What does the future hold for DEVONthink?

It appears that the Mac App Store supporters are the minority in this thread (or perhaps, alternatively, the anti-MAS the vocal minority).

Nevertheless, having DEVONthink on the Mac App Store doesn’t preclude the possibility of the app being sold elsewhere (see: OmniGroup’s productivity apps).

I also have to disagree with the whole ‘drivel’ assertion, in terms of what is actually on the Mac App Store. There are some quality apps, and just because the apps offered is not to the powerusers’ taste, it doesn’t automatically mean that the platform is useless.

Add to the wish list: Groups and Tags is an invaluable tool to open and float on top of all windows for collecting files, snippets etc. It plays well with spaces. I hope it is retained in future versions and enhanced with a “search” field to find and/or narrow down groups that match the search pattern. When lots of databases are open, this would be welcome feature.

I would like to have a reference manager built in rather than having to use Sente or Zotero.

Also, customizable metadata fields. For example, for those of us that deal with international law the issue of filing a treaty into DTPO (or any other program for that matter) is a real pain. Treaties are usually signed on one date, enter into force on another, and are due to terminate (or auto-renew) on a third. Why cannot I just create a “Type of Document” system in DTPO that allows me to tag the metadata for different documents based on individual document peculiarities. The metadata requirements for a Treaty are different to those required for a Court Judgment which are different to those required for a Statute and so on. Political documents get even more complex. Tags are definitely a step forward in tracking the interaction between People-Places-Dates-Events but the ability to have a customisable “reference” field for each document (like Papers) would be enormously appreciated.


similar to dtlawyer, i would very much like some reference management functionality that would allow me to use DTPO instead of Sente. As the pdf annotation functionality is already in place, what i need in addition is a way of one-click importing reference data from the web and maintain my bibtex-library. one current drawback of sente in my view is that the bibtex-export is flawed and does not allow me to control (and permanently change) the bibtex-code for each reference in detail.

I’m not one of those who “complain” about DT’s user interface. I mainly care about the functionality, and doing all my work within DT would be very cool indeed.



+1 Yes! Very useful for lots of us (even the not-international-treaty-lawyer crowd :confused: )

I’m sceptical about the desirability of building reference-manager functionality into DevonThink, for two reasons.

First, in the Mac OS X ecology, ‘Swiss army-knife’ applications that try to do a lot of things are less attractive - at least to me - than applications that focus on trying to do a few things really well. The Mac platform encourages harmonious collaboration between applications. There are several reference/citation manager applications that appear to do an at least acceptable job. They have teams working on them; they are updated regularly. It’s not clear to me why DT’s team would do a better job in this area than those teams already having experience. Of course, I wouldn’t discount work on DT to make it play as well as possible with such applications, but I wouldn’t be in favour of work to replace them. It would certainly be sad if work on such functionality were to be to the detriment of efforts to make the functionality of the core activity of DevonThink, its document-management role, as good as it possibly can be.

Second, of course, users of DevonThink who like me have no need of such functionality would probably have to pay for it, alongside those who do require it.


of course Hugh’s statement

“Second, of course, users of DevonThink who like me have no need of such functionality would probably have to pay for it, alongside those who do require it.”

applies to any functionality that you don’t use (of which there is probably a lot for any given DT user). i fully agree that one shouldn’t incorporate any special needs into DT.

So let me explain what i have in mind. I’m not thinking about any elaborate “library management”. What i have in mind is to annotate my research papers (pdf) as usual in DT, and “connect/link” a bibtex-code (rtf would suffice) to each pdf. that would almost be all i need. then i need a way of marking a bunch of pdfs (by some tag e.g.) in order to export (i.e. merge) the attached bibtex-codes into one plain-text file. that’s all. i thought that this kind of workflow is very close to the document-management tasks DT usually does and therefore does not require a special software in my view. maybe one can already make this work with some kind of script (i’m a newbie and have no idea if that makes sense)


That would be a rather welcome feature indeed.

