Would anybody on the Devon team like to explain what happened to the thread asking about DT version 2.0? It had been running since 2005 and the last post was yesterday. It disappeared from the forum earlier today, 13 December. (I also think other posts related to DT version 2.0 disappeared around the same time, is that right?)
DEVONtechnologies : View topic - Buy now, or wait?
We have deleted the mentioned thread yesterday for a varienty of reasons. Please, let me explain.
DEVONthink 2.0 is currently in development, the code of the 1.x and 2.0 versions has been forked and some developments made for 2.0 have also been adapted for the 1.x track. So, even though the eye cannot see it, the current releases of DEVONthink already carry 2.0 code in some areas.
However, as mentioned in my blog, we have also developed a new product line in the last 16 months. As this new product line is based on the same technology, many base technologies developed for it are already forming the base of DEVONthink 2.0. So, while it looks as if we had spent time on a different product and neglected DEVONthink, that is not the case.
We are a small company developing both a complex technology as well as high-end data management applications. Development is often interruped by incidents unforeseen, e.g. the problems created by various changes in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
The deleted thread was started over two years ago when people asked for features that we intended to pack into the next generation of DEVONthink instead of doing ‘live surgery’. These basic changed have so much impact on the overall construction of the database and the user interface that implementing them in 1.x releases does not make much sense. During the lifetime of the thread we have released DEVONagent 2.0, DEVONthink Pro Office as well as various updates for DEVONthink (Pro) and, as mentioned, started development of both a new product line and of DEVONthink 2.0
So, to clarify all the rumours around DEVONthink 2.0 and its possible release date: DEVONthink 2.0 is no vaporware but in development; the feature list for 2.0 is fixed and is being followed. The release date for 2.0 will be published as soon as we start the internal beta test procedure but the release is not yet ‘around the corner’ but it will be in 2008, and earlier than later. As soon as it is ‘around the corner’ I’ll clearly tell you in our blog.
For the near future you can expect various updates to DEVONthink 1.x introducing both new features as well as fixes, and the release of a brand new product line. I hope that you will then agree that both the ‘delay’ (while we have never published a release schedule for version 2.0) as well as the new product line make perfect sense.
Perhaps I should be clear also: I started a new thread 2 days ago (I don’t know about the one that was apparently already 2 years old…). This was not intended to pressure you or the team but I face some decisions on how to implement a certain workflow and knowing what might come is helpful there.
I did not ask for a release date as I perfectly well understand your side of things and in general do not think pressuring developers is very helpful. I just thought that perhaps some light could be shed on the planned new features in v2. That was all, certainly no suggestion of neglect on your side vaporware, or anything like that.
I clearly understand this. I hope that my explanations shed some light onto the planned releases.
I agree, Katherine. However, we wanted to make sure that no inaccurate and now by far outdated information is still floating around here. I hope this is at least a bit understandable? In general we don’t censor any dicussion here as you may have noticed, not even discussions that are clearly to our disadvantage.
Eric, thank you, though I agree with Katherine on this one. And I am not sure that what has happened here hasn’t had the same effect as censorship (inadvertent as that may have been).
In particular, it is now clear that at least two threads were deleted from the forum, one of which had no ‘inaccurate’ or ‘outdated’ information in it at all: just one post (by Gerben) requesting a list of features to be included in DT 2.0.
As you said in your long post above ‘the feature list for 2.0 is fixed’, so is there any reason why that original request of his (and those in other deleted posts, if I recall correctly) could not be answered now? I’m sure we would all be interested to know what’s in store for us when 2.0 finally appears.
Eric has however given an explanation, why DT does not want to give that information at this point. Let me explain what I understand when I read Eric’s post:
DT is going to release a new product with abilities and features that will also form a substantial part of the next release of DTP. Now, this can be extensive interaction or some kind of advanced AI or something completely different. Giving a detailed feature list now, has the following disadvantages for them:
1 - It might make the competition aware of what it exactly is DT was working on for 16 months, giving them an unnecessary advantage to catch up quicker (market window, unique feature etc.)
2 - In the reality of software development, things never work out as planed (e.g. Leopard API change or simply the estimation problem). There are two things one can do: change the release date and remove / shrink down features. You do not want to remove features however, that you already promised to your customers. They will not miss, what they did not expect.
3 - Clearly the work on DTP V2 is in development, not in testing. That means there are “fixed” features that are not implemented yet. Talking about a feature that is not yet implemented would be just plain stupid. Why? Because you cannot know 100% if it is going to work as planed before you implemented it.
Baseline: while the silence on DT’s part might frustrate some of you, their (non-)action is designed to save them and us a lot more frustration.
As soon as it makes sense, I am sure the Marketing of DT is going to kick in high gear and inform us in all detail why we should give them more money.
I know from your previous posts that you are very new to DT (correct me if I am mistaken). I am not surprised at your enthusiasm for it. It is how I felt when I found it.
Now imagine that it is not December 2007, but December 2009. You have been using DT for over two years with little more than incremental changes and you have just been told that DT will not see the major revision you have been expecting (because it has been mooted in the forum for so long) until 2010 – early in the year if you are lucky, later if you are not. Or even perhaps 2011 if you are cynical.
That is the position that some long-time users find themselves: those who have been waiting since 2005 (as you would be able to see if the relevant posts had not been deleted).
None of this is to say that DT is not a good programme. It is. Like many others, I need it. But it seems to be falling behind even the system on which it is running in terms of some capabilities. Moreover, as far as the UI is concerned, I feel like I am running 10.3 when I use it, but most of the time I am back in the days of Jaguar.
That’s why I now feel worried. And with the deletion of the threads I feel more than worried. Information dispels rumour. Secrecy fuels suspicion. There is a balance to be struck. It has been said better by others commenting on the Devon blog in recent days. If you haven’t seen them already, I recommend you have a look at them (in particular, Jason and rjohnston). devon-technologies.com/scrip … 3#comments
On a lighter note, you did such a good job with your post I wondered if you were after Bill’s job as evangelist.
Karen’s