I have been trying to explore some of the features I haven’t used before now that 2.0 is out and I have a question about “linking”. It seems that it only works with RTF doc’s, is that right and if so why? It would seem to me that if I decided to make frequent use of linking, I would have to convert everything to RTF.
That raises a more general design question about DT which is the widely varying functions that are document specific. I use DT mostly as a document collection/organization point as opposed to note/excerpts from documents which means most of my items are web archives or PDF with now some .doc and email files. Many of the interesting annotations, highlighting, and linking functions are unavailable for these types with the worst being email and .doc which can only be viewed and nothing else.
Is there a reason for this? I know it can’t be technology related because there are plenty of annotation tools for web pages for example. Having to convert everything to rtf is unwieldy, loses formatting in some cases, and just seems to me unnecessary.
What am I missing?? I know pdf annotation is coming but what about the ability to annotate web pages?? Will we also be able to link from pdf’s??
In fact, the reasons are technology related.
In the current state of Apple’s Quick Look, one cannot create links, enter notes and so on in the Quick Look view of a document. Or create a Link To hyperlink from a PDF, because that would require modification of the PDF (all of the applications that provide notes in PDFs do so only in plain text).
But that has never stopped me. See my infamous kludges for “attaching” and linking marginalia and notes to any text, HTML, WebArchive or PDF document. With only the loss of my Lookup trick, associations can work for any other file type as well. See the example databases on attaching notes (both version 1.x and 2.0 databases), that can be opened under DT Pro or DT Pro Office.
homepage.mac.com/WebObjects/File … US&lang=en
There will probably be evolution of such techniques in DEVONthink 2.x, with interesting possibilities. There will likely be improvements in Quick Look over time, and in the plugins for it by developers of applications rendered under Quick Look.
BTW: If you wish to copy text from a Word document in DT Pro 2, there’s a little button that will display it as rich text. For archived Mail messages, just Open With Mail, and you can copy text, etc. under Mail.
“In fact, the reasons are technology related.”
What I meant by that is that the technology exists to do it so the fact that it is not done is not that because it can’t be done.
That said, I think the point is valid ultimately. In the ideal world, one should be able to work with all documents in the same manner, not forcing the user to convert in order to employ a DT capability. It violates the rule of good interface design, for example, that I have to remember to click a button to copy/paste from a Word document while needing to do something different for other documents. That is not a complaint, only an observation/suggestion. Clearly DT2 is an evolution.
I will check out your piece on linking
Bill, I just read your piece on document linking. It’s a great system but it won’t work for me because we just don’t operate the same way. What you are doing , if I may be so bold, is constructing a systematic, scholarly database, complete with proper notes on the source documents.
What I do on the other hand is dump a huge number of documents of all types into a DT database, classify them into an outline, and use that outline as the basis for a report using the source documents as references. I rarely construct notes on the documents themselves nor do I rely on the databases as independent sources in themselves.
Therefore, having to create notes on a document just to link it to other documents would not fit the way I work. I need to be able to, independent of the document type be able to highlight text and create a link to another document somewhere. Actually, as I think about it, I probably wouldn’t do that so much as it doesn’t make alot of sense given what I am doing.
Still, my point is that one should be able to do the same thing with any document type. For me, highlighting is far more important. It makes me nuts that I can’t highlight a web or pdf document for the simple reason that 99% of my documents are in those formats!
Just another small example…why can’t we create a DT note from a PDF? That has to be trivial no?
The more I think about, the more I realize that the whole document format thing (including conversion and importing) is kind of a mess in these sense that the alternatives are so varied and the means scattered in so many different menus and scripts.
Somebody needs to think about how to pull all of that in some kind of order for the user.
In another thread I was speculating about the possibility of a future option that would let me click in a PDF at any location, to create a new rich text note that would be “tied” to the location in that PDF. Perhaps by UUID and scrolling position?
Might even work for long text, HTML and WebArchive documents, assuming a specified window width/zoom.
That would go a long way to cleaning up the kludges I’m presently using.
I guess one of the things I was trying to explain was the difference in DT between working with “notes” and working with original documents. All my life, even in school, I worked directly from books and documents rather than from notes taken from books/documents. I can remember doing my school projects surrounded by a dozen open books. I just seem to be able to think better that way or maybe I have always been just too lazy to do the note taking thing.
In any event, the way Bill works is more of the classical scholarly way, taking notes on the documents and working from there but I generally stay with the original documents which means I rely on annotations, highlighting, etc in order to call attention to things within those documents. Thus, I am greatly handicapped by only being able to markup/linkto RTF documents and not webarchives or the pdfs I prefer have as a format. With PDF’s I can’t even take a note when I want to.
Maybe most people here seem to work more from notes that they create themselves and I may be in a minority but it does raise the question if DT is conceptualized as a program for working with notes or for working with documents. I for one am arguing for more tools for working with documents and maybe the forthcoming PDF annotation capability will keep me happy.
One additional thing that is needed is a way to “stamp” the url on PDF files that are created within the application from links or webarchives. For anybody who wants to export those files for use in other applications, the URL is going to get lost unless the PDF was printed to DT from Safari.
My vision was a system that might make both you and me happy.
The system of association of notes and marginalia to a reference would work so that, as I scroll through a book-length reference, my notes, as marginalia associated with a location in the reference, would pop up. I could add, edit or delete notes at will. The notes would be searchable, and “attached” to not only PDFs but documents with other filetypes, such as text, HTML and WebArchive.
Conversely, if I’m looking at one of my note documents and wish to see the appropriate location within a referred-to document, I could make that immediately appear.
A single note might refer to two or more documents, and so could appear as marginalia in each of them, perhaps comparing and contrasting an issue discussed in each.
Bush and his Memex machine really got to me!
I appreciate the effort to make me happy but as I said, I am not a note-taker so your system doesn’t really apply (though I would use it if I was). As I explained above, I realized that linking was not of tremendous importance to me but the ability to annotate documents is. I am a relatively new Mac user (two years) and believe it or not, I just discovered that Preview will let you annotate PDF’s (*smacks head) so I can actually open my DT PDF’s, annotate them, and then see them in DT. I assume the coming DT PDF annotation will be even easier.
All this supports my decision to rely on PDF as the format of choice both for my non DT archive as well as my DT files. I am only nervous about not being able to back and get image files if I need them later but that is just the problem with no worldwide standard for single file web archiving (webarchive, mht, etc.).
My other issue is the desire to be able to print the URL of the document to the PDF itself if I want to export it for use in other programs. As it stands, we have a script to do that for RTF but not for PDF. I am, of course,talking about PDF’s that are created inside DT and not printed to DT which do have the URL printed to the document.
Anybody have any ideas on this??