Mac App Store/iCloud

There are two features that I want so badly that I would pay for another license to DT Pro to get.

  1. The ability to purchase DT Pro (not Personal) from the Mac App Store. My work laptop’s hard disk failed on Friday. It was a mid-2010 MacBook Pro, so I was able to remove the 11 screws on the bottom, replace the drive with one that I had overnighted from Amazon yesterday, screw the bottom cover back on and power-on while holding CMD-R, and begin the recovery process. In 30-35 minutes I had an OS again. Before the hour was up, I had a big smile on my face, thanks to all of my apps (except DT Pro, my Omni apps and MS Office) being on the Mac App Store. All my credentials restored seamlessly. My Exchange account, SSL/TLS certificates, Twitter and Vimeo credentials sync’ed as soon as I attached my account to iCloud. It was beautiful!

My lone problem is that I need a T6 Torx screwdriver to move the 4 little drive mounting screws from the original drive to the new one; meanwhile, the drive rattles around a little bit in there.

I’ve decided to use Pages/Numbers/Keynote from now on and abandon Microsoft Office; I’m most likely going to repurchase my Omni apps from the App Store; that leaves DT Pro.

I purchased DevonThink from the MAS, in hopes that it would at least be upgradable to the Pro Office version. No joy. It’s just the personal version, which is inadequate for my needs. I purchased my copy as part of a bundle with my ScanSnap scanner. I can’t even imagine where I would find my proof of purchase or license key.

I’m okay with purchasing another license; I use DT Pro Office a LOT! But I don’t want applications that can’t be re-downloaded from the Mac App Store anymore. It seems barbaric to find a license key, compared to how quickly everything else was instantly up and running again. I hope DevonTech will release a Mac App Store version of DT Pro Office soon; otherwise, I’m likely to start the new year looking for a replacement.

  1. I’m so impressed with iCloud, and the fact that the bulk of my data was immediately available that I plan to jettison and find replacements for my applications that don’t allow saving to iCloud.

I work for a Fortune 500 company. They backup our laptops to headquarters weekly, but to get my hard disk restored, I must FedEx the machine to corporate and use a Windows “loaner” until the end of next week, by which the machine will be sent back to my office.

Yes, this is a problem with how long it takes my company’s IT, but instead of being up and running in a half day, these few apps from the dark ages are making me limp along for a week.

For security reasons, we’re not allowed to keep private copies of corporate data. IT only reluctantly allows us to use iCloud, and then, only with certain types of information. I’m definitely not the only person with this type of restriction. Note that I may not be able to use the Omni products’ cloud sync because they don’t meet our IT’s requirements for security policy. though I’m trying to convince IT to set up a compatible WebDAV server for my fellow Mac users and I. DT Pro Office has no serious sync story at all.

If these two things were in place, I would have been able to fully recover, all by myself, in under 4 hours, without even driving to the office! Instead, I’m losing just over a week of productivity. For those who use DT Pro Office in a corporate/professional environment, these two features are deal breakers if there’s any reasonable alternative.

I hope DevonTech is addressing this, rather than sending me searching for new tools for the new year.

This page can help with retrieving a license.

The developers have written here before that they don’t expect the Pro and Pro Office versions to be on the Mac App Store due to Apple’s strictures on software features sold there. I.e., it would be less functional.

I keep DMGs of key software packages on a backup disk (e.g., a thumb drive) just in case.

The developers have also spoken about work they are doing to enhance Sync. Perhaps if you PM’d the developer he would be interested in learning more about your corporate-iCloud-sync requirements.

For just about every feature in DTPO that I can think of, there’s another App Store app that does similar things. There are ABBYY-based scanning apps; there are shoebox file apps; has the developer posted what prevents Apple’s blessing?

I honor and respect your thumb drive of DMG’s. A few years back, I did the same. I’m also betting that you haven’t spent any significant amount of time committed to the App Store. What happens if you go to update you thumb drive and the DMG’s get corrupted. Or you’re on a business trip and realize you left it at home. Surely you recognize how utterly barbaric it is to have such an artificial requirement placed on your life.

