My Holy Grail!

My ‘Holy Grail’ of computing is to use the DEVONthink suite of programmes, and particularly Pro Office as the hub, for as much of my work as possible. This, hopefully, would enable me to cut down on the number of Apps I have but rarely use. I am sure that DTPO can already do a great deal of this but I am not sufficiently competent to implement it, hence this posting.

My mostly used applications are:

  1. Database—well covered by DTPO :smiley:
  2. Web Browsing & Searching, (I do have DEVONagent Pro)
  3. Mail, (see the thread Email import / archive)
  4. Word Processing, (at a very simple level, e.g. I very rarely use Pages but more often Text Edit)
  5. Spreadsheet, (again at a very simple level, more as an alternative database rather than for calculations)
  6. Diary, (this would be for me a major breakthrough)
  7. Mind Mapping, (use MyThoughts for this)
  8. Photography, (out of the scope of DTPO and rightly so, although as a database for images it has its uses)

How practical all this is I really don’t know but would value people’s ideas, hints and opinions on how to incorporate as much as possible within DTPO; do you use DEVONthink for any of 2 to 6 above? If so let us know what and how you do it.

I don’t use DEVONthink for items 1 to 6, or 1 to 7 on @Allsop’s list. I use DEVONthink for item 1, but for less than 20% of my computing time. Though DEVONthink is open continually on my MBA and MacPro, and I’m in and out of it frequently, I would never want to use it as a replacement tool for any of 2 through 7 on the list.

I have very large stores of original work I’ve produces in various media, personal and business research, and photography – these are my valuable intellectual property assets, and I set aside a good chunk of time monthly to research and plan new and better ways to protect, manage and use these data. I learned a long time ago to not fall in with software, because it always dies young. Always. My goal is to protect my work, not my software, so my planning assumes that no app I work with today will be relevant in 24 months. I make a point of evaluating ways to eliminate dependencies on any particular program, including DEVONthink. :open_mouth:

My default future-proofing requirement for non-graphical apps is that they use plain text for data storage – where structured data is needed, then XML (or JSON) will suffice because it can be read without the software that created it. What this means in practice is that I now do 90% of my writing in plain text with inline markup – whereas a year ago I did 90% in Word. If I need pretty output, it’s easy to do. DEVONthink loves plain text better than anything else, by the way. It loves PDFs second best, so that’s why I make PDFs print files from every Office document because I believe Office will die sooner than DEVONthink.

I’ll admit to more than my share of CRIMPing, and have purchased more apps than I’ll ever use. But, so what’s wrong with working with 5, 7, or dozens of special-purpose apps that do one thing well? OS X makes it really easy to work in multiple tools and jump back and forth as needed. DEVONthink doesn’t stand in the way of that mode of work – it enhances it.

Many of us here can probably admit that. :laughing:

Which is in the spirit of Doug McIlroy’s original Unix philosophy:

“Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together. Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.”

… with use in addition to write.

I have searching for the same holy grail and have gone past a number of potential products, such as Alfresco, SharePoint, Evernote, OneNote, etc. I settled on DEVONthink Pro Office because of the capability to easily scan and index documents, but the interface is so flexible that I am using it for a lot more now. I invested in the eBook (recommended) which got me started on how every function works and why it’s there.

With the syncing capability and the web server component it solved my problem of being location or system bound. I now store all my documents in DEVONthink and the searching is awesome. I use it for my RSS feeds, video and image storage as well. I don’t use Apple Mail so getting my email from Outlook for Mac (or Gmail for that matter) into DEVONthink is still one of the things on my wish list.

All in all it ticks all the boxes for me without being this monstrosity of an app that hogs all resources and then still don’t give you what you want. I us it in conjunction with a few smaller apps but are slowly moving away from it all just to have everything in multiple DEVONthink databases.

How can I use DT with external files? I do not want to put all my invoices and receipts into a DT database, and run the risk of it corrupting and then I am screwed if there was a tax audit of my business!

Rather I would like to keep my PDF files on a file server (NAS) and have DT index and categorize them. How to do this?

As mentioned in the other thread where you cross-posted the question, there are lots of existing resources available. The “index vs import” question (which is what you’re asking about) has over 900 threads on that topic alone. Read, especially, anything written recently on indexing by Greg Jones.

Thanks for your reply. My repeat of post was because I found this thread after my original, and thought a reply here might be more efficient. I shall follow up your kind suggestion. Cheers.

Late answer but iI long since decided to find specific apps that work well rather than trying to find the one app to rule them all. Even a Swiss Army knife has a bunch of separate tools on it. :wink:

So for me the apps I use for those functions are as follows:

2 Safari
3 Apple Mail (But I am moving a lot of mail storage to DTPO)
4 and 5 Libre Office for simple letters and all spreadsheets, Scrivener for novels, research proposals reports and articles.
6 iCal
7 Scapple (I am a not a mind mapper so Scapple is sufficient for what I do
8 LightRoom for cataloging with Photoshop for picture manipulations

To that I add the following special purpose apps that I use all the time:

1Password to keep track of all my various passwords and secure notes
SplashShopper for my shopping lists
Omnifocus for my GTD system lists
Aeon Timeline to make timelines both for research purposes and for novels and stories
Fetch FTP client
Reunion genealogical data storage (although I am looking at combining it with DTPO per some other threads in usage)
TextExpander hot key creation
Hazel automating stuff
ChronoSync suspenders backup of bootable hard drive (Time Machine is the belt backup)
Eclipse Android programming IDE
SQLiteStudio and Firefox with SQLite plug in for database design

Trying to make one app do it all seems counterproductive to me.

(removed; pointless suggestion)

I never integrate those things into my calendar. I use it for only hard landscape appointments and then a tracking of what I did that day. My integration of events and tasks is usually done in Omnifocus with start dates. Calendar is more historical with a few look ahead things for me.