New User - DT2 or DT3


Being a long-time owner of DT2, I’ve only recently decided to commit to the product. I did a lot of reading and test drove both DT and Keep-It, and determined I want the power of DT. I want to use the product as my long-term digital brain, having become frustrated with files, notes, web archives, etc. saved all over the place. As a data point, I also enjoy iOS and need to have sync with an iPhone and 2 iPads, as well as between (2) Macs.

When it comes to productivity, I don’t have a lot of patience for overly buggy software in my workflow. Also, I just don’t have the time or patience to deep-dive learn something as complex as DT twice. On the surface, it looks like DT3 maintains a lot of similarity with DT2, but there may be fundamental (and important) differences beneath the hood.

My question is…should I wait for DT3 to exit beta before diving in hard?

I don’t have a lot of patience for overly buggy software in my workflow.

Perhaps you should consider this carefully first.

Running DEVONthink 3 is your decision, but here is my beta admonition: DEVONthink 3 is in beta testing, meant for testing, finding and reporting bugs. It should not be used in mission-critical or production environments.
When beta testing, it’s always wise to use copies of data or test data. I personally also advocate running DEVONthink 3 on a separate macOS User account to keep things isolated. Your data, your choice - but I always err on the side of caution with peoples’ data.

That being said, if you want to try it out - get a feel for it and what it does, yes you can also test it. You can also download manual and get acquainted with the app that way.

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Thank you for your response, but I don’t think I made myself clear.

I wasn’t asking whether I should use DT3 for my current needs. Being a beta, using it for any data of importance is a non-starter and I will not be doing that.

Given how deep a product DT is, what I was asking is whether I could/should get started on implementing DT2 now, and pick up the delta between it and DT3 when DT3 is eventually released. Or, whether it would be better to wait out the beta testing cycle and only learn DT3 (sometime after the official release).

A related question is whether there is a correspondingly major iOS update in the works that might be released in conjunction with the DT3 rollout, or whether the current iOS app is expected to work seamlessly with DT3.

Personal opinion - wait until DT3 is released (or at least close to it). There are some very significant differences between 2 and 3 functionality and You’d have to unlearn a couple of important things. I’ll highlight (because they affect me):

  • Indexing Finder folders is much tighter
  • Auto-group/auto-classify is gone

Both are things you might easily make part of your DT2 workflow.

Another personal opinion of another user but just the same: I second what ThatGuy said.

Although no release date for DT3 has been announced yet it most certainly will not lie too far in the future as the latest beta is referred to as a release candidate already. So why waste time with getting used to terminology, workflows, etc. you might at least partially have to get un-used to again soon after? Not that version 3 is totally different to version 2 but there are differences, see above.

It would make much more sense to try the beta with a copy of some of your data to get used to DT3 beforehand. Then you could use it right away when it is officially released. But that is of course up to you.

The question wether there will be a new version of DTTG coming alongside DT3 has been asked in this forum more than once so I, although being not related to DEVONtechnologies, take the freedom to answer it: No. The iOS/iPadOS version of DT has a different development cycle.

And as a user of it I can assure you the present version of DTTG does work fine already with DT3.

While you’re mentioning Reinvented Software’s Keep-It … About ten years ago I was using Together, predecessor of Keep-It and successor of Keep It Together, intended to be my “long-term digital brain”, as you exactly nailed it. I was not happy with its performance even though the number of items in its (single) database wasn’t huge. Which totally stood against longevity. Money was tight then so I had to take a deep breath before purchasing DTPO (full blast version, of course). I did and I never ever looked back and I got my money’s worth back at least tenfold. (Although I promised to myself I will give Reinvented’s information manager a shot as soon as it is called It. :drooling_face:) ((EDIT: I hope this didn’t sound mean; I’m just silly.))

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Thank you both for your highly insightful suggestions. You guys are pretty fantastic and these forums happen to be one of the “features” that pushed me away from Keep-It and towards DT. Much appreciated.

I am sad to hear that Auto-Group/Auto-Classify is gone in DT3. Even though I never got DT2 implemented as my workflow, that feature always intrigued me as one that seemed amazing, useful and magical.

I’m also disappointed to learn that DTTG isn’t on a related dev cycle. I’m strongly considering moving to a much heavier iPad-centered configuration, but understand that DTTG is significantly less featured than DT2. DEVONTechnologies seemingly has an exceptionally long dev cycle, so it may be a really long time before DTTG sees a significant upgrade as to make iOS app a first class citizen.