As for corporate IT requirements for sync servers, I know it starts with IT doing checking the privacy policy and running D&B checks, but I don’t know what, exactly, they look for. I’m guessing they want to be able to string someone up by their private parts if there’s a HIPPA or SOX issue.

Personal slams are relevant because…?

As a matter of fact I’m not “committed” but most of my purchases are made there.

No, I don’t recognize that. I’ve never considered backup strategies barbaric. Actually they seem rather rational and a good thing to have more than a few alternate backup methods.

Due to restrictions and requirements from Apple concerning the App Store, we have to take many things into consideration. If putting our apps in the App Store inhibits critical functionality, they won’t be going in there - regardless of anyone’s love for it.

On opinions…

My personal opinion…
App Store: I don’t like it and only begrudingly use it. Sparkle-updated apps = good by me. #1 problem: SANDBOXING = crippled apps (there’s no denying this).

iCloud/Dropbox/etc.: I don’t like it and only use it professionally in Support. There’s so many myths and marketing hype surrounding cloud computing, I almost refuse it on general principle.

Local backups on external drives: AMEN! This is a real backup solution. Thumb drives may not be as robust hardware-wise but they are great in a pinch. (PS: Clothes are an “artificial requirement” too but I’m sure you remember to put your pants on before you leave the house every day. :mrgreen: )

Please keep your tone and comments civil. You have your opinion of the App Store and thumb drives, etc. That’s fine. Everyone has their own.


Sincere apologies that you took my comment personally. I assure you that I absolutely meant no personal offense.

Mac users being in the minority at companies like mine, I carried a USB memory stick filled with goodies until about a year ago. This is why I said that I “honor and respect” that approach.

When I say that doing so is barbaric, I mean the solution, not you.

Unless I were to significantly fear Apple going out of business, I no longer need to wear a memory stick necklace. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s like having paddle shifters on a sports car, compared to an old-fashioned stick shift. Yes, both work, but the paddle shifters are far faster, and more elegant, however good it might feel to work the clutch sometimes.

From anywhere in the world, I can download my apps in a minute or two and be up and running, never having thought about license keys or such. It just works; one less thing to worry about.

I would hope you and BLUEFROG would re-read my post. At best I was stating my opinion in a joking fashion, not saying anything bad about your respective mothers. Lighten up!

Oh yeah, I agree about putting on clothes before leaving home, but if I could buy something that would auto-dress me in the morning, I would consider it barbaric to have to go back to dressing myself.

My new car has adaptive cruise control, which makes it feel barbaric when I need to accelerate and break on the highway. That doesn’t mean the people who don’t have that feature are idiots, just that the freedom of being able to focus on traffic at a more meta level, and enjoy the ride is incredible. I almost enjoy stop-and-go traffic as a result.

Finally, having a “backup” on an external drive is NOT a real solution. What happens when a tornado strikes your house or the drive (inevitably and eventually) fails. A “real” solution would be if you rotated 4-5 drives at different physical sites, and even then, it would not be a “real” solution. For example, if you were to get malware on your machine, you would corrupt all copies of your backup. Five years from now, you both will have abandoned your thumb drives and wonder what you were thinking. If not, I will happily buy you an alcoholic beverage of your choice. Check back on November 19th, 2018!!!

No offense taken, driver. But I heartily disagree as a matter of personal preference. Driving a stick and downshifting to punch past someone on the highway is SO MUCH more enjoyable than letting the car think for me.

And as far as the tornado scenario… It is not only far more likely but it’s absolutely provable that your network will go down or be unavailable (many, many times) before my house is hit by a tornado.
Persistent network connection is still a myth. Networks will always be hindered by the hops the data has to take, among other factors. And despite advertised speeds, increased Users diminish a great portion of the increase. It just doesn’t scale like they hype it.

I agree that a true backup isn’t as simple as a thumb drive. For the average User, triple redundancy (including offsite for critical data) is more than sufficient.

