Maintaining internal folder names when synching

Hi there

Am I right in thinking that the internal folder structure within a DevonThink database is not replicated exactly when the database is synchronised between two Macs and, if so, is there anyway to enforce exact replication? My reason for asking is as follows -

I have a database that I synchronise between a MacBook and an iMac via CloudKit. The database contains a small number of items that I sometimes want to access quickly, i.e. without opening DevonThink. To do this, I put a direct link to the item in the body of a task or calendar event within Things 3 and Apple Calendar respectively. Both apps are also synchronised across the two machines via iCloud.

I have noticed that, although DevonThink synchronises the database, it does not maintain the same internal structure. For example, I have a markdown-format planning checklist inside the database and on both computers it resides within an ‘md’ folder within the DevonThink package, but the sub-folder is different - md/3f in one case and md/29 in the other. This means that I have to provide two links for every file so that I can choose the correct link for the machine I am working on.

The iMac is running Big Sur while the MacBook is running Ventura. I don’t know if this makes a difference. I also wondered if a different sync method (e.g. Bonjour) would make a difference.

I would greatly appreciate your advice on whether I can eliminate the need for separate iMac and MacBook links to these individual files.

with best wishes

Did you try using the x-devonthink-item link instead of fiddling around with DT internals? I don’t know if these UUIDs are maintained across machines, though. And how exactly look the “links” you’re using?

Hi Christer

Wow! Thank you so much for your speedy response. :slightly_smiling_face: In answer to your questions -

  • If I understand correctly, the x-devonthink-item link launches DevonThink. I wanted to avoid this extra step just to open, say, a short checklist, especially as DevonThink (I think) doesn’t allow markdown checkboxes to be checked off easily, so I would still need to open the file in, say, Typora.

  • The links I’m using are like this - file:///Users/claireappleby/PARA/2%20Areas/Planning/Planning.dtBase2/Files.noindex/md/3f/ - not very pretty, but functional.

with best wishes

The bottom line is that DEVONtechnologies does not support nor recommend doing anything with the internals of their database. For lots of reasons and I think you found one–folder names change (under the application’s control).

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And worse than that, if you modify externally a file, DT will end complaining due checksum has changed.

If you want to control your files, index them (out of any cloud service) instead of importing them.


Thank you, @rmschne and @rfog. I appreciate both of your replies and, as you quite correctly state, my question is motivated by the need to avoid getting anywhere near the ‘internals’ of DevonThink. I am very willing to change my sync method or even upgrade my OS so that both machines are running the same version. I suspect this won’t make any difference, but I just wondered, since I’m not sure of the origin of the different folder names.

If that’s all you want to do … then put the files in some “cloud” sync service folder, e.g. Dropbox, then index them into DEVON think. Then work with those files outside of DEVONthink.

Please carefully read the sections in the “DEVONthink Manual” about the added complexity and issues of indexing vs. importing, especially with files in a cloud synced folder.