Thoughts on DEVONthink 1.8

So far, I am delighted with the speed boost with the new Dt1.8 release.  I’m using a Powerbook Wallstreet II running 10.2.8, so any extra speed is accutely noticeable.  I should note that I use Dt exclusively as a writing centre for my own text, so it isn’t chewing through images and PDFs.  I’d be curious to hear how others with more complex databases are making out.

I’m a bit disappointed that the new “Wiki” links are only available in Panther, though.  I recently started using VoodooPad to hold writing that I like to cross-reference, but it would have been nice to move all that stuff into Dt, as I like to keep my suite of apps as small as possible (which is why I use Entourage instead of the Mail/iCal/Address Book triad).  Anway, my Wallstreet is not supported by Panther, and I’ll probably have created a lot of VoodooPad documents by the time I buy a newer machine, too many to want to waste time merging them into Dt.  Fortunately I love both apps, so this isn’t exactly a hardship.  It’s just a shame that I’m shut out of this new Dt functionality.

As someone else who uses a Wallstreet, I’m keeping an eye on Ryan Rempel (of Other World Computing), who is working on a version of his XPostFacto software that will enable Wallstreets and Beige G3 Macs to run Panther:

I’ve read a handful of accounts from Wallstreet users who are already using an alpha-version of XPostFacto to run Panther; but since my Wallstreet is my main machine, I’m waiting for the beta.

Just downloaded DT 1.8 and am eager to see the speed and other improvements (though I’m even more eager for DT Pro).

Jim C.

I have seen a super big speed increase – everything is much snappier. However, the Wiki links don’t really work as Wiki links should!

Right now, as far as I can tell, if I have a document, call it "Foobar," and I type "Foobar" into another document, a link does not result. I have to use a contextual menu to make a link, and then DT will link to the original document. This means that to construct a Wiki, I have to remember to make every single Wiki word a link by hand. Otherwise I just get a bunch of linkless pages, no matter how often the pages mention each other.

The way Wikis are supposed to work, and the way they owrk in VoodooPad or PHP Wiki, is that every single linkable word is linked automatically – in fact, the whole point of the Wiki is that it does your linking and cross-referencing for you. Real Wikis even do backlinking, which lets you see not only the document "Foobar" from documents that mention it, but lets you see all other documents that mention it.

Anyway, the feature as it is now doesn’t do much good – it really just saves some of the work involved in creating a static link. What’s needed is a preferences item, “Use Wiki Linking,” that automatically turns on Wiki links throughout DT, so that every time I type “Foobar” (or “Linux,” or “SteveJobs,” or “RalphWaldoEmerson”) I get a link, automatically! That is the magic of the Wiki. VoodooPad has a great implementation of this which lets you define separator characters – so that you don’t have to use CamelCase, for instance, and you can make “Ralph Waldo Emerson” link to a note of the same name.

Alas . . . . back to using VoodooPad in combination with DT instead of DT alone!  ??? Great work on the product in all other ways though! I hope real Wiki-linking will come soon – it has a big place in DT, since it allows you to see the structure of your document even while you’re writing it, and it shows you connections you don’t expect at the level of words – kind of like a concordance in real-time. Please, please include it!


Automatic Wiki linking will definitely come, probably in v1.8.1. But as usual, v1.8 was overdue ;D

One of the differences to other solutions is that any text (no matter how long or which characters are part of the text) can be a link and therefore this needs some optimization.

Version 1.8 is an outstanding upgrade! I like the speed, the new way search result appear, WikiLinks and that backup are in there own sub folder.

Thank you!

Christian,  you’ve packed many new features into DT PE over the past months <thank you>… will DT Pro still be a complete super-set of PE’s feature set?


btw, v1.8 is another great release.  Sorry to read of some users’ troubles with the db conversion…I’m sympathetic to that kind of trouble.  FWIW I had no problems converting my 120Mb db, and DT has been completely stable for many months now of daily use.  As a matter of data hygiene, I “verify & repair” then “backup and optimize” at least once a day, usually once per session.  Seems to work for me.

I approve of the new release. Obviously lots of people loved the ability to play quicktime movies and all that but it left me cold - to be frank I don’t even understand a tenth of the stuff on these boards. But cross links and speed are things that are immediately useful to me and make life a little easier. Way to go.

Thanks for all the feedback!

Unfortunately, the bugs of Cocoa/OS X are causing more troubles than previously thought. Therefore we’ll introduce a “background server” in v1.8.1 to import e.g. RTFD/Word documents. Therefore those bugs definitely can’t affect DT anymore (e.g. corrupt data after modifying DT’s memory or causing DT to crash).

Other new features in DT 1.8.1:

  • Possibility to index files (you can’t edit indexed files but still view, classify, seach, compare them etc.). Highly recommended for huge references/documentations as indexing uses less memory and disk space and is 1.5-2 faster than importing in average (i.e. I’ve already indexed 1 GB of developer documentation :slight_smile:)
  • Two new scripts and two new script commands
  • Manual arrangement of items (using "Sort By > Unsorted"). Improves outlining a little bit (although still weak)
  • Group-specific sorting
  • Search/Classify/See Also results display the location of all results and search results are sortable by location
  • Realtime browser toolbar search
  • Display of links referencing supported file types
  • Up to 10.000 images/PDF documents (DT is a decent image manager)
  • Revised info panel
  • Lots of minor changes again
  • And (as usual) more speed to compensate the overhead of the background server

And finally - yes, DT Pro will still be a super-set of DT PE.