My wish list would include:

  1. An option for line numbering in RTF items.
  2. The ability to annotate items, perhaps in a sidebar a la Scrivener.

I’ve been thinking about popping up the thoughts below for some time, but have been debating whether to start a new thread, or add it in here…

My hesitancy stems both from the fact that I’m (on the one hand) not sure as to whether I’m missing some feature that could solve my problem – vs (on the other hand) whether or not this is even remotely feasible, since what I’m asking would involve such a profound overhaul of the UI/underlying functionality of how things work in DTP, so as to basically involve my asking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (or monkeys riding unicorns…) :laughing:

But… nothing ventured - nothing gained… :confused:

[b]Improved wiki-links functionality…[/b]

There is little wrong with how it’s currently possible to use the Annotation feature, to inbed links to other documents. I use this extensively. It works well to a point, but then (possibly through over-use??) it starts becoming less useful.

Case in point: I might have a lengthy pdf of say, a piece of legislation – 300 pages… Several sections of this Act, might be important to me. I might come back to it repeatedly, as I work, since at different times - for different reasons - I’m focusing on different sections.

I could create one lengthy annotation, that I constantly add to, highlighting my thoughts about each of those sections – added to over a period of time, as I keep coming back to the PDF in question.
I can use the very useful scripts, to create live-links back to specific sections of the PDF, so that using the Annotation in this manner, has me jump back and forth, only to where I need to be… One that I also use regularly can be found here: [url]QuoteHighlight&Annotate script]
With screengrabs/comments/wikilinks/paragraph selections/thoughts/ramblings etc. - the Annotation can quickly take on a life of its own, bulging into something that almost becomes as long as the original PDF [ok - not quite, but still! :wink: ]…

I then sometimes try and tidy this up, by using korm’s (with Christian) very useful script to “explode” the RTF, into many separate RTFs that all link back… This works well in certain cases, but not in others [not at all a critique of the script - just my usage scenario] - since it requires me to be more careful with how I compose the initial RTF, in order to have the script kick in properly… [see here: [url]Explode and group a note (split & title 2)]]

Alternatively - I simply create my own wiki-links to other RTFs, using the inbuilt wiki-link functions with DTPO… This works well, to an extent - but does occasionally result in my almost spending an equal amount of time creating the links between different RTFs, as what I do in creating the comments/thoughts/information contained in those RTFs… :blush:

Or even worse – I come back to a PDF I haven’t looked at it a while, and fail to notice it has an annotation attached [one sometimes/often(??) misses the little live-link at the top of the PDF!]… So spend time jumping through the PDF in question, trying to get to the bottom of some nagging thought you have about it – only to [5/10 minutes later], stumble across the annotated RTF, with that exact same thought (and associated comments) having been made already - 6 months ago…

Lastly, and possibly the most problematic scenario for me [not sure if this is shared by anyone else??]:–

I have a Source PDF – and I have any combination and number of the following:
(i.) a Bookends RTF that was imported, containing the reference information to that Source PDF [which also serves as a useful point to jump straight into Bookends, to the relevant citation entry];
(ii.) A RTF generated via Goodreader on my iPad, containing only the comments I made about that PDF, when annotating it inside Goodreader – see here: [url]Need some help re my Annotation workflow-DTTG<>Goodreader];
(iii.) An Annotation RTF - containing comments/thoughts about that particular PDF;
(iv.) Several(??) Annotation RTFs linked to other PDFs, that are in some manner related to the Source PDF;
(v.) A webpage downloaded into DTP - or several of them - if it’s a particularly contemporary issue, that might add background to the PDF in question [Wikipedia features prominently here]

Put simply, I have several diverse documents that I want to link in some manner to one PDF, with more being added, after the fact.
Currently, whereas I can easily insert the details of the Source PDF into these other RTFs/documents - the only way I can think of setting-up the 2-way referral (from the Source PDF back to those other RTFs), is by manually pasting their item-links into the Source PDF’s annotated RTF…?
Alternatively - I could manually drop something into the Spotlight Comments field of the Source PDF, for instance, the other RTF’s item-links…

OR – where I have the Source PDF and (for example) a Wiki article converted to PDF, I then need to create two Annotation RTFs, for the purposes of having them serve as the landing-page for the links between the two documents…

What would be amazing (like unicorn-riding monkeys):–:

