The beach-ball in the search function badly needs a redesign

I fully understand that it’s impossible to predict how long a search will take, or how long it will take for DTpro to retrieve a document after I click it in the search results list.

Nevertheless, the beach ball as an “on hold” icon is less than ideal. Maybe I don’t want to wait (for an unknown period of time. Minutes? Seconds? no way of knowing with just a colorful beach ball to look at. And no (obvious) way of cancelling it to try some less time-consuming way of searching.) ? It would be better if the search process would not monopolize / freeze up DTpro while performing its magic. An option to cancel the search would be nice (is there a non-obvious way? Maybe a magic key?). (Still, a beach ball is much better than no indication of the system being active at all.)

(I know I don’t HAVE to use the search function, but it’s one of the best things about the DT in my opinion.)

Just wondering but how large are your databases and how many of them are opened concurrently, how old is your computer, how complex is your query and do you use fuzzy searching? Because over here almost all the time searching lasts less than 0.05s, quite often even less than 0.01s.

The database I have open is not huge, but I have linked (indexed) my Papers folder (that contains about 1300 articles and books. Mainly articles.). I did that because it’s great to just select a citation and then find the corresponding source(s) at once (well, “at once” is what I was hoping for). The MacBook pro is two years old (but I think it is not yet time for it to be recycled… or is it…?).

Dunno… I am doing exactly the same thing you are, my databases are huge, and my Papers directory has a little over 8,000 monographs which are automagically re-indexed with a script every time that directory is opened within DT Pro.

I think it may have a lot more to do with the speed of whatever disc your library lives on. Mine are on an external eSATA RAID 0, with real-world read/write speeds of 'bout 210-240MB/sec. There is no perceivable lag, DT Pro never takes more than 1-2 seconds to find anything (and this is a HUGE database which does not fit into system memory), and the main system I’m using is also a MacBook Pro, roughly 2 years old like yours, 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, Sonnet Sata Pro 2 ExpressCard/34 to SeriTek 5 port enclosure. All my DT databases also live on the RAID, the internal disc on the MBP is just a 7200RPM drive, no SSD (which would probably speed it up a lot more, it’s just that at this point I don’t care so much, it’s fast enough, and I’ll get SSD when I replace the MBP next year).

Basically I rarely see the psychedelic spinning beachball of doom, and seem to have a much larger database which I’m also indexing the Papers directories into. I often use fuzzy search, and have a few hundred smart folders. I started using the RAID attached to the MBP because hauling around a Mac Pro wasn’t an option, on that model there was no way to increase RAM beyond 4GB, and SSDs were still pretty crappy at the time. I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced the, “Grow old and die, waiting for stuff to get found,” feeling since switching to RAID.


Unfortunately the beach ball (or spinning pizza) is part of the OS and not DTPO’s making.

Perhaps sometime between DTPO version 3.0 and 4.0 the team will have time to create their own distinctive icon to replace the beach ball. I’d like to suggest their mascot, the blue escargot, slowly inching its way across the screen…

Maybe the search is fast but highlighting in PDF documents is slow? Could you send screenshots of the Search window and of the Database Properties panel to cgrunenberg - at - Thank you!

How about something more appropriate to the Devonian Period? Like a swimming ammonite? :wink:

Patrick since you seem to be familiar with it, while slightly off topic for Devonthink may I ask what is your opinion of the Seritek cases and cards and the Sonnet? I too have maxed RAM and large databases on a portable machine. You seem to have found a good solution with fast RAID.

My other question to you would be, what are you going to upgrade to? Apple has killed the upgrade path for any high speed disks on the Macbook “pro” by removing the expresscard slot altogether. This leaves firewire 800 which limps at an anemic 65MB second, nowhere near the 200MB+ of the 4 or 5 drive RAID on SATA. There are about 10 million angry messages on video professional sites but you get the picture, there is no upgrade path up to anything any longer, on any Apple portable computer. You are now left with using a Mac Pro or living with whatever ports Apple chooses to support (the slow firewire 800, the slower firewire 400 and USB2 which rates high in theory but works slower then anything I have ever used in real world use).

Apple goes through phases of being on the cutting edge of hardware and falling far behind, their current state of graphics card options on the Mac Pro which cost twice as much and do less then their Windows counterparts and the crippling of their portable pro line, would make this one of the times when Apple is limping behind the industry.

This now leaves SSD as the only upgrade option for higher speed but the disk size is very limited, by the time 500GB or 750GB SSD is available it will be another 1-2 years, and cost more then the macbook itself.

Patrick from the Milky Way… how’d you set that system up? I’m about to jump into Papers and an auto-index into DTPO would be fan-freakin-tastic.



That would so rock!

