Scanner Pro Integration

This workflow integration would be a dream come true for me as well. I’m an avid genealogist, and often have to resort to using scanner pro at libraries, etc. These documents later get added to DT.

This would certainly take my research to a whole new level! :smiley:

At first I read that you’re an avid gynecologist… :laughing:

For me this all came down to a simple but serious requirement: I’m about to sell my desktop Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and wanted the best possible quality from the pocket scanner I’m using as a replacement, since I am forever-archiving very important documents and throwing away the originals. Since this is for permanent archiving where I throw away the original paper document, the quality of the archived copy matters a lot. And there’s nothing that beats Scanner Pro’s final page quality. That’s what truly matters more than anything else: The quality of the resulting PDF.

I’m all for competition and clone apps, and if someone beats Scanner Pro’s excellent photo quality someday then I’ll switch instantly. So far none have in the 7 years since Scanner Pro created the first scanning app. There are now some “okay” quality clones, but why settle for “okay”?

Well, I’ve got a trip to prepare for, so I’ll take a bow from this forum. Take care everyone! :smiley:

First I need to set a few things straight. I’ve used (and actively use) both Scanner Pro and Scanbot. Each has their own strengths and faults and to say one is the best above the other is a bit of a stretch. There are times when I’ve managed better and more accurate results with Scanbot and other times Scanner Pro produces better results. Things stated as groundbreaking in Scanner Pro first appeared in Scanbot (if my memory serves me), namely auto-naming, workflows, auto-snap etc.

That however is beside the point and entirely off-topic (just a minor rant). More to the point… While I can’t entirely disagree with the suggestion, this is somewhat possible at the moment (albeit using a mac in the mix).

Allow me to offer a 1 step alternative using either scanbot or Scanner Pro…

Step 1: Scan document and using each app’s workflow feature, upload to a folder that is indexed via DTP… There, done :smiley:

Yes! That’s exactly right. What I call the long fussy journey through DEVONland, just to get something from one place to another is frequently not needed.

That workaround requires an always-on, always-online computer. So it kills “on the go” living. Otherwise you’ll be on your iPhone, scan a document, and never see it appear in DEVONthink.

If you primarily (or only) use the Mac edition, then sure, sit in your computer chair, pick up your phone, scan to a dropbox folder, put down the phone again, and let that folder be indexed by DTP for Mac or organized via the Hazel app for Mac.

But when you don’t even have a Mac, or don’t want to sit at the desk, or don’t want to have a computer on 24/7 at home just for the ability to easily move documents, then unfortunately there’s only two options for working entirely on the iPhone: The clunky 9-step “Share” process (repeated for each file). Or better integration.

The clunky desktop workaround above made me think of a different mobile-only solution:
Easy 3rd Party Integration Solution!

On the contrary, quite on-topic. Because it helps demonstrate the fallacy that’s being set up here. Someone gets totally enamoured with a particular app or workflow that works for them. The first mistake there is to claim that there is one app that rules them all. Rarely, if ever, is there such a thing. Actually DTTG comes (to me!) closest in that respect.

I like Scanner Pro a lot. But, for example, if it does not find the shape of the boundary correctly, and you have to hand-adjust, I find FasterScan much better (for example, you can not only move corner points - whose move pads are much larger and less fiddly - but you can also parallel-displace sides of the boundary which I find quite important). Depending on what and how you scan, it is not clear at all to me that one is better than the other. Since “open in” is universal, it provides an avenue for all communication between these apps, albeit at a generic level.

Note that this is explicitly in the spirit of iOS: The way Apple set it up, it is nothing but a companion to the Mac. It is not a full-fledged system. And people, including Apple execs, who claim that the 12.9 iPad Pro is replacing the computer for good, are off the mark by a margin. This might be true for a few very specific occupations.

Android users always brag that they have a full filesystem, and Surface users have all of Windows and its power, including scripting, available. On those systems, people could presumably knock themselves out implementing these highly optimized schemes (just like we do on the Mac), but the funny thing is that generally I don’t see them operating at that level out there in the wild, and a LOT of the productivity seems to be achieved with iOS devices, which are locked down quite massively (that’s one reason for the skimpy inter-app communications) but so far have evaded any serious system breaches. So tentatively, I’d say that Apple’s approach of keeping iOS simple and clearly apart from OS X has been correct.

OK, now it’s me who’s gone off-topic.

