DEVONthink Pro Office comes with a handy build-in web server that allows you to search your database from other locations, even from an Internet café. As we plan to enhance the web server component I would love to know if you already use the web server, and if yes, how? Do you also use the iPhone applet?
I am not using DEVONthink much yet because I am waiting for DT2 in the hope it will allow us to transfer existing windows (ultrarecall) databases with metadata fields, but when (and if) this is done we are looking for webserver functionality for coworkers, hopefully with multilevel security
While DEVONThinkPro Office is something that I use almost every day, there is still a lot about it that I don’t know. (Addressing this is on my ever-expanding To Do list.) This is the first time that I’ve heard about the web server capability – it sounds intriguing.
One of the types of questions you may want to ask in a poll like this is, " were you aware of this capability?" This could indicate that you may want to promote a feature a little more to get a better sampling of how people use and would like to use a capability in order to better focus its development.
I voted “too complicated” but don’t mean that the setup in DTP is too complex - the setup with networks and routers and wi-fi-mathingies is too complex. I probably could have figured it out, but don’t have time or energy to fiddle with those things
The only time I can actually access the webserver is when the computer is on the same local network, which in my case, is right next to it, which again, makes the need for a web server rather useless
I know this isn’t your responsibility but my opinion is that either you need to provide a service or system to access your notes from everywhere, like Evernote etc, or I think for most people without an IT-department to set things up or leased IP solution, this isn’t “get-a-cup-of-coffee-at-the-internet-cafe-and-access-your-database” as you make it sound…
I’m mentioning this because I really would love for this to work
I keep putting off looking into this, mainly because of the (perceived) time involved. It’s one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but since I usually have my laptop with me when I would need any info in my database, I already have my database with me.
The iPhone applet I didn’t know about. Is there a blurb about it somewhere? I’m assuming that it works with non-jailbroken phones.
Yes, sure, it works with any iPhone as it’s a simple HTML/AJAX applet provided by DEVONthink Pro Office’s web server.
Thanks, Eric. I check the forums periodically but only just recently subscribed to the blog RSS feed, hence my ignorance. (A nice way of saying My Bad! ) I’ll check it out later today.
The main use I found for this feature: I’ve setup a data sheet (i.e. kind of a cardfile) with all my serial numbers, registration codes, etc. Now, each time I need to re-enter a license key (update, online order, re-installation, etc.) on another machine on my network, it’s ultra-easy to copy and paste right from Safari!
Not sure if this question belongs in this thread or not, but how secure is the method recommended by the articles Eric linked to? Unfortunately, I’m not a security expert so though I set up the DNS part, I started to get nervous at opening ports.
Thanks (and please move this to wherever it best fits).
Well, yes, you need to open a port. However, DEVONthink Pro Office comes with password protection. And, of course, you can also use SSH or a VPN software for higher security.
I just upgraded to DEVONthink Pro Office, and very much look forward to making use of its additional features.
First: I love DEVONthink and love the concept of the web interface. (If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have just spent the money to upgrade my copy.) These critiques are offered in the spirit of improving a great product…
The search comparison operator should default to fuzzy, not exact. Especially on an iPhone, I’m rarely going to type EXACTLY the case-sensitive word or phrase I need to find. (I just posted how to change this behavior here.)
The DEVONthink logo should take you back to the web interface home page, not the DEVONthink product page. We already know what DEVONthink is – and it’s intuitive to click the main image to go to the main page… not be directed away. (I posted a quick fix for that in a comment in the above thread.)
Would love to be able to browse the file hierarchy, not just search.
Like others, I often keep my Mac with me (and on it, my DEVONthink databases). Having the database tied to my machine is a significant limitation. I’d love to see an option for hosted databases, a la Evernote’s synchronized notebooks, that would be available all the time via web. Possible in DT 2.0?
I’d love to see editing capabilities in the web server. Even the capability to jot plain-text notes in the web interface, which would end up in your designated inbox, would be a step forward.
Those are some initial thoughts. When I get my iPhone next weekend I’m sure I’ll have more specific input re: real-world usage.
I’d like to know more about the capabilities of the web server. Are there any other hooks into DTPO that could be exploited in future releases? Could we switch databases? (I guess this might be mimicked depending on the existence of cross-database links in DTP2) Could we execute AppleScript?
