish for 3.0 it would be:


It is such a letdown to an otherwise great app that I have almost given up DevonThink multiple times due to this frustration.

I usually use the 3 pane view, and what I find incredibly frustrating is:

  • The lack of consistent connection between the Folder pane and the document list. If I use document navigation (e.g. Back button) or Search, the Folder pane remains stuck in the view I started from and I will have a list with a folder selected in the Folder pane and a document displayed on the right from a different folder. If I want to see other documents in the folder the open document is in, well, I’m out of luck - it will be a long and confusing journey up and down the folders list before I will get to the folder the document is in. The regular disconnect between the folder list and the document list is AN EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING DESIGN FAULT.

  • There are breadcrumbs on the top of the three pane view. It would take about 20 minutes for any decent programmer to make them clickable navigation links so you can use it to navigate the folder tree. But no, they are not clickable, they are just useless decoration. If you want to go a few folders up, you have to use your eyes to track the folder indents and the little triangles on the left and try to find the next folder up, and then the next folder up. A BIG MISS OF AN EASY FEATURE.

  • NO Back button for folders, NO History for folders. Seriously…? DevonThink is great for storing HUGE amounts of information (which is what I use it for - thousands of documents organized in a hierarchy of more than a hundred folders). But it is worse than useless if you can’t easily locate the FOLDERS with the information you need. Most information is only useful IN CONTEXT. So how can you NOT have a Back button for FOLDERS or a History for recently opened folders??? Yes, I know there is a DOCUMENT back button and History. But if I have opened 20 docs in one project, then 30 in another, and then 15 in a third one, do I REALLY have to go through a history of dozens and dozens of documents one by one and guess from the title which one might belong to the project I worked on yesterday? Oh, and even then not being able to open the FOLDER from there? HUGE OVERSIGHT making DevonThink a PAIN to use if you have a large hierarchy of folders.

  • No favorite folders? Really…? Even my email program has had that for about 7 years, and it doesn’t claim to be a sophisticated program to handle large amounts of data. As you know just as well as anyone working with data, if you work with lots of it, you will keep what you need handy and file the rest out of the way. Not in DevonThink though… in DevonThink, every folder has the same importance as every other folder, and they are all sitting in a huge, uniform pile on your desk all the time. Locating any folder forces you to go through the ENTIRE structure. Compare that to just leaving the folders of your current project on your desk - you can get to them directly IN AN INSTANT. Yet, in 2013, you can’t do the same with DevonThink. EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING - why make a paperless filing system and make it SLOWER to use than old fashioned paper files??? In DevonThink, I have to use the clumsy folder pane navigation to go up and up and up the folder list until I get to the right level to start going down again, then go down, down, down and down to get to the same “folder”. Even if I used it just 5 minutes ago!

I think what is missing here is that you think everyone will use the advanced indexing and searching and other bells and whistles included in DevonThink Pro and totally missed the boat on some BASICS - simple folder navigation. I don’t need Artificial Intelligence to know that I filed the latest meeting notes for Project X in the “Project X Meeting Notes” folder. I just need a quick and simple way to get there. Unfortunately, it is neither quick nor easy in DT.

I mostly use the BASIC features of DevonThink and never used most advanced features. I basically use it as a paperless filing system and since I keep my stuff in order and have no trouble finding anything I want, I hardly ever have to use search and other “AI” features. AI is nice, but a half intelligent way to navigate folders would be nice too…


Actually, yes the feature has been in DEVONthink for years (maybe seven?). As in Finder, for example, drag any group into the global sidebar’s “Favorites” section.

Very handy. This is one of those simple things, (how to get a group into the Favourites section) that I have been meaning to ask about for some time but never got round to it! Thanks Korm. :bulb:

Careful. Constructive = good but there’s an insinuation here. Thanks.

Yes, that was unfair and unnecessary.

+1 for a clickable breadcrumb trail though. And might a favourite folders section for each database, not just the global sidebar be useful? I rarely use more than one database at a time (and I’m sure there are other users who do the same), so normally have the sidebar hidden.

I think a major refresh of toolbar icons would go a long way towards making DT look nicer. I’ve always thought them rather busy looking, and often ugly to the point where I would rather use menu items than keep them in the toolbar. I can see why this is hardly a priority, though. Especially given that a radical refresh might annoy users.

For us non-programmers what is a “breadcrumb” please?

I’m far from a programmer! But something like this: … iginal.png

Here’s how I’ve created “Favorites” in individual databases.

  1. Enable groups for tagging for a given database in File > Database Properties
  2. Create a group named “Favorites” or something useful
  3. Drag that group to the top of your group hierarchy
  4. Select a group you wish to be a favorite
  5. With that group selected, open Tools > Show Info and tag the group “Favorites”

You’ve now placed a replicant of the favorited group and all it’s child groups and contents into Favorites. To remove, undo the tag in the “original”. The result is the same as you would get from a program change, since in any application “Favorites” are really replicants or aliases.

Thank you!