Scanner Pro Integration

As requested by Eric Boehnisch, I am making a thread about this.

My blog question:

Eric’s response:

Now… here’s why I recommend Scanner Pro:

  • They were the first scanner app ever released, back in 2011, and were featured by Apple as App of the Week for their excellence.
  • It’s only $3.99 and they have a long track record of free major upgrades. They’re now on Scanner Pro 7.
  • The GUI is super clean and easy to use. It even has an automatic snap mode. (But if you’re using an iPhone 5S or older like me, disable “Stabilize” in the scanning options since that phone doesn’t have hardware photo stabilization, so it takes forever to auto-snap a photo in Stabilize mode on old phones).
  • The results are great. Visit their official site at readdle.com/products/scannerpro and play the video on their page for actual examples.
  • The picture quality from competitors like Scanbot isn’t even CLOSE to as good. The results in Scanbot are more often yellowed, distorted, and it has super slow border detection, etc (and other people say the same). With Scanner Pro the results are the best, and with the least amount of effort. I tried about 7 different apps before settling on the “original and best” Scanner Pro.
  • It can do OCR on the cellphone. It’s very good for emergencies, but not as accurate as ABBYY in DEVONthink Pro Office. Currently I simply scan without OCR, and then right-click those documents and “Convert to Searchable PDF” in DEVONthink Pro Office for Mac, to do OCR later.
  • It supports advanced workflows, but sadly DEVONthink To Go isn’t integrated so it can’t be used in its Workflows… yet? :wink:

?

Edit: Korm’s original (now removed) reply above just stated that you can use the “share - open with - clip to devonthink” on one document at a time. Yes, I know. I wrote about that method in my post. That is why I didn’t comment on what you said, since you hadn’t read my post. I am definitely looking for replies and discussion.


Scanner Pro has millions of users. So actually, DEVONthink To Go 2 should be dropping all their other tasks and feverishly scrambling and trying their best to begin discussions with Readdle and becoming officially integrated with workflow support. All the Scanner users would then discover DTTG2 overnight. :open_mouth:

I missed something here.

And I disagree that we “should be dropping all their other tasks and feverishly scrambling and trying their best to begin discussions with Readdle and becoming officially integrated with workflow support.” Cross-application integration is an enhancement, not a core feature. We also have our own roadmap of what we must, are, and want to work on regarding our own apps, mobile and otherwise.

Also, seeing as we have a relationship with ABBYY already, we would certainly not want to disenfranchise them by not giving them some consideration as well (and they have a mobile OCR engine / app as well).

Somethings to think about. Cheers!

1 Like

I understand and agree that DT should leverage the ABBYY relationship since they provide best-in-class OCR technology. If I understand the the initial excitement around Scanner Pro, it’s mainly due to their superior scanning capabilities relative to the others on the App Store. From my use of all of the leading scanner Apps, Scanner Pro does indeed provide the best edge detection, automatic scanning and is indeed significantly faster than the others.

With that said, help me understand:

[i]

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Yes, the ABBYY OCR engine can and probably should be rolled into DTTG. However, what about scanning? Can this be rolled in? Probably. Should it be rolled into DTTG? That’s an interesting thought.

Scanner Pro is great. I’ve been using it for several years now. At the moment, I can easily “open” a file in DTTG. My only complaint is that DTTG ignores the title and assigns a time stamp as a name, so I have to retitle everything. That’s probably a bug. Once that’s fixed, I’ve got no complaints. If DT wanted to go one step further, they could get their app to appear on the bottom row of the “open in” menu (I don’t know why Evernote, Dropbox, and iCloud are there, but DT isn’t). However that works, if they could put the DTTG icon there is would shave off one step for me. I don’t really need or want more integration of the two apps myself. And, I’m not sure if DT really needs to pursue integrations with anyone. Maybe I don’t understand what these advanced workflows are.

Personally, I’m just glad to have two excellent apps on my iPad :slight_smile:

This is something we have discussed but bear in mind, there would have to be either have to be a substantial price increase for the Pro Pack or a secondary in-app purchase (which would likely be far more than $4.99). But yes, it is a topic of discussion in here. Definitely a future enhancement, if so.