I kind of like the idea of the database being read-only as far as the web interface is concerned. I’m less worried about someone cracking the security and reading stuff than I am with someone cracking the security and replacing all of my documents with Spam Of course, given a proper warning and option to enable/disable the functionality…
Will there be a way to easily and conveniently edit the CSS for viewing files, or editing the webpage template to put a little “Home” link and “Download” link, or something similar? Could these files be stored inside the database or modified through Preferences á la the template for new documents?
I’ve merely explored this as a curiosity so far. I only have one computer right now When DTP2 comes out, though, I predict that my wife and I will use this somewhat more frequently to figure out which bills need to be paid and when, what our schedules are, etc etc.
What if DTPO’s web server could make other applications’ information available via the web?
For instance, I’m subscribed to .Mac. I can access my Address Book, iCal, iPhoto (published galleries, at least), and so forth through .Mac. Nice functionality, but I feel like it’s a bit of a ripoff and it’s not very customizable.
What if the server could accept plugins to display other information? For instance, a simple plugin could export iCal’s information to a temporary file and then parse it to display a schedule of the database owner’s schedule that day. Or create a nicely-formatted list of contacts for the address book. The iPhoto or Aperture libraries could probably be handled easily (at least for viewing). Even iTunes – making a nice web interface to your home music library while you’re at the office. An interface to Mail is likely unnecessary, but if you’re working on an office/public computer that shouldn’t have or can’t have access to your personal mail, it’d be a definite plus.
Those are just the stock and iLife applications – it could also enhance the functionality of many other applications.
And, so long as the API is decent, there would be little that DEVONtechnologies would actually need to code. It might become something akin to Growl, where people implement the plugin for web accessibility as a matter of course, or simply something done by volunteers who like DTPO and whichever other program is involved. The plugins, likely being open source in one way or another, might improve by leaps and bounds and yield rather impressive functionality after only a short time on the “market.” It could essentially provide access (read-only, at least) to all of a person’s important information, no matter where they are or what type of computer (if any) they’re using – and all through a very simple, familiar interface. Provide read-only capabilities in DTPO2.5 and release an improved plugin API in DTPO3 that allows writing (for application developers who write their own plugins, natch, not [in most cases] for third parties who would have no way to access the application’s reading and writing functionality).
Something to think about.
One small problem I’ve noticed is that when viewing text/RTF files through the iPhone interface, the text is very, very small. Then, if you zoom in, you have to scroll horizontally.
And we all know that to scroll in one direction is human; to scroll in two is diabolical.
DTPO could use UPnP, which for most modern routers would make it very simple to use this functionality. At superballoonshouseoroffice.com:port/ you would have access to your database. That simple – DTPO and the router would take care of the niggling details. Of course, many people (myself included) would prefer to be able to disable internet access for their database and just have it be a local network thing.
That’s already possible, e.g. have a look at the script Scripts > AddressBook > Import Phone List. This script could be easily extended and/or modified for other scriptable applications.
The default in version 2 will be case insensitive.
Adding and browsing will come, hopefully in 2.0 or definitely in 2.x
I had considered that, but the lack of interactivity and difficulty of keeping the information synchronized turned me off.
Do/could AppleScripts attached to documents be triggered when viewed through the web interface? Would there be a way to alter the output to the web interface by piping it through the attached script? I think I’ve asked for similar functionality before in regards to normal documents in DTP – to simplify putting the arguments for an AppleScript in a text file and then showing the user the image/RTF/whatever that results from the command.
Is there any other way that a static document served from DTP could become a more dynamic document when viewed through the web interface? It is outputted as HTML… I’ll see what I can do with DHTML and a small iTunes library.
Everything’s possible but, I’m afraid, I don’t think that this is what our users are looking for right now.
I use the built-in web server to search my database locally via Quicksilver.
I can’t remember where I read about this nifty little trick but basically you make a search trigger for the DEVONthink search in Quicksilver.
The url I use in Quicksilver is:
which gives you a “Search All”, “All Words”, “No Case” search query.
I’ve assigned ⌘+⌥+⇧+Space to this search in the triggers and now it doesn’t matter in which space or application I am, DEVONthinks search is just a keyboard shortcut away.
Really would like DevonThink on my iPad. I opened my home machine as a web server and things were great, until I opened my laptop to the native client whose database is in a cloud also shared by my home machine and then I got an error that the databases were locked.
The web interface is not quite good enough that I would only run it on my laptop.
So the answer is No I do not use the web server, but not because it don’t want it but because of problems with potentially having laptop and desktop open to the same database.
Place the database in a cloud and then access it like omnifocus does. I know devonthink databases are potentially larger but I think it would work!