Top priority for DEVONthink upgrade: WebKit

It’s time to update DEVONthink to WebKit and bring HTML file rendering up to a par with DEVONagent.

The older HTML engine still used by DT is often useless for viewing items in my document database. In all too many cases, the right side of the item’s text box is cut off, so that it is literally impossible to read the item within DT, regardless of the text magnification – some text is missing, even if there’s still lot’s of screen real estate on the right side of the file. User feedback for clickable hypertext links is poor; sometimes links work, sometimes they don’t. And the old HTML engine is slow.

For these reasons, I had studiously avoided adding HTML files to my DT database – until DEVONagent came along. Pre DEVONagent, I had a total of 14 HTML files in a database comprised of thousands of pages of references. Of those 14 HTML files, almost all had been included because they contained useful table information that’s badly rendered if the page is converted to RTF. Very often, I’ve used Acrobat’s ability to capture Web files as PDF – with working hyperlinks – to bring down documents with important graphics and/or tables. But Acrobat is slow in Web captures, and extra steps are involved. More often, I’ve captured Web page text as RTF, with resulting loss of graphics and properly rendered tables and other formatting problems (especially for chemical and mathematical expressions).

Along came DEVONagent with faster, more accurate and responsive and much more attractive rendering of HTML items – and the ability to find and capture Web material. My DEVONthink document collection now contains 464 HTML items. It would contain even more HTML items, if the HTML rendering in DEVONthink were on a par with HTML rendering in DEVONagent.

My DEVONthink database now contains a new group that contains 263 items transferred as HTML from a DEVONagent search. The search results were, for my purposes, magnificent and I wanted to incorporate them into DT. But many of the new items are unreadable in DT – to read them, they must be launched in Safari. Even those that can be read within DT open slowly and the user ambiguities regarding hyperlinks make it an unpleasant experience to view them in DT.

I understand that DEVONagent’s WebKit technology requires users to have at least Mac OS X 10.2.x and that it won’t work with older operating system versions.

So be it.

It’s time to upgrade DEVONthink to WebKit technology NOW, in version 1.7.3 at the latest. The synergy between DEVONthink and DEVONagent is so powerful that it should no longer be compromised by weak HTML rendering in DEVONthink.

Upgrading DEVONthink to WebKit technology should be the single most important upgrade priority for DEVONthink at this time. ;D

Actually we’d love to add the WebKit rather sooner than later but there are still people using Mac OS X 10.1.x. Therefore there will be at least one more bugfix release (1.7.2) before this might be an option.

I can’t promise WebKit integration for 1.7.x versions but in version 1.8 this will definitely come.

One workaround in the meantime is to store HTML pages in DEVONagent’s archive and transfer them to DEVONthink later.