Newbie Organization question

Hi all

I just bought DTPro in order to move my stuff and more that currently I manage through another content management app.
After reading several topics in this forum I arrive to something in term of organization I think suit to me but I would like (before to go on my solution) some comment on it.
My DB is about History research in order to prepare me for a future reassignment in historical studies then I decided to have several DTP databases (1 per historical period) and for each ones I will index all pdf files as they are the bigger references I have (for 1 of then I have about 40 GB of pdf…) and will put in the DB the other files like images and email (other solution I thought was to have 1 DB per nature of data and by period then about 12 DB rather than 4).
The questioning I have now is where to locate my DB and data.
My objective is to manipulate the DTP databases from my Laptop first of all BUT also in the near future from my iPad (I wait the v2 of DT to go for this) then I thought to store my DBs and data on the same central place.
I read that Dropbox wasn’t a right choice but now I think about several option:

  • Store on my external wireless hard drive (my preference as I need it at any time as I store all my pdf files including those mentioned above as I use it as my iPad external storage)
  • Store on a WebDav folder but this solution means that I need an internet connection which is not always possible (specifically my iPad is an Wifi model and then not everywhere I can connect it to internet)
    Where I am still confused is about work on the DB from my iPad with DT to go should it means I must use sync functionality in my describe case or not ?
    That’s where I am in term of reflexion and I would like your inputs
    Another point regarding solution 1 is the backup of the DBs as a hard drive is a hard drive then possible crash down so it’s very important for me to backup my DBs somewhere else…what’s strategy should I have to deploy for this ?
    Many thanks in advance for your help
    Best regards


While I’ve read articles and reviews about portable WiFi drives to add storage capacity to iOS devices, I’ve never had the opportunity to test one. I suppose they work as described.

However, without having had the opportunity to test such a drive, I would have reservations about using that to store DEVONthink databases for access from a Mac, unless such device also includes, for example, a USB (preferably USB 3 for recent Macs) connection to the Mac. That’s because there are more potentials for speed slowdowns and connection dropouts via WiFi than via a direct connection of the storage medium to the Mac. Speed of data transfers, if low, might not only result in slow performance of some procedures in the database, but raise the potential of timeouts, e.g., of scripts, and so failures to complete some procedures. Connection dropouts could result in missing or corrupted data, and so database damage.

If the WiFi connection is sufficiently fast and stable, perhaps a database could be run with a reasonable level of performance and integrity. I would recommend frequent tests of database integrity, and an independent backup system.

But that would certainly not be true if the database itself were run from access via WebDAV. The potentials for database errors and corruption are entirely too high.

Another approach would be to store the document files and folders–not the database file–on the portable WiFi device or in the cloud, and Index rather than Import them into the database. That’s because access of individual files is much less likely to fail than proper management of the dynamic DEVONthink database on such media. With that approach, iOS devices could directly access the individual files that are shared with the DEVONthink databases on the Mac.

Our developers are working on the next generation of the Sync procedure for syncing databases among Macs. And the next generation of DEVONthink To Go will use a new Sync procedure base on the second generation DEVONthink Sync and will include many other improvements. While iOS devices still lack the horsepower of current Macs, I think users will be delighted with the improved functionality of Sync in both environments.

As usual, we don’t make comments on when updates will be available, or all of the expected features. :slight_smile:

Thanks Bill for your input

About the WIFI storage which is mainly dedicated for a usage with an iOS device there is also an USB cable furnished to be used to connect the storage device to a computer so no issue on that point.
About the document definitively I’ll put all of them on the WIFI storage and I’ll then index all them.
Now on the approach you recommend I am still confused how this will work with my iPad if the databases will be stored on my MacBook Pro… because my intent is to not take my MBP everywhere and every time with me but rather my iPad only for the moment I’ll be away from home.
Is it through synchronization I will have access to the databases on my iPad ? if yes where should I put the sync databases to be used by my iPad ?



The reason for existence of those WiFi drives that can store files accessible to some apps on iOS devices is just that capability. Because DEVONthink can Index those files, they can also be accessed (within a much more powerful environment) in a DEVONthink database. That has little to do with synchronization techniques. It is an example of completely independent ways of using the same files. But as some iOS apps can export files out to the WiFi drive, and DEVONthink can also export files out to the WiFi drive, work done in one of those independent environments can also be reflected in the other.

DEVONthink To Go can sync with one or more DEVONthink databases on a Mac. Selected content can be sent from a Mac database to the iOS device, and new content added to a DEVONthink To Go database, or edit changes, can then be synced back to the corresponding Mac database.

OK thanks Bill I start to understand the process. :slight_smile:

Maybe should I have to first start within a testing environment buy the current DT to go and try the process you describe ?


I am chaining on to this discussion with a different but related question. I am about to travel abroad for a fellowship for several months. I want to take my PDFS with me, and I have many that have not yet made it into DT Pro. I have been using DT Sync with Dropbox, and it seems to work but am wondering whether it would make more sense to just get an external drive, make that my central DT DB and work from that alone? I will be using an iPad for some reading, but mostly working from a Mac Air.


Just to share my experience
I put all my DBs (as the Sync files) on an external Hard Drive (I put my GB of PDFS as well on the Hard Drive and used the Indexed method to build my DBs).
The Hard Drive is a Wifi one but I used on my MacBook Pro by connection on USB port.
At the moment I haven’t yet purchased the DT To go (I am waiting of version 2) so I am not able to give you something more about the sync on mobile device (I have an iPad too and my intent is to work on my DBs with it once will have DT To go)

Best Regards


Yes, that works. I’ve done that a number of times when on travel. Putting the DEVONthink databases on an external portable drive (USB3 is pretty fast - and inexpensive- for recent Macs) is a good idea, especially if the Mac laptop doesn’t have much free disk space.

Relying on Internet access while on travel is much too iffy to suit me. If you have any sensitive information in your databases, it’s better protected if running from a portable drive than running to and from the cloud via whatever WIFI network you might be able to use.

Thanks to you both for a quick reply. As always, the helpfulness of this community shines through (and you especially Bill).
One question: what do you mean by the “indexing method.”
Also, this was briefly stated, but I am about to pour many hundreds of PDFs into this hard drive. Does it make sense to just start a new DB or try to integrate with older categories? I know this is an ongoing debate almost as old as DT (the “how many DBs?” question).
Related to this, is there a way to make the external drive my DT master, i.e. the reference for all other devices?
Thanks again.