Lastly, my data is MY DATA. Why do I want to store my data on someone else’s hardware? (I don’t.) I don’t care to hand my data off to someone I don’t know (and nowadays I’d be more concerned about the government looking at people’s info than malware).

PS: I am self-redundant with no cloud. Two laptops, two backup drives (others offsite), DC Sync between machines, all in one shoulder bag smaller than most womens’ purses. :mrgreen: (And for anyone who says “Well if someone steals that bag, you’re sunk!”… If someone stole their single laptop, they’d have nothing to connect to iCloud with. :smiley: )

Apple manages applications sold on the App Store by reviewing the applications to ensure that they do not present privacy or security threats to those who purchase them. To the degree that this gives the user protection from malicious applications that might try to steal or destroy data, that’s a Good Thing.

There are two obvious downsides to App Store apps. One is that there’s no free trial mode; if you want to try out the application, it must be purchased. Another is that, for a ‘family’ of applications such as our DEVONthink Personal, Pro and Pro Office family, the App Store doesn’t provide for credit on the previous purchase if one wishes to upgrade, e.g., from DEVONthink Personal to DEVONthink Pro Office, as our store does.

Another, less obvious downside is that Apple’s reviews of updates submitted by their developers to applications on the App Store can sometimes result in significant delays before the update becomes available to users. Updates to our applications are immediately available to those who are running applications downloaded from our Download site, but may be delayed by weeks to those who purchased from the App Store.

But the mention of “sandboxing” in previous posts in this thread brings up the most serious issue that our user community and our developers face.

Sandboxing, basically, is restriction of access to data created by one application, by a different application. That sounds like a Good Thing, from the perspective of protecting the user’s privacy and data security from malicious applications.

But sandboxing can also restrict the utility of an application such as DEVONthink, the very purpose of which is to assist the user to manage and make use of the information content of a collection of documents produced by other applications.

That presents a conundrum. Apple’s approach to restricting malicious software from the App Store also restricts software that breaks some of the rules of App Store reviews, but which the user may find very useful. From that perspective, App Store restrictions on choices by users and developers can become a a Bad Thing.

At times, the developer community has worried that Apple might restrict the universe of applications that can be installed on Macs to those accepted by the App Store, as is the case for apps on iOS devices. That hasn’t happened so far, and we hope it does’t happen. Instead, System Preferences allows the user of a Mac to choose among three levels of options for installation of new application on the Mac: App Store applications only, App Store applications plus applications produced by trusted or certified developers, or applications from any source (which does open the user to exposure to malicious developers).

DEVONthink Personal is available both on the App Store and by purchase of a license and download from our Download page. There are some differences, perhaps not obvious to most users of the Personal edition. But for power users, it’s unlikely that DEVONthink Pro Office will become available on the App Store, as features important to many users would have to be removed in that case; the App Store version would be less powerful.

We believe that DEVONtechnologies has demonstrated over the years that our purpose is not to mistreat users, but to provide to users tools that can help them make use of the information they have collected. We think it is important to provide some of those tools outside the App Store, rather than to reduce their utility to our user community. We don’t look at your information, change it, afflict you with ads, modify the filetypes of data sent to a database so as to “capture” users to our software or otherwise try to harm you. :slight_smile:


I’m extremely glad you’re not offended.

It’s definitely a matter of personal preference. I love having a DSG and paddles, but agree there’s something very special and visceral about downshifting and punching it. Things do change, though. Even race cars now prefer DSG and paddles thanks to shift times measured in the tens of milliseconds. You may be good at “heel and toe”, and it might feel good, but you can’t do it in 10 milliseconds.

I disagree about the single laptop, though. Just as I was able to stick a new drive into my laptop and be up and running in under an hour, I could also have purchased a replacement laptop or borrowed a friend’s old one.

We all have to do our own risk assessment.


I love DTPO enough that I WOULD buy another license just to have it on MAS. Also, there are many applications that are available on the developer’s site before Apple gets around to approving the latest release. Not a problem! The convenience is worth waiting a few days.

