Question about DEVONTHING usage

I’m a software developer and as such I’m always looking for a way to search for words in code or whatever.

In particular, when I’m searching for something, I want to get back a list of found files with the keywords highlighted as I scroll through the file.

When I index my development folder in DTPO, and then Search, I get this functionality.

However, from recent posts, I got the (possibly mistaken idea) that DT may not think this indexing-and-then-searching is an “appropriate” use of DTPO.

If DTPO should not be used to index a folder on which to then search it, could someone please tell me what the heck the “index” function in DTPO is supposed to be used for?

I’m getting confused.


  • m

Indexing and searching indexed documents are perfectly appropriate uses of DTPO. DEVONthink searches indexed documents as well as internal documents – over here I’ve used both method every day for years without a single issue.

What are the “recent posts”?

The benefit of indexing is that it leaves documents in place for direct use by other applications / users (as in a sharing setup). (Sometimes it needs to be this way when you index another application’s data stores.) The issue is not that an indexed location shouldn’t be searched.

The concern is that people do indiscriminate dumps (import or index) into DEVONthink, imagining DEVONthink to be a Finder or Spotlight replacement. This is really no more truly effective than the junk drawers we all inevitably have at home.
Searching for a AAA battery in that drawer is far harder than it needs to be. If we added some compartments to the drawer (ie. databases), it will be much easier and more efficient to search for that battery.
Even trying to open that drawer, with screwdrivers and other miscellany snagging against the opening in the cabinet, takes far more energy than it should. Again, the compartments and some discriminating cleanup will make this drawer open smoothly and easily.

Specifically, if I remember correctly, wasn’t there a discussion about indexing particular types of data that neither Spotlight nor DT indexed?

Indexing is quite wonderful for my use case, and I can search for all of the information I want to see, but if you have a use case that falls outside of the parameters, you may want to index for organizing files in DT and use another search application for specialized searches (basically, the suggestion made above). It’s not that indexing is useless for searching in general. Rather, indexing (as I understand it) doesn’t necessarily cover every possible use case, and may not be appropriate for certain specialized searches.

In my case, I sometimes make use of BBEdit when I want to comb through my files using its search features. Or, when I want to search and replace in multiple files, something which DT cannot do. Indexing allows for this kind of flexibility.

Thanks for all the great replies :slight_smile: