Lost data in RTF files

Here’s an issue that I’ve come across when editing RTF files:

o Go to Split view, Widescreen off.
o Create an RTF file in DTPO.
o Double click to open in its own window.
o Make some changes to the file in the external window. Don’t save them.
o Within the DTPO split-view window, make some edits to the file.
o Now save the file, in either window. (Or just wait for it to autosave.) You will find that the edits made in one of the windows have completely overwritten the edits in the other.

One might say that it’s my fault for having two windows open on the same document at the same time. But I think that DT should at least warn me before editing that the same file is already open! Certainly programs like TextEdit or Word try to avoid opening the same file twice for this exact reason.

Better solutions: DT could disallow the split-screen editing, or warn me, or merge the edits. All of these would be better than allowing me to edit my same file twice and overwrite without warning. I think the best solution would be the first: simply lock the file against edits while it’s open externally.

Thoughts? Am I missing something here?


Yes, what you described can happen.

I like that behavior. I do my drafting in rich text notes within DEVONthink. Often, I’ll open a draft in the view window of Three Panes, and also open it in its own window. In one of those views I’ll do editing, perhaps clarifying a point or revising a section.

That gives me an opportunity to compared the edited and original versions, up to the point where I press Command-S to save changes.

OK, glad I’m not the only one seeing this. However, I can’t see how this is really a feature – while it may be helpful for you and you are very careful having the same file open twice, I’ve lost work because of unintentionally opening it twice. It seems like to allow a file to be open and writeable twice is an invitation to have lost data.

For your particular purpose, it would work if one of the windows was read-only, correct? Perhaps that would be a better solution.

DEVONthink is simply calling the plain and rich text code that’s part of OS X. Viewing/editing text in DEVONthink is very similar to TextEdit’s Window wrap mode.

Unlike most applications, DEVONthink allows documents to be viewed in more than one display, as in Three Panes and also in a document window.

In such a case, the document is editable in either display. That’s true not only of text documents, as in your example, but of PDFs, Word, Pages, etc. So I can select a PDF in Three Panes and see the document in Three Panes, and also double-click on the document Name and open it in its own window. In either view of the PDF I can open it externally in Preview and annotate it. When I press Command-S to save the annotation(s) both views display the edit change.

Here’s the important point: although there can be multiple views of the document (potentially many views of it if there are replicants of it), there’s only one underlying document file. In the view that currently hold editing focus, the changes made in that view will be saved to disk when Command-S is pressed, and all other views of that document will then display the changes made by that saved edit.

In this respect the UI of DEVONthink differs from that of TextEdit, Preview and other applications that will display only one view of an open document. DEVONthink’s UI is consistent not only for your example of the same document displayed in Three Panes and a document window, but also extends to multiple views of a replicated document located in different groups, for example (only one file underlies multiple instances of replicated documents).

If that point is understood, the mistake of assuming that one could simultaneously make different edits of different views of a document or replicant can be avoided.