Notebook and DevonThink

I came across this user comment on VersionTracker re Notebook from Circusponies :

NoteBook and DEVONthink complement each other well ???
How to manage this information? I think I’ve tried every organizer, outliner and document database application for Macs.

The winners are NoteBook and DEVONthink, which complement each other beautifully.

NoteBook holds my daily journals, notes and article drafts. Everything is indexed for fast searches – not only words, but keywords, highlighted items and creation or edit date. For example, if I think an item might be a good topic for an article, I label it with a custom keyword – a great memory aid. Later, I can come back to the labeled cell and start writing the article within NoteBook. (NoteBook has a neat View option, focus on selected cell, that let’s me display just the outline I’m working on.)

DEVONthink is my big, smart document database. It holds many thousands of pages of reference material. Not only are searches amazingly fast and flexible, but DEVONthink can suggest similar items, alternative terms and lots of other knowledge mining assistance features. I wouldn’t drop a 252-page PDF document into NoteBook, but my DEVONthink database contains items that big or bigger (I use TextLightning, so that I can see the RTF text search results).

I often use NoteBook as my ‘front end’ to DEVONthink. I can initiate DEVONthink searches from within NoteBook via OS Services. Likewise, from within DEVONthink, I can send text clippings (for example, quotes or bibliographic material) directly to NoteBook. And NoteBook holds my notes and comments arising from looking at material in DEVONthink. Through OS X Services, there’s a wonderful synergy.

Jayson Adams, the programmer of NoteBook, is extremely responsive and helpful. I wanted to be able to reference external files without including them in NoteBook. Jayson suggested using path URLs, which works great not only in NoteBook, but also in DEVONthink.

re the above I haven’t yet tried Notebook, but am wondering if it contains anything which I don’t already have in DevonNote ? Presumably I could use Devon Note with Devon Think in a similar combination ?  Does DevonNote have anything extra which is NOT included in Notebook?
I don’t want to multiply the Notetaking software ( on my Mac G5 running Panther OSX )

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated


Since I wrote the mini-review you saw in Version Tracker, I’ll take a shot at responding to your questions.

At the time I wrote those comments I was using, if memory serves, DEVONthink PE version 1.4 to start storing a large reference database dealing primarily with environmental science, technology and management topics. Several thousand of those references are PDF files. I was using CP NoteBook as a journal and article drafting app, in part because I wanted to keep my drafts separated from my reference database so as not to confuse DT’s classification and search routines. Also, DT PE 1.4 wasn’t as comfortable or capable an environment for writing notes and drafts as DEVONnote is today. It didn’t have, for example, features such as Wiki linking.

A few months after I wrote those comments, I switched from NoteBook to AquaMinds’ NoteTaker for project journals and drafting. Two reasons: early stability problems with NoteTaker were finally cleared up, and NoteTaker offered better output in PDF and HTML.

For quite some time now I’ve been using prerelease versions of DEVONthink Pro to manage my growing reference collection (now approaching eleven million words). Because of the sheer size and types of content in the database, I need DT Pro rather than DEVONnote.

But I’m doing more and more writing and drafting inside of DT Pro rather than in NoteTaker, now. DT Pro (like DEVONnote) is becoming a comfortable writing environment, and I get a lot of use from Wiki-linking in organizing material. Also, the current alpha of DT Pro lets me exclude drafts and notes from classification, if I wish.

For writing projects, DT’s weakness now is that it can’t produce formatted documents with pagination, nor can it produce HTML output. (Christian has promised to tackle those issues down the line.)

Today, I’m using NoteTaker more as a “back end” to DEVONthink. I use NoteTaker to handle printing, PDF and/or HTML output of projects that I’ve done in DEVONthink. (I could use MS Word or other word processors to do that, but I really like the layout of PDF/HTML documents that I get from NoteTaker, especially for technical writing.)

Bottom line: Unless you’re planning a large (or multiple) database or need the special features of DT PE or DT Pro, DEVONnote will probably serve you well by itself. Until better printing output (which will probably come soon) is available, It’s easy to copy/paste or export material for document layout in any of a number of word processors.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Thanks Bill for that helpful and informative respose !  :)

I might have guessed you would be up on this forum also .

Your comments and bottom line advice are exactly what I was trying to sort out.  My retiree’s needs are obviously nowhere near as great as your professional usage.

I was interested in your switch back to NoteTaker - it seemed to get a real slamming in VersionTracker, turning me off even considering it.

Notebook has some nice features - but perhaps Christian might look into including some of these in DevNote sometime   :slight_smile:
In the meantime , I think I 'll conserve my $.

Thanks again for your help

Hey, at 72 I’m a retiree, too. But I’m busier and having more fun than ever. :slight_smile:

I’ve have DT, NB, NT, but Hog Bay Notebook fills a different work space.

I use it for the equivalent of a desktop legal pad. Great for one line thoughts plus it has Move To, Copy To, Clone To. Multiple notebook views

The new 3.5 beta is worth a look. Available on HB forum

Thanks for your replies, Guys

Bill - at 74 I’ve two years on you ! But like you it would appear, am keeping ‘zee leettle grey cells’ bouncing along in this overfull time of ‘retirement’- what a misnomer :slight_smile:

But it certainly beats all those academic politics - I had 22 years of those in fields similar your own- as a Prof of Architecture and Urban Design, CAD and Visual Design/ Communication - here in SW Ontario
We obviously share also the same anal packrat tendencies ( how many million words did you say you have in your DT database ??!!) And I thought I was obsessive ?  (grin)

Thanks also to you Bob for the heads up on Hog Bay Notebook - will add that to my list of SW to explore


Have now tried HBay , thanks to your suggestion - and like it

How do you think it compares with DevonNote ?

There doesn’t appear to be much point in owning/using both ?