I’m not enamored with Scanner Pro, and have said that I’d switch in a heartbeat if something consistently beats its photo algorithms, because the only thing that matters is the final PDF quality.

I’ve bought and tried Scanbot and the rest of the top 10 of popular scanning apps, until settling for the one and only original. This has been the experience of a lot of other people too.

The competitors’ GUIs can trick one into thinking “wow, Scanbot has a techy GUI and must therefore be very advanced”, but having an advanced-looking GUI doesn’t translate into having advanced photo DSP algorithms under the hood. Scanbot is okay. But the PDF results are most consistently the best in Scanner Pro - with the fastest edge detection, cleanest distortion correction, most accurate white balance, shadow removal, etc. And a very nice GUI too. I’ll switch if something ever beats it.

As for Scanbot being the first to come up with the workflows idea: That’s possibly true. Does it matter who came up with something? In that case I could correctly say that Scanner Pro came up with the whole idea of scanning via the phone on iOS (they were the first). Does that discredit all competitors cloning it? Of course not. All I care about is who does it best. Because once the scan is done, you’re no longer looking at some fancy app GUI. You’re looking at a PDF. And it better be perfect! :wink:

I absolutely agree, gg378.

Indirectly! It shows that any day, another app could come out with the next killer enhancement to the workflow. Our “golden app” might or might not adopt it. And that’s why it is not useful for the devs to consider chaining themselves to one particular scan app in terms of specific coding.

Something more realistic would be to licence an engine for a specific task, and incorporate it in your own app. Than you control how that works. That’s for example how ABBY OCR works in DT. But the flipside then clearly is that users start complaining that the latest ABBY standalone (or other products) can do this and that, which the DT OCR engine can’t (you can easily find threads on this). Plus it drives the cost of your app up (unless you make it in-app purchase).

As Bluefrog mentioned in the other thread, it would be for the same reason suicidal for DT to cater to Dropbox APIs, and even worse, Cloudme, Box, iCloud, Google Drive, whatever the MS things is called these days etc. Nevermind that this would require an active net connection.

Having said all that: If I had to choose three in-app “engines” in DTTG, I would probably suggest:

  1. Best possible RTF editor (almost there)
  2. Fairly complete pdf annotating (essentially there)
  3. Direct scanning (not implemented)

It all depends on what the typical user needs. That’s what matters. I scan maybe 3 or 4 things a week on the iPhone. Therefore, the new “import to DT” function is 100% good enough for me. I don’t know for sure, but I’d wager that the vast majority of users falls in the same camp, or scan even less. In a world where the devs already struggle to stay ahead with all the things that Apple breaks on new OS releases, that last bit that is fairly specific to a small group has to inevitably stay behind. If you’re a bulk scanner, there are many decent options, like scanning to Dropbox in your favourite app, and then bringing that material into DT on the Mac.

Again, Apple is a good example. There are very vocal complainers who claim that a phone without a swappable battery is useless, same with SD cards. Yet I’m sure, Apple has a very good idea of how many people actual do swap batteries: Close to none. So should the rest suffer through the constant popping off of the battery cover just for these self-appointed pro-users? I’d say “no”.

That’s your opinion about that app.

All I’m saying is:

  1. For most app categories, there is no “clearly best”, there is diversity.
  2. Does “best now” mean “best ever after”? Which is highly relevant, if you lock your product to a hand-crafted connection to that “currently best app”.

Your argument hinges on the belief that this would be chaining DttG 2 to Scanner Pro. That’s not how it would work. All DttG 2 would do is to create an automatable, inter-app “inbox” API method (basically like a physical mailbox where any mailman can drop a package), which any iOS app can use to locally send one or more files directly into DEVONthink’s global inbox without requiring tedious multi-step user interaction. (It’s up to DttG what to do with those incoming files; it could for example require per-app authentication tokens which would only allow the user’s list of approved apps to send files directly to DttG).

So creating an avenue of direct integration in DEVONthink To Go 2 would enable many more apps - not just Scanner Pro - to integrate themselves in the future. And if another app overtakes Scanner Pro in the quality department, we can just ask that developer nicely if they want to implement DttG2’s automatable “send to inbox” API, with no further development required from DEVONtechnologies’ side since their incoming inbox-API is already finished by that point.

Look at what happened with the “Audiobus” ( technique. It enables audio apps to send audio to each other. Now all audio apps use it and even Apple has embraced it.