I think there are some nice benefits to rolling the scanner into DT. Evernote, for example, has a really nice implementation with its scanner / camera feature. When it works, it works really smoothly, in many ways superior to Scanner Pro.

But, that’s when it works. There have been many bugs and hiccups since it was introduced, and I honestly don’t see where the resistance is to doing the work in a dedicated app like Scanner Pro and just tapping a couple of times to open it in DEVONthink or some other app.

Personally, given the available resources (time, personnel, money, etc.) I’d really like to see the webclipper improved (clip to PDF would be nice – I haven’t found an app that does this very well yet). But, some kind of implementation of the sort and classify or see also features would be, in my opinion, DT’s greatest contribution. Get that right, and you can really distinguish yourself from the rest of the stuff out there. Add a scanner, and you are replicating existing capabilities (perhaps with slightly less friction), but add AI and you are pioneers offering something far superior to anything else. That’d be the direction I’d like to see DT go, and it builds on your core competency.

Not to say we’re finished, but I believe we already have - on the desktop and on mobile.

webclioper and ai as distinguishing features on mobile?

the mobile webclipper is nice, but is it “better” than evernote’s? the resulting pages have been identical for me so far, so the only difference i see is that devonthink takes more taps. i’m not throwing shade here. it’s nice. but, it doesn’t stand out to me. evernote doesn’t have a save to pdf (there are other apps that do this poorly, in my experience, but evernote doesn’t even have the option). that’d change the equation, at least for me.

If there is AI on mobile, I’m not seeing it here. that’s something evernote kind of had for a while, then got rid of on mobile, though i expect it might come back someday. it was a very, very limited thing, and if dt put their ai into mobile, it’d be really amazing. things that distinguish one app from another, in my opinion, are features or experiences that just cannot be found elsewhere. the ad-hoc, bluetooth, and wi-fi sync in dttg are major distinguishing features, for example, because no one else has them.

desktop is another discussion entirely. for my workflow, the web clipper is nearly perfect, and the ai is great (would be better if it could handle asian languages properly).

That’s because the “Open in” function is only the standard, superficial system-level integration, so the file gets served as “here, take this PDF!”. And DEVONthink’s clipping panel then decides how to name that file. The same thing happens in every other app where you use the generic “Clip to DEVONthink” action.

That is the integration I am talking about. Readdle has added direct integration with those apps, and many others. It allows you to instantly share with 1 tap (and proper filenames on the receiving end), and it allows you to use those apps in Scanner Pro’s workflows, such as saying “scan, email to myself, upload to dropbox, and send it to evernote”. And it allows you to select and share multiple scans at once instead of one at a time. And it’s way, way faster than the current, clunky, generic “open in” method.

Yes, the ABBYY OCR engine (meaning, the “Convert to Searchable PDF”) feature on the go would be incredible. I’d happily pay the whole ABBYY license fee + your commission on top of it, as a separate “ABBYY OCR” in-app purchase, for access to its OCR features! I love the quality and accuracy of their OCR engine!

As for actually building a scanning app in DEVONthink To Go, I think you’d be way in over your heads for a while. Scanner Pro has had 7 years of head-start, and is still better than all of the competition. But sure, a basic app that turns a photo black-and-white and sharpens it to look like a scan can be knocked together by anyone. That’s why Evernote Scanner, Scanbot, Dropbox scanner, etc all exist, and why those all kinda blow. The differentiating features in Scanner Pro are its incredible (and super fast) edge detection, auto capture, de-skewing/anti-distortion, color cleanup, shadow removal, document clarity filtering, etc. And its “workflows” feature.

Yes, I was kind of kidding that you should drop everything else. But I was only half-joking.

Also: The reason to integrate with Scanner Pro isn’t about the OCR. That’s a bonus they added in Scanner Pro 7. The reason to integrate is to have the best-quality document scanning on the go. And integrating is very easy: Just tell them how their app should send files to your app, and give them an app icon. If they even accept you for integration, then that’s all that needs to be done.