SeriTek cases are pretty much bulletproof and continue working even when you have to drag 'em around and inevitably drop 'em off some table . Sonnet has really good ExpressCard/34’s right now, which superseded the SeriTek ExpressCard and beat the throughput. HighPoint has excellent full size cards…

I dunno … I don’t really think about all of this on grand timelines, I just need what I’m using to be fast enough to keep up with what I’m doing, and not annoy me. Since I’m not shooting video to a MacBook Pro, I don’t really care so much, I’m sure an SSD will be fine. If it’s not, I’m equally certain there will be Some Guide, somewhere, selling Some Product, that allows you to rip out the superdrive nobody ever uses for anything, and replace it with another SSD and boot dual SSDs on RAID 0. In fact, I’m pretty sure you can do that right at this very moment if so inclined.

If you want to read endless speed and performance tests and people geeking out on alla this, I’d suggest flipping through MacGuru’s; that guy … whutshisname DigiLloyd? Sumthin’ like that, he had a high-end photography blog, then broke it off into a Mac Performance Guide. Oh, plus, also, of course barefeats, “This issue: booting & stress testing a Mac Pro with 6 OCZ Vertex 3.5” Colossus drives, set on RAID 0. Conclusion: Apple is Completely Incompetent and quite probably CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT in CRIPPLING the throughput on this set-up, and letting it go no faster than 1GB/sec. CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY, it should be going 3x that fast at the very least. I am saddened, personally offended, and disgusted. If I had actually paid for any of this crap, it would have cost me $92,000 dollars, and I expect it to finish booting and launch the whole entire Adobe Everything collection, BEFORE I even touch the power button. Tune in next week, when we’ll use a roll of duct-tape, superglue, tin foil, liquid freon, and a large hammer, to plug in 4 NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800’s and play Doom IV on a wall of 30" Cinema Displays! A short summary of our findings: Wooo HoooO!#@!!!"

It’s really easy… Just index whatever directory your Papers monographs live inside, into DT. Within DT Pro, hit the [I]nfo panel, under the Script: heading, attach the script that comes inside the DEVONthink .dmg, and lives within /Support/Extras/Scripts/Examples/Synchronize.scpt and whenever you click that directory inside DT Pro, it’ll automagically resynchronize itself with whatever lives below that path, and is managed by Papers. You can delete all the Papers support files out of DT (without removing them from the actual disc, Papers needs 'em, but you probably don’t want them littering up your DT indexed directories. Once deleted, they don’t re-appear).

Papers is really nice for managing monographs, but DT offers a whole different perspective on your information. By indexing stuff in, you don’t need multiple copies of the same thing all over the place.


Thanks for that :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: I just spit coffee all over my keyboard :slight_smile: That was hysterical :smiley:

Here I have got to disagree with you and I’m sure Bill Deville :slight_smile:

Patrick that up there is anything but obvious ‘oh it’s easy!’ no, it’s not. You know what would be easy? How about a checkbox in some panel that says ‘keep directory synchronized’ that would be easy and maybe let more then 10 people understand how to use this feature or even know it’s there. A checkbox with a button. Not you go dig down 8 directories into samples, wade through examples and somewhere in there is a applescript if you understand applescript and it will do what you want, btw you can make opening anything in devonthink trigger scripts for the 3 people who understand how to use that feature.

Who even knows it’s in there? Not the small group of very bright people who frequent these forums and obviously know more about devonthink then most of us, but out of all the people who use devonthink how many people have figured out that you can even do that?

Would it really be any harder to just put a checkbox in there with ‘keep synchronized’?

Thanks Patrick, that was informative and really fun to read :slight_smile:

MDanderson, I think I may know a little more about different features of devonthink which doesn’t mean anything, the app grows on you as you use more of its functions and discover how they might be useful to you but I’m not sure what my thoughts are.

This is a good thread that has nothing to do with the spinning beachball anymore but to put in my thoughts I have to agree with you, when I first started using devonthink I did find the synchronize script and figure out what it was and what it did, but it took me a few minutes of frustration to figure out that I’m being a idiot trying to attach the script to a folder finder action and what I need to do is attach it to the devonthink folder script connector which only shows up in the information panel.

What it did was obvious to me, or my best guess was right, but how to work it was a little befuddling so I agree with you there. The problem is devonthink has so many different power user features and functions that are handled in what is a elegant way that allows a lot of different possible options at that point (attach script). A sync button with a keep synced checkbox would be much simpler but at a certain point the interface is going to have pages and pages of 1000 different buttons (it’s already getting there).

Yes. I think that’s it.
Email sent.

The next beta will perform the highlighting in the background and therefore can’t freeze the application anymore in case of huge PDF documents. But of course occurrences might be not highlighted and scrolled to immediately.