Some sort of integrated wiki-link menu, possibly in the context of the customisable meta-data editing that has been requested - something that would:
1.) Allow for easy [drag and drop?] creation of links between documents, to populate a particular “field”;
2.) Invoking this option, opens either a floating window or a side-bar (similar to See-Also), where these links are displayed - and are live-clickable to open in tabs/or in a new window;
3.) That the system is robust enough to allow for multiple links to one document [and here, allow me to be 1st to say it – I don’t have a clue as to whether this is even remotely possible, given constraints(?) that might exist in OSX??]
4.) That the UI of the above, allows for easy jumping to linked documents from the original source document, and not exclusively through a separate RTF…
4a.) That the RTF Annotation concept, somehow is incorporated into the the metadata of the original PDF – or at least, to have the option to do so;

Regardless of the feasibility of the above – one thing I really would like to see, if none of my rambling is possible, is far more prominence being paid (visually) to that live-link to RTF Annotation, at the top of the PDF… Flashing disco lights for instance, so that I don’t go an re-invent the wheel when I’m deep in thought, only to stumble across the RTF after the fact, with evidence of my already having done that…

I apologise for the length of this. :blush:

TL;DR – Improved functionality wrt two-way linking for multiple wiki-links to one document.


+2 Yes! Combined with a hierarchical tag system, “type of doc” would be great for maintaining patents also !

This. And the other related suggestions in this thread regarding classification: [url]AI Classification Suggestions]

As mentioned my many here and in other threads, I really am missing custom fields/columns. Also note this interesting quote from an old DEVON blog post on what DEVONthink 2.0 would have in it
blog.devontechnologies.com/2008/ … -and-more/

I also would really like to see Google Doc support. It seems to me it could link them like URLs, but use the Google Doc API to get their actual contents for indexing.

What OS X application (other than DEVONthink) does this? Archy? With the Google Drive client installed, Google Drive folders can be indexed in DEVONthink (no previews) and documents will open in the Google Drive web app.

1: Customizable metadata fields and columns

2: The ability to re-size an image in a note

3: Increased number of available labels

  1. Christian has previously noted the likelihood of user-created metadata.

  2. & 3) DEVONthink doesn’t independently develop a text editor or a label system, but uses those features of OS X. Apple’s rich text editor as exemplified in TextEdit doesn’t currently provide for image resizing, although I agree that would be nice. At present the fall-back would be to cut the image from a rich text note, copy it to an image editor for resizing, then paste the resized image back into the note.

As for Labels, in Mavericks Apple has transformed Labels to Tags, an interesting move. That opens the possibility of attaching characteristics to items without the limitations of trying to distinguish the nuances of color as the list of characteristics grows. We are no longer limited to 7 Labels (um, Tags, now).

Not exactly the case.

Apple TextEdit (as of Mavericks and earlier) uses Preview to resize images. Double click an image in a TextEdit Rich Text document. It will open in Preview. Any of Preview’s Tools menu commands, including Adjust Size, can be applied. Save. The image in the RTFD document will be updated.

As noted by Bill, below, also working in DEVONthink.

Yosemite’s Markup tool (and extension framework) should make this a lot better. Markup is just an extension, and it works in TextEdit and presumably other apps that display pictures. Like, say, DEVONthink, which I just tested just now. Markup doesn’t let you resize images, but an extension to do that could definitely be written.

I stand corrected, as the trick of double-clicking on an image in a RTFD TextEdit document does open the image in Preview, where it can be resized. The resized image is then displayed in the TextEdit document.

That also works in the next maintenance release of DEVONthink. I checked, and was able to resize an image in Preview and thus in the DEVONthink rich text document.

The problem is that the doc’s text is not indexed - just its name, correct? So you miss out on the searching and categorization. That is true whether you add the Google Drive Sync local file stub (like .gsheet) or the direct URL to the doc.

What I am suggesting is that DT should recognize these as Google docs and do a second step of calling the google drive API to get the actual text for them. It can then index/categorize them based on that. It’s similar to how when you add a URL it makes the HTTP call to get that web page’s content.

Unless there is a working trick for this that I am missing? Thx.