As for the sandboxing, I think about it differently. Of course I trust DevonTech; I trust Apple and Omni too! Adobe…not so much, but everybody makes mistakes. Sandboxing is not about buying applications from developers you can’t trust. It’s about knowing that an application that you live in and trust won’t make you regret it because somebody had a bad day and goofed. Can you honestly say that DTPO, with its thousands of lines of code, as well as code from third parties like ABBYY, doesn’t have any security issues? In particular, consider the web interface.

It’s not about anybody at DT being malicious. It’s that even Apple and Adobe and Microsoft have been known to ship bugs, and those bugs can be exploited. The developers at DevonThink are awesome; but they’re not perfect, and the compilers and third-party libraries they use are not perfect, and who’s to say that a build server can’t get infected and pass along a malware-infected version of DT? Anti-virus utilities aren’t magical. It’s only AFTER someone detects malware and creates a signature and pushes it out that anything would be caught…that’s even if DT scans their machines every day.

driverdude, I don’t think you got my point. Apple has developed guidelines for their personnel who review applications submitted for posting on the App Store, as well as each update of App Store applications. They have a right to do that.

Apple’s initial announcements about those guidelines sounded pretty Draconian. They raised, for example, concerns about the future of AppleScript, which is used not only by developers but by many individuals not only to automate actions on data but to enable communications between applications.

There are other issues concerning which applications DEVONtechnologies includes on the App Store, and which it does not. For the present, I’ll just mention scripting capabilities.

Scripting isn’t available in DEVONthink Personal, but it is in DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office. If you look at the scripting section of our user forum you will see that many users make use of AppleScript to enable communications between their DEVONthink database and the data of another application, such as Bookends. See, for example, this recent thread: Linking Bookends entries and pdfs in Devonthink

That example seems innocuous at first. A user can make DEVONthink Pro and Bookends collaborate with each other, by means of a scripting platform developed by Apple. The user benefits by this ability. In principle, it violates the concept of sandboxing. The user is unlikely to want to write a script that would damage the data maintained by one application or the other, but it might be possible to do so.

Users often post scripts for the benefit of others, often with a caution such as “use at your own risk, as I didn’t include error checking”. So here we go; DEVONthink Pro has a very large AppleScript dictionary, enabling users to do many things not directly offered by the application itself, including the ability to “talk” back and forth with other applications, especially those that are also scriptable (and of course to make mistakes, some of which could threaten data). DEVONthink Pro enables users to do things that, if directly included in the application, would get it denied from the App Store.

We believe that DEVONthink Pro would have to be significantly dumbed down to allow its acceptance on the App Store. I don’t know how you use DEVONthink Pro, but are you really sure you would want to use the App Store version? I know that I wouldn’t want that.

I see that you are concerned about the quality of code written by developers, by their measures to protect their source code, and so on. Yes, everyone makes mistakes. There are still a number of bugs in OS X. DEVONthink makes a great many calls to OS X, as it uses Apple’s file system to store files, PDFKit to display PDFs, WebKit to display HTML, Apple’s plain and rich text to display/edit text files. DEVONtechnologies encourages bug reports and when those are verified they are corrected in a maintenance release. I’m not aware of any that have been serious security issues. Personally, I have the highest regard for the code written by our principal developer, Christian Grunenberg. He’s one of the best. I’ve been a heavy user of DEVONthink since its introduction in 2002, and it works for me.

In sum, if you think that inclusion on the App Store is the best criterion for selection of all applications, I must politely disagree.

Would we like to see Apple’s App Store review procedures enable us to put DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office on the App Store? Yes, but only if they don’t have to be dumbed down in functionality.


I greatly appreciate your in-depth response.

I’m an AppleScripting maniac, so you got me on that one.

I do find it surprising that Apple would be abandoning AppleScript, but maybe that explains the minimal dictionaries for the new iWork apps.


I get your point. Giving up AppleScript in DTPO would be tough.


Thanks for the spirited conversation, driverdude. :smiley: