The future of DevonThink?


Not sure I should be posting this in Troubleshooting, but I didn’t know what category best fits this topic.

I’m using a trial version of DT and am leaning to getting a license, but a thought occurred to me that has me needing more info.

I love the concept of a paperless office, and to be able to file and structure my data in a logical way. However, I’m a photographer and I’ve seen how quickly digital media has changed over the last 2-4 years, and some photo formats have actually become obsolete, and since technology advances in such an incredible pace, and things change so rapidly, and company’s quit or shift their business, I was curious what was the future of DevonThink and more about my data.

I am thinking long term here, and trying to imagine having to recover data 5 years from now. Will I be using DevonThink? Will it still be around? If it’s not around, what will become of my data? Is it structured in Devon in the logical way I have now, ready for me to export and then import into another system with all hierarchies in tact, or will I be left with endless data that I will have to resort? The beauty of paper is that it is never really becomes obsolete. What is the analysis here long term?

May be I just need some reassurance here, but does anyone have any thoughts regarding long term foresight into their data being paperless?


We think there’s a very promising future for DEVONthink.

You can be sure of one thing: All the files you store in a database are stored in their native file formats, and they can be recovered even if you are no longer using DEVONthink.

Will file formats, applications, operating systems and computing hardware change in coming years? Absolutely, There will be challenges as some things go obsolete, and benefits as well.

I’ve been building DEVONthink databases since 2002. The application has become more and more powerful over that time, but I’ve still got content from my first database. Some of the file formats that I use today didn’t exist in 2002, and some of my older files are converted to a different format when I open them now.

File formats come and go. But many formats have now been around for a while and will stay for a longer while, too, like PDF, JPEG, PNG, pure text. Others like web archives are proprietary and I’d avoid them for long-time archiving.

As for DEVONthink: It never locks you in. If you choose to leave DEVONthink for good and another solution you can export all your files at any time in their original file format and move on. We’re not PaperPort :slight_smile:

That’s an ongoing puzzle for many of us. :stuck_out_tongue:

As a user for a couple of years I can state that I’m completely at ease with the way DTPO handles my data. When coupled with a scanner, I find that I can toss out a lot of physical paper sheets, books, pages of catalogs, articles from magazines, the list goes on.

However, as tempting as it might be to go totally paperless, there are still papers that we keep filed in physical file cabinets. We’re not ready to scan all our home improvement receipts, for example, in the hopes that 15 or 20 years down the road the IRS will accept scanned documents as proof of deductions against capital gains when we sell our house.

So for the present, we do scan nearly everything but we are discriminate in what we actually throw away. Before moving across country a year ago I scanned a great many sheets of paper, and kept them! Once we arrived, I realized that I could get rid of 96% of them once I validated their existence within the new DTPO version 2.

Remember this: Paper is not indestructible. Fires and floods do occur and paper is notoriously easy to burn, and is easily turned to mush in water. OTOH, neither are your data on your hard drives. However, it is so much easier to back up important data files to thumb drives or SD cards and stick 'em in your bank’s safety deposit box. Do back up your data as often as necessary!

Remember, as noted above, DTPO saves and stores your files in their original format! If you can open a file by selecting it and then selecting “Open with…” and you can open your file with Preview or Safari or TextEdit or whatever, then you’re good to go.

The IRS has accepted scanned documents since 1997. Check out Rev. Proc. 97-22. You have to be able to produce a hard copy form if requested and if your hard drive fails, it’s your problem.