Oct 2009: Scanner Pro 1.0 is released as a business app, creating the whole app category of document scanning with a mobile device. They were the first ones.
2011: Scanner Pro 3 is released and is featured in lots of magazines as “the best new way to scan your documents”, which really brings the app into the eyes of consumers.
April 2011: Scanner Pro hits 200,000 users.
July 2012: Scanner Pro 4 is released and has about 500,000 users.
July 2014: Scanner Pro 5 is the #1 app in the Business category in over 20 major countries. It now has over 6,000,000 users.
July 2015: Scanner Pro 6 is released as a free upgrade to existing users and has over 7,000,000 users.
March 2016: Scanner Pro 7 is released as a free upgrade to existing users.

Watch the video on their front page: readdle.com/products/scannerpro

Here’s an overview of their features that set them apart from all competitors. The best scanning quality, easy GUI, and workflow automation. And just look at that distortion correction example! readdle.com/blog/2016/06/why-sc … ur-camera/ - And it also explains Workflows, the feature I am hoping to see DEVONthink in.

Here’s yet another example of workflows:
readdle.com/blog/wp-content/upl … -img-1.png
(Example: I personally love “Receipt tracking” workflow that I created: automatically renames the scan to be compliant with our company policy -> uploads it to my personal Evernote account -> and to a corporate Dropbox account -> emails it to our accountant so my expenses for those tacos in Austin can be reimbursed. With just one tap.) - Now replace the word “Evernote” with “DEVONthink To Go” and you will see why I think DttG should upgrade itself to official integration if possible, so that we can use DttG in workflows.

And here’s a video of workflows:
vimeo.com/159414875

So why did I say (half-jokingly) that DEVON Technologies should drop all their other tasks and start a dialogue with Readdle to be integrated as a workflow option in Scanner Pro?

Because ~10 million users would then instantly discover the new DEVONthink To Go 2 option in the next Scanner Pro software update, potentially leading to tens of thousands of new sales for you. Way more revenue than any of your own efforts. In fact, I don’t even know if they want to integrate with a small app (still) like DEVONthink To Go 2, but your app is so excellent, that they will definitely consider it. They’re very nice and sweet guys. I’ve talked to them about other things in the past. They’re in Ukraine so it’s even in your timezone.

If they accept your app for inclusion in their Workflow feature, it would be a very, very good thing for you.

My vote would be to work with Readdle and probably a App developer to implement integration as described above. It is something that could be accomplished relatively quickly and be a short solution to greatly improved user experience while DT contemplates a possible better longer term option. Since there are so many dedicated scanning Apps for users to choose from, I’d much rather DT invest in leveraging their existing ABBYY relationship to roll the advanced OCR engine into DDTTG.

While I’m not a developer by any stretch, I do know that one has make wise short and long term decisions based on economic realities. Would I pay an additional IAP fee for top flight OCR? In order for that to be the case with the larger user-base, there are many areas of the current DTTG release that need to be tightened up and polished. Besides integration with a top scanning App, I’d like to see: DTTG become a Document Provider; improved web clipping; and improved sync on the iPad (may be my situation, but I notice that sync is more problematic on iPad than iPhone). Furthermore, as I posted elsewhere, I’d like a way to Append/Prepend to an existing note or document.

Overall, it’s the best time to be a data hound. I continue to be thoroughly impressed with the work that the DT team has done and continue to do.

EDIT: For those who may not be aware, the inclusion of DTTG as a full iOS Document Provider is one of the important required steps for DTTG to be shown in the Share Sheet as an option like Dropbox, Evernote and the other Document Providers. This is something that should be doable without any integration work with the Readdle team and I’m a bit surprised it was not part of the initial 2.0 release. For whatever it’s worth, I do not feel that this should be a fee-based feature. It ought to be standard for a database App of this quality. In fact, even Readdle’s PDF Expert shows as a Document Provider.

Well, in thinking this over, it’s possible that we could have our tasty cake and eat it. DT could easily enable DTTG as a full fledged Document Provider so that it is available as such to other Apps, and a more elegant and powerful solution whereby DTTG does both OCR and scanning. If DT are to include OCR, why not eliminate additional integration steps with other Apps and provide that functionality natively.