Interoperability is a good thing. For document archiving apps, doubly so.

Another thought on this topic:
While happily using DTTG and Scanner Pro a lot, the proposed approach wouldn’t help me. Why? Because I like to read & work with DTTG on my iPad on the one hand and to scan new documents with Scanner Pro on my iPhone on the other hand. As I’m using different devices neither ‘Open in’ nor SP Workflows help me.

Instead I was thinking about a ‘universal Inbox’ on the server where DTTG already stores it’s synced database. Couldn’t fetch DTTG all documents from this ‘universal inbox’ folder and move it to the global Inbox in it’s Database automatically when DTTG is launched or/and on a regular basis?
This ‘universal inbox’ folder has to be reachable via common methods like WebDAV and DTTG shouldn’t get confused when a document is moved / copyed there from another app, whatever app that might be.

Pros on this approach: Use whatever app to create documents on iOS / Windows or Mac. No commitment to a single (fantastic) app. Still an easy and mostly automatic way to add documents to DTTG and deal there with it (sorting, OCR, …).


Sorry if I missed an important point somewhere else in this thread – the conversation is way too long to read and comprehend accurately.

Is that sort of like an Inbox for the Inbox? Somewhere in these threads someone suggested having DTTG (and, I suppose, DEVONthink) access a cloud folder we specify (e.g., Dropbox) in addition to the databases in the sync store(s) we use. So we would put things into that cloud folder and they would wind up in both DEVONthink and DTTG. I think that’s sort of what @Farath is suggesting. I like the concept because if I index a cloud folder in DEVONthink, the way things stand today I have to wait until DEVONthink updates its index and syncs and then I to sync DTTG. IOW, I have to go touch the desktop. Would be nice to have an on-the-fly “inbox for the inbox” that’s (a) available inside DEVONthink and DTTG “instantly”, and (b) I can move documents in and out of that “inbox for the inbox” and also immediately have them available to other iOS apps that access my cloud folders. And of course this is all optional and no one is required to do anything with this feature if it doesn’t work for them.

Interesting suggestion. Noted for further evaluation.

That’s what I was going for. Currently I’m only able to drop something into DT’s Inbox within the system I’m currently working on: on iOS by “open with”, on macOS by Sorter, Safari Extension,etc…
Outside of those systems (eg. a windows machine) I cannot drop something into my DT’s Inbox, even though I might be able to reach the place where my DT database is stored (at some cloud provider).
On my Mac I’ve created a “watched” folder and assigned an apple script to it: everything I drop there from any app is magically moved into my DT Inbox.
I was therefore thinking of something similar: a “watched” folder at the cloud provider, where DT already is stored. Everything that is dropped there is automatically moved into the correponding DT Inbox. An inbox for the inbox such to say. And that would be something that could work well accross system borders, which would be great, especially if you don’t have a Mac at home.

Interesting thread. I am also a big fan of Scanner Pro, an excellent app (and I’ve used other similar ones). Integration would certainly have it’s benefit, but for now here’s an alternative that achieves pretty good automation:

One of my favourite Mac tools is Hazel. My scanned stuff gets automatically backed up, renamed based on content, tagged, then fed into DT, some of it straight into the appropriate folders.

Combine the two and it’s all pretty hands-off: Scanner Pro can save directly to iCloud. Hazel can pick these up and do her thing. Presto, all my receipts are backed up, tagged, named and dated correctly (it will e.g. pull the travel date from my train tickets and insert it into the filename) and sent to the appropriate DT folder.

As I don’t need the majority of my stuff straight away, I’m happy to wait until my macbook is next online to get my scans into DT. Having all the automation is worth the delay, and for the few occasions when it’s urgent I can do it by hand on the iGadget.

Off topic – this is a great combo, I agree. Many readers would enjoy seeing how you have put these steps together with Hazel and DEVONthink. Someday, maybe, if you’re interested, if you could post an explanation with Hazel recipes in a new thread in the Tips & Tricks section of the forum it would be an excellent read. Or if you’ve incorporated other users’ Hazel tips, if you could post the links. Thanks for considering this.

Good idea, might even use the opportunity to streamline things a bit, and it would do me some good to document everything :slight_smile:

That’s pretty much the same thing I do (and suggested in an earlier post in this thread) with the exception that I move my things to a couple of indexed folders instead… :slight_smile:

This automation makes life so much easier :wink: