Support for textbundle format

Is there any possibility that a future version of DEVONthink will provide support for the textbundle format (http://www.textbundle.org)?

It’s a handy format on iOS and I’d love to be able to export textbundles from Bear or other apps into DT for long-term archival.

Thanks for your consideration and for making a great product!

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Thanks for the kind words!
It’s not a widely used format at this point, but better support is likely in the next major release.

Thanks, Jim! That’s great news.

I hadn’t heard of Textbundle until I read through this thread. I find this technology interesting because I have long been frustrated with “handing off” files to iOS devices only to be told that my file contains fonts or images that are missing and that it “may not look the same.” In my world, this makes editing files of this nature “on all your devices” pretty worthless. While I see this technology as more of an operating system level function (e.g. the old Windows object linking and embedding) support by cross-platform file repositories would be a good first step.

In my unsolicited opinion. :smiley:

TextBundle is still not a widely used format. And honestly, you can easily reproduce a similar thing by using a typical directory structure as you’d use with any web page. As an example…

Parent
-> Markdown Document
-> /Images
—> Img01.jpg
—> Img02.jpg
—> …
->/styles
—> styles.css

I use this structure every single day and it’s not only portable to iOS, but exportable. I can drag this to the Finder and have things resolve as expected.

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+1 – it might not be that widely used, yet. But it is most prominently used by Ulysses and by Bear for exports which are not exactly fringe applications :wink: and would enable painlessly getting complete content from these two into DT. Creating the directory structures contained in the bundle per hand is a pain in the ass in comparison. Further, treating the text bundle as ONE document (like any RTF, webarchive, PDF, rich note etc.) is a major advantage for document management within DT. I do not want the contained resources to appear in the database on their own.

Creating the directory structures contained in the bundle per hand is a pain in the ass in comparison.

How so? This is easily accomplished with a template (and optionally a hotkey). In fact, I do this every single day. :slight_smile:

Given that the framework for supporting TextBundle is OS (https://github.com/shinyfrog/TextBundle) this should hopefully not be too hard to implement, nonetheless. The advantage of having a portable self-contained document instead of a directory structure that is easy to break should be obvious in any case.

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I’d like to bring this idea back up to the top. I like much of what I see in Devonthink 3, and yet I still find the actual note-writing features to be the largest obstacle for me using it more (rather than keeping my own written notes in some other app). Adding TextBundle support (with its combination of markdown and embedded – or at least attached – image support) would go a long way toward making Devonthink a better writing environment. (As would adding editor theme support and maximum line width for non-full-screen editing, but that’s another discussion.) Cheers!

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The advantage of having a portable self-contained document instead of a directory structure that is easy to break should be obvious in any case.

I disagree that a “directory is hard to break”. I write long-form Markdown in DEVONthink every day with a static directory structure, no different than any web site would implement.

Fine if it works for YOU. I want self-contained portable documents and not directories. Thanks for listening.

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Yes, a simple file system format is all that is needed. No need to make life complicated. Anyway, what do I know.

Anyway, what do I know.

A fair bit, considering many of your responses on these forums :slight_smile:

I think that TextBundles would actually make the directory structure of a database less complicated, or at least, less cluttered, because image-attachment directories would be hidden. Additionally, the files are more portable to other apps and devices.

You already have RTFDs, which are basically the same idea as TextBundle, right?

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RTFD is a very mature and long-standing format, widely supported on multiple platforms.

because image-attachment directories would be hidden.

I don’t know what the expected benefit of this is.

I don’t know. I guess I just like the idea of images being included with markdown text in a single, easily transferable bundle. Honestly, I’m not really an advocate for TextBundle per se; rather, I just think that DEVONthink needs a universal note file format that handles text and images, and is easily portable; and markdown using TextBundles seems a good solution. I love DEVONthink as a place to save web pages, PDFs, etc., but I continue to have issues with DEVONthink (even v3) as an environment for my own notes. Cheers!

Can you clarify what you feel is actually deficient, your issues, in writing notes?

Hey,
Chiming in here as I have the same feeling than @dougray.

I’ll try to give some arguments for a better note-taking experience. And by better, I mean visually simplified (less cluttered UI) while still allowing for 80% of the usual features (bold, highlight, titles, etc.).

  • I prefer markdown to rtf(d): syntax is easy to write, I can format while writing (no mouse needed), it’s truly portable, and best of all, output can be changed whenever I want using themes. In the 2000’s I liked tiny fonts, 20 years later I like 16px+ fonts. With markdown I just need to change my theme and here I go, no need to edit any single file.
  • I just need 1 good preview style. No need to have multiple fonts, no need to choose the type of list items (square? circle? plain or empty? carets? I don’t care), no need to choose font size by 1pt increment. I just need to have a few formatting options like title, subtitle, and maybe 1 or 2 sub-sub-title sizes… but that’s it.
    Give me nice defaults which will work for most use-cases. IMO, full featured toolbar like MS Office’s are not a benefit.
  • The toolbar could be different for markdown actually (in fact I’d like for the toolbar to be simplified for rtfd as well, but getting it for markdown only would be great already). It’s not because everything can be done through syntax than it can’t be done with a mouse and visually pleasing. As a user I can then choose my own formatting style (e.g. I’d set raw styles without even thinking about it while in a writing streak, thanks to markdown syntax, then maybe add/edit style using the mouse later on).
  • What I’d love is for the writing experience to be close to Keep It’s (here, when using their own file format, what seems like a simplified rtfd):

And what’s not visible here is, the first button on the left “Aa” is actually a “style selector”, with a limited set of choices like “Main title”, “Subtitle”, “Sub 2”, “Body”, etc., which does 95% of the job. Kind of what does Apple Pages:

I’m focusing solely on the writing experience here, but to be real honest, the whole Keep It’s UI is a delight to use. Admitelly, app is far less powerful than DT. And whereas DT2 was a no-go for me because of UI, DT3 is a great improvement. Still, I can’t help but wish that more love would be given to the overall UX of DT (which still feels like a heavy duty tool, rather than a light and joyful app).

Thanks for listening!

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+1 for textbundle support.

I consider markdown to be superior to RTF in general usability, but love the way Ulysses/Bear etc. handle images. Also, it would enable me to transfer my vast collection of textbundle notes including those images easily.

I love DT3 and it definitely should not have priority over general stability ofc; but textbundle would make DT a remarkable note-taking tool for me as well, finally making the leap to be my external brain of all sorts.

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MD is not only superior in terms of usability: RTF is actually quite un-portable because of differing implementation details due to horrific file format specs (i. e. it looks fucked up everywhere where you open it) and – worst of all – does not support any kind of semantic structuring. I have successfully managed to avoid this mess of a file format for over 15 years now and its proliferance in DT and other great tools (hello, Scrivener!) is a PITA for me. I am really glad that DT caught up a bit in the MD division, but there is definitely room for development. Especially when it comes to annotating and commenting documents. Works great with PDFs (with all their disadvantages), so-so with formatted notes (i. e. simplified HTML) and still not at all with MD. => Critic markup anyone?

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