With the outstanding work done thus far, we shouldn’t assume that providing a scanning solution on par with Scanner Pro is beyond their scope and skill. :smiley:

Okay there are a lot of things going in in this thread now.

  • Document Providers are magical things. They allow import and export of documents between apps. DEVONthink To Go will need to support it someday. I am sure it was skipped in “2.0” due to time constraints but will be added someday. Successful programming is all about focus and priorities.
  • Document Providers are not used by Scanner Pro. The “Save in Evernote” and such actions are built-in natively into Scanner Pro. Why? Because Document Providers aren’t compatible with workflows and never will be. A document provider import/export call makes the iOS operating system always pop up a file picker (controlled by iOS; the file picker GUI handles root permissions of the file copy) which lets you choose the source/destination app for the action, and which file to affect. That’s the antithesis to single-click workflow automation. So it’s not used by Scanner Pro.
  • Doing digital signal processing on photos is a very different field from regular run-of-the-mill programming. If Dropbox’s Scanner, Evernote’s Scanner, and Microsoft’s Scanner can’t match the accuracy and picture quality of Scanner Pro’s photo DSP algorithms, then why would DEVONthink match it out of the blue? There’s more to it than just “fix the white balance point, make the photo black and white, apply a brightness threshold filter, increase the contrast, and pretend you’re done”. I am sure DttG will build a scanner in the future, like so many other apps have done, but just like all the other clones I won’t use it until it’s as good as Scanner Pro. So far none are. And since this is for permanent archiving where you often throw away the original paper document, the quality of the archived copy matters a lot.
  • Currently, the list of integrated apps in Scanner Pro’s workflows is as follows: Send by Email, Send by iMessage, Save to Photos, Upload to Dropbox, Upload to Google Drive, Upload to Box, Upload to OneDrive, Upload to WebDAV server, Save to Evernote, Save to OneNote, as well as a few generic actions (Rename Document, Save to Folder, Delete Document).
  • The easiest path, at the time, is to ask Readdle nicely if they’ll even integrate an upcoming and relatively unknown, niche app like DttG. I know that they will at least consider it, simply because DttG is so good (the desktop-grade DEVON AI and DEVONthink Pro Office backbone is what makes it very unique). But then again, getting free advertisement of DttG to Scanner Pro’s ~10 million users would earn way too much profit for DttG, and not much the other way around (Scanner Pro doesn’t need DttG users to come to them).
  • Either way, integration would require talks between the two companies, which is why I am proposing the idea here. Good luck!

No, I meant in general. These are specific items, and not the totality of what DTTG2 is.

So, thread is about the difference between clicking two icons (Open In and Import Into DEVONthink) in Scanner Pro versus clicking one icon (some “workflow”)?

No. All the details are laid out by several different people in this thread. This is your second misreading in this thread and your second snarky post. :smiley: But sure, I’ll clarify even more by repeating what I’ve already said, but putting it in a nice list format instead:

Currently:

  1. Scan something.
  2. Press the Share icon.
  3. Press “Open in”.
  4. Scroll to and press “Clip to DEVONthink”.
  5. Select a Dt database.
  6. Give the file a name, since Dt’s clipper can’t read Scanner Pro’s filename.
  7. Press Save.
  8. Repeat these steps over and over for every file/scan you want to send over.
  9. Clean up by manually deleting the scans from Scanner Pro if you no longer want them in that app.

With Workflows:

  1. Scan something. That’s it. You’re done. It’s automatically sent to DEVONthink, and has a proper filename. And it’s also sent to all other actions you’ve defined in that workflow (such as also emailing it, putting it on Dropbox, deleting the original from Scanner Pro since you no longer need it in that app, and so on). And with workflows, you can even select multiple previously-made scan files at once and send them all over in 1 click.

With workflows everything is finished in 1 step instead of 9 very convoluted steps that are all over the place. A massive improvement for DEVONthink To Go users.

@SteveJobzniak, yes. :mrgreen:

I think Steve has nicely summed up what would be my ideal solution.

[fixed].