Mellel and Bookends

I am an avid Mellel and Bookends user (and now an avid DT user too!). I was wondering if there is any plans at some integration with these apps. The trio really does make a winning combo, but could be better. For instance, I do everything with Mellel, but I can’t drag and drop Mellel files on to DT, which really sucks.
As far as Bookends, it serves a very specific function and does it extremely well. I am wondering if there is anyway to search both DT and Bookends simultaneously. Here is my humble idea (bear in mind I know nothing about the programming side of things): Is there a way that the XML exporting feature of Bookends can be used to create a Bibliographic Sheet in DT? That way the info is there and searchable. No need to have the ability to add content, the user can do that in Bookends itself. Just some thoughts from someone who isn’t too smart anyway.

Hi. As an avid DT, Mellel, and Bookends user, you are in good company. Seems there are quite a few of us around. There are a lot of threads pertaining to these combinations and how they may or may not work together. I’d suggest doing some searches within the forum. And with the Mellel and Bookends forums as well.



I’m a new user to DT, but I use Mellel and Bookends extensively. I would absolutely love to see integration between these three products. I suspect DT will be able to handle Mellel documents much better once the Redlers introduce their XML document format with Mellel 2.0.

Don’t expect too much from XML document formats - the only immediate improvement for DT is that DT will be able to index XML files and therefore at least searching, see also, classify, concordance etc. will work. But still this won’t render Mellel documents. Not to mention existing documents - without batch converting few people will convert them on their own to XML.

Just a quick note about XML: Sometimes people think that XML is a general format that any program can read and understand. This is not quite true, XML is a definition of “how to define different document formats”. This mean that one program can define a document format A that is an XML format, another program can define another format B that is also an XML format but this does not mean that the first program can read B or vice versa.

And if the first program can read the B format (this is not that difficult) it probably have no idea of what to do with the information found in the document. In a case like Mellel, not only does other programs need to know what to do with the information in the document, they also have to render the information (in other words, it has to re-implement a large part of the code that Mellel uses to display its documents).

I also wish that DT can read and show Mellel-Files as it works with RTFs. I don’t know anything about about programmers’ problems, but I can imagine that the Redlers (the makers of Mellel) are open to cooperate with you DEVON-people to make both applications working better together.

Even greater it would be if easy editing of Mellel-documents will be possible within DT pro.

We contacted them and asked for a filter service (e.g. like PDF2RTFService) so that any Cocoa application (TextEdit, DEVONthink) could read Mellel documents. However, they’re not interested in this.

Maybe some day DT will be able to display Mellel 2.0 XML documents but editing (or displaying 1.x documents) will definitely never come.

I also want myself add to the list of Mellel users that likes to see some more support in DTpro.

I totaly agree, that the current format shouldn’t be supportet but I think with MeXML this could be done. I don’t need to edit those Mellel files in DTpro and think that’s not possible without building 80% of Mellel into DT but if I could view those files and open them with a click in Mellel, this would be great.

I also would convert the old files (the one I need) to the new XML format as soon as it sees the light of day.

As I haven’t purchased DTpro at the moment (still evaluating) I would be interested in a coarse timeframe when such a support could be built in (6 month, a year, …). Saving each file as Mellel and RTF couldn’t be the ideal workflow.


Here’s a trick that will work with Mellel and many other unsupported file types:

[1] In DT/DT Pro, create a new rich text document and open it.

[2] In the Finder, drag a document onto the DT/DT Pro rich text window and drop it. This will create a double-clickable link to the document.

[3] In DT/DT Pro, double-click on the document icon in the text window. This will open the document under it’s native application.

[4] In the open document, press Command-A to select all, then Command-C to copy to the clipboard.

[5] In the DT/DT Pro text window, place the cursor at an insertion point and press Command-V to past the clipboard contents.

Now DT/DT Pro can search and analyze the text of the unsupported file type, and there’s a clickable link to the original document. There’s a bit of manual effort, but it goes quickly. And if you edit the original document, just copy the text again to the clipboard, open the DT/DT Pro version and replace the text with the new clipboard contents.

I don’t use Bookends myself. However, I understand that you can produce BibTeX from it. BibTeX is the citation format used by LaTeX typesetting packages. I hate LaTeX myself, but I was trying to figure out the other day how to import my references into DevonThink out of EndNote.

I actually have multiple EndNote databases but I also have one which is the aggregation of all of my EndNote databases minus duplicates which I call “AllEm”. I use that for quickly searching for citations when I’m not sure which topic-specific database I might have the original reference in. I took that database, selected all of the references in it, and told EndNote to format them using the “BibTeX” stylesheet. I copied the styled references to the Mac’s clipboard, pasted the result into a text file, and saved it as AllEm.bibtex.

According to the documentation shipping with DevonThink Pro (1.01), it should be able to import BibTeX entries into a sheet from either files ending in .bibtex or .bib. .bibtex didn’t work. .bib did. I ended up with a sheet with all of my references in it which I can search now in DevonThink.

This isn’t my preferred result, though. I think I’d probably prefer if each record was a separate note that I could “link” to. I’m not sure, though. I’m new to DevonThink and I haven’t had sufficient opportunity to explore.

Anyway, you can try a similar method with Bookends. As I said, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that it supports producing BibTeX. Good luck!

Nice idea! I hope this got taken up.

(Another Bookends and Mellel user, though I sometimes write in DT, until I try to italicize a single word and end up italicising the whole note )

PS I also use Sente, Tinderbox and Stickybrain for the things they do especially well, but DT is the home port in my information archipelago. It would be lovely if all these apps could talk to each other in some reliable and intuitive way. But that’s another subject.

I too am an extensive DTPro and Mellel user (and Sente for bibliogtraphic software). Mellel 2.0 has just been released. At first glance any signs of displaying Mellel 2.0 files in DTPro?

How to overcome these workflow bottlenecks - LinkBack?
Along with DTPro and Mellel, the two other primary applications that I use are OmniOutliner Pro and OmniGraffle Pro. With the OO 3.5beta release, both apps, OO and OG, are LinkBack capable. Would it be technically realistic and worthwhile to make DT LinkBack enabled? Would this provide the capability for DT to not only display additional file types (providing of course Mellel and others join in), but would also be editable? It would smooth my daily workflow and save considerable time.

[“LinkBack is an open source framework for Mac OS X that helps developers integrate content from other applications into their own. A user can paste content from any LinkBack-enabled application into another and reopen that content later for editing with just a double-click. Changes will automatically appear in the original document again when you save.”]

Any comments would be most appreciated.

Maybe version 2.x will support LinkBack but in the end this depends on how many applications will support this in the next few months.

This reply is so late that it may be of no use to the original poster, but I wouldn’t want future searchers of the forum to come away with the impression that individual bibliographic items (references) in sheets generated by BibTeX are not linkable. You need to open the sheet, click on the item (the row in the sheet) to select it, THEN CLICK ON THE “Open Current Selection” button (not double-click on the entry), click on the Show Info button, and create a memorable alias in the Aliases field. Then typing the alias in any text or rich text note you create will open that record in the database.

This is almost a dream come true. The missing piece is that if you update your reference database externally to DT and then replace the old one all those aliases and links disappear. This issue is being discussed in another thread:

It does. So do JabRef, Wikindx, CiteULike, Sente, BibDesk, and …? (However, they don’t all necessarily understand each other’s BibTeX.)