All this said, I still think the DT will be the better choice for me and I’ll hold off on a comprehensive study until DT3 final drops.

These forums definitely had their share in me moving to DT too. So I am always glad if I can give a bit back here.

“My question is…should I wait for DT3 to exit beta before diving in hard?”

I am a long-time ‘owner’ of DTPO who also took a while before committing to regular daily use. I am not especially curious so I don’t explore everything that a new app (new to me, that is) has to offer. I simply work out/search help what I have to do to use the app for my needs and continue where I left off from whatever app or manual process I was using before. For me, an app is a tool, a means to an end. I doubt if I could improve my workflow (apart from not wasting time on forums!) but am happy to listen to suggestions and incorporate them when they make sense,

I browse the DT forum regularly, currently twice a day, and what I’ve found/find is that the questions (in English) and answered (ditto) - unless in German in which case I wonder what I’m missing out on - have led me to discover features in DTPO and check whether new to DT3 or already in DTPO that I never knew about before; in some instances I have started using them in DTPO. I ask questions and comment and am contributing on this forum to the public DT3 beta; the latter to my amazement because I’ve always thought beta testing the province of the technically knowledgeable. (I’m still recovering from a comment from Houdah Spot support in answer to my question about something, I quote " > Good catch. Months of development, beta testing, and then public release and nobody noticed.")

You could wait for DT3 to exit beta before diving in hard but I would suggest diving in hard to DT2 whilst you have time before DT3 ‘finished product’ emerges. ('Finished; subject to urgent updates as a result of something(s) nobody notices during beta testing!) Noting that a couple of features in DT2 are not in DT3 you could skip learning those but otherwise apart from the interface and the absence of 3 panes view I should think much of it very similar.

For my experimentation with DT3 beta, I am getting to know the whereabouts of commands and so on. I’m not using DT3 beta for anything critical or production and I’'m not using the new sorter or the plug-in for Apple Mail but so far a combination of what is quite possibly limited knowledge of DT2 is standing in me in good stead for playing about with DT3 beta, so much so that I’m very much looking forward to switching to DT3 permanently in due course.


Thank you for your comments. It’s been awhile since there was such a massive update to DT, I can’t recall how long it might take for DT3 to exit beta. So, I’m leaning towards getting to know DT2 a little better in the short term.

This thread reminded me of a proverb I heard somewhere: “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second best time is now.”
Getting started in DT2 is better than no start at all!

I’m truly astounded how small daily adds to my database generate some amazing insights over time. DT2 is the best research assistant possible - it’s always available and never complains.

If you start with DT2, you’ll be in the same position as many of us with databases already developed. The DT team made it very easy for DT3 to read the DT2 database - you just open it in DT3. So eventually when DT3 exits beta, no problem.

I would second what @mog said:

However, I would also encourage some experimentation. For instance the several threads on Annotations that discussed some differences between DT2 and DT3 helped me reexamine my note taking process.
Overall, I think the point is to get work done in the way that best makes sense to you. Fortunately DT has a lot of options. It’s kind of like a choose your own adventure novel!

Interesting suggestion here. Perhaps I could start using DT2 as the tool by which to conduct my experimentation into DT3? That way, I get to learn DT2 whilst I probe into DT3…

FYI, even though auto classify is not in DT3, it still has “see also” that uses the same AI to help me quickly file items from the inbox to the appropriate group. I never got to the point where I would trust auto classify with DT2 due to the way I picked my groups not for any software problem. So most of the time when I process my DT3 inboxes, it will suggest the right group and I confirm that with a move (click or shortcut key). When I want to store something in another group or perhaps replicate it to multiple groups, then the DT3 search field for groups makes that much more efficient than with DT2. I uninstalled DT2 months ago and have been using DT3 and DTTG (iOS) exclusively between one Mac, one iPhone, and one iPad with iCloud as the sync.

It is true that DTTG is not as full featured, but I rely on it all the time mainly to capture emails, web articles, ideas from Drafts when I’m away from my Mac. If I need to take action on an item, I share it from DT to OmniFocus, whether on iOS or Mac. The DT link in OmniFocus will work on both platforms. If I need to access my project files organized in DT from my Windows desktop, I move that project to the external folder (DT indexed files). That way if I have a iThoughts mind map in a personal project folder, I can open it up with iThoughts on Windows browsing to my projects folder on iCloud drive.

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This is still available but the menu item is automatically renamed and includes the destination group, e.g. “Classify to …”.

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