Trying out Devonthink

Hi. I’ve been trying out Devonthink 2 and have a couple of questions.

  1. Is 2.0 written in Cocoa?

  2. Is there a quick entry panel or something similar to get files into the inbox? Similar to yojimbos or voodoopads? I can’t seem to find it in the beta.

  3. How does the wikilinking compare to voodoopad? I’ve heard it’s similar and powerful, but I can’t seem to make heads or tails of it.

  4. I really only want one database, and wont’ be buying a specialized scanner, so would devonthink personal be better than pro?

  5. Does anyone use devonthink for actual writing? Or is it best used simply as a file cabinet?

Thanks for any answers or suggestions.



Other than the Sorter? Well, there are AppleScripts, Services, drag-and-drop…

What are the standards for WikiLinks? You type something and it turns into a link instantly (in 2.0). When you click the link, you go to the referenced document. You can open the link in a new tab, too. And there are a couple of other little things that are nice.

I have some small complaints about DT’s wikilink engine – that it seems to match shorter aliases/names before longer ones, for instance – but it’s solid, works great, does what it’s supposed to do.

Try it. DEVONtechnologies has a great upgrade policy. If you need Pro, you can upgrade instead of buying it at label price. I started out with DTP 1, then later upgraded to DTPO 1. Great deal.

DEVONthink is the greatest writing environment I’ve ever used. Of course, I’m a bit of a minimalist, so I just need some basic text formatting, lots of windows for notes, and the occasional fullscreen… but yeah, I write everything in DEVONthink.

I use Word at work because I have no alternative. Word is a heckuva application, and does what it does very well, and it’s certainly better at managing columns, images, footnotes, tables of contents, and other things than TextEdit or DEVONthink. But Word is not a word processor, really, it’s a desktop publishing application.

Many of the people on this forum have very precise workflows. They frequently use Mellel or Scrivener to polish their drafts. I’m sure a good number of people use Pages or Word. Either way, I think all of the most efficient workflows involve getting the text onto the page as being a separate process from polishing the draft and making it publication-ready. DEVONthink uses RTF, which almost every word processor in existence reads and writes flawlessly.

So it depends on your definition of “write” :slight_smile:

  1. Is there a quick entry panel or something similar to get files into the inbox? Similar to yojimbos or voodoopads? I can’t seem to find it in the beta.

Other than the Sorter? Well, there are AppleScripts, Services, drag-and-drop…

And…widgets. F12 > then manage widgets. Then just hit F12 for quick entry.

2 = 5? :slight_smile: That’s OK.

I can’t vouch for Christian’s programming language(s), but it’s certainly Cocoa-compliant (and DT Pro and DT Pro Office have large AppleScript dictionaries).

The Global Inbox isn’t functional in public beta 1. But one can drag database Inboxes (or even selected groups) into an empty slot in the Sorter. Items deposited into a Sorter slot will be sent immediately into the corresponding open database. If the destined database isn’t open, items deposited in it’s Inbox or group will be flushed to it when that database is opened.

And there’s also the floating Groups panel, which I often use either to drag new content from the Finder, or a clipping of selected text/images, into any location within any open database. It’s also handy for dragging content from one database to any location within another open database.

I’ll pass on this one, as I only rarely use WikiLinks.

That depends on your needs. Take a good look at the comparison table at

I use DT Pro Office, and at times all of its features. I do a lot of scanning, more than I had initially contemplated.

Recognize up front that DEVONthink PE isn’t scriptable. I use scripts quite often, those included with the application as well as a number of scripts created by users and posted on this forum.

Scripts and multiple databases start with the DT Pro edition. I’d be lost without multiple databases now, although I started way back when in DEVONthink PE. I’ve got a lot of stuff. I couldn’t fit all my databases on the laptop I use for most work. So I’ve got collections of topically-designed databases that fit my needs. That also improves the utility of searches and See Also operations for me. When I start a new project, I’ll probably quickly create and populate a new database just for it. DT Pro/Office 2.0 allow one to assemble, like Leggo blocks of information, a set of topically-designed databases for any purpose.

I do, and so do a lot of others. Michael Chabon, for example, credits DT Pro in his best-seller, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. It’s reported that Chabon often recommends DT Pro at writers workshops. Michael Crichton was a DT Pro user (although it was his practice never to endorse any products). Steven Berlin Johnson has written about his use of DEVONthink, as has James Fallows.

For that matter, several DEVONnote users report that they have written books in that environment, although I prefer the additional collections of filetypes (no PDFs in DEVONnote, for example) that can be stored within DEVONthink applications.

I do most drafting within a database, as my references and notes are at my fingertips. Whenever I hit a block, a search or See Also is very likely to give me a fresh start. But don’t look for me on best seller lists – my stuff is for academic or science exchange projects. Dry, and usually pretty boring stuff. :slight_smile:

Just wanted to chime in on the writing aspect. I, too, use DTPO for most of my writing. Simple txt or rtf documents are usually all I need, but often I will have to import into Word for formatting and sharing with colleagues. DTPO is amazing as a writing tool, in my opinion. I’ve been using it for well over a year and each week I find myself smiling at how organised and ‘in control’ I feel with the multiple projects going on.

Thanks for all the long replies. It’s great to see that devonthink has an enthusiastic community. I’ve used some applications with forums that were nearly dead.

So far I love devonthink. I promise I’ll use it extensively before seeing if I have any more questions.

I can’t wait to see the final product.

If you have any questions, just ask. Many feature requests and similar topics already exist in the forums, but phpBB’s search function isn’t all that good, so I doubt anyone would get bent out of shape. I like discussing DEVONthink and helping people out, as do many of the other users (and Bill DeVille, the professional Evangelist).

So don’t worry. My RTFM responses are few and far between. Just be very specific about what you want to know – DEVONthink has so many features that vague questions will generally get vague answers.