switching to Devonthink from Evernote: how's security?

I have a lot of info in Evernote. I’m thinking to switch to DevonThink because I want to keep the data on my own machine, not on a company server somewhere. A few questions come up:

  • How’s the security of DevonThink - are the data transmitted between clients and server encrypted? Is there anything stored on their website?

  • Can the server program live on my home computer behind a router (Cablemodem dynamic IP address) and still be accessed by the iPhone client app or do I need to run it a server with a static IP accessible from the WAN if I want to get to it from my phone and the Verizon network?

thank you!

DEVONthink and Evernote are substantially different. Evernote notes are constructed with a single, custom data structure – an XML-based file. No such structure exists with DEVONthink. Unlike Evernote, DEVONthink will work with your data in almost any form that it was created.

DEVONthink is not a client/server application. It is a stand-alone desktop application that can store your data files that are located on your desktop or laptop, or located on another computer or external drive accessible through your local network, or a remote location such as WebDAV. Data files can be stored inside a proprietary database package (folder) or they can be indexed (think “alias”). DEVONthink has a built-in browser that can view web pages and other web resources. There are no data stored on DEVONtechnologies servers – there is no cloud service integrated with DEVONthink. Your data is in whatever form it was created – documents, spreadsheets, graphic files, images, web pages, and so on. DEVONthink databases are not encrypted, but they can reside on encrypted partitions on your local network. Databases can be password-protected.

Your files that are stored inside a DEVONthink database are not modified in any way – they are kept in a folder hierarchy arranged for rapid retrieval by the DEVONthink application. Your files that are indexed into DEVONthink but not stored inside a database are kept in whatever folder hierarchy you organize. These files could be located in Dropbox, Box, or other cloud repository and you would handle security and encryption in whatever way you chose to configure those services.

The DEVONthink Pro Office edition of DEVONthink includes a built-in web server that can be password-protected. The web server provides a browser interface to one or multiple DEVONthink databases – the web server is not a fat client nor does it store your data locally. Users on your local network can access the web server via Bonjour (including iOS or tablet devices accessing your local network), or remotely, assuming your have enabled the proper permissions and know how to configure file and web sharing for your computer or local network. These are not encrypted connections.

A separate (optional and separately purchased) iOS app DEVONthink to Go (DTTG) can synchronize with one or more open DEVONthink databases so that local copies of files you select on the desktop are transferred between your iOS device and your desktop via Bonjour when both the desktop and the iOS device on on the same local network. At present, DTTG does not sync when it is offline from your local network.

To decide the suitability of these capabilities for yourself, get a trial copy of one of the DEVONthink products and evaluate it. Read the manual and/or help. View the tutorials in the Support Assistant.

(Not the official word – just a regular user – will stand corrected if there’s any error in the above.)

Thanks for the detailed reply, this is very helpful. So, just to make sure I got this key point: DT does not actually store my files, it just indexes them in a database of indeces, while the files stay where-ever they live, right?

Now, with respect to the iOS client app: does it keep local copies of the files themselves? That is, if I sync while on wifi, and then walk out of the house, do I have copies of all my current content, to be able to see it when not on the LAN?

Actually, both. You have the option to index your files (they “stay where-ever they live”) or you have the option to import them. In the latter case they live inside the database package (a package is type of OS X folder whose contents are hidden unless you choose “Show Package Contents” from the Finder contextual menu). Databases with imported files are more easily portable – just copy the database and you’ve also copied all your files.

Yes (local copies?), yes (have copies on iOS?), and yes (view when off-LAN?).

One caveat: you have copies on DTTG of the specific content you choose to synchronize to DTTG. This gives you much more flexibility than the all-or-nothing sync that services like Evernote use.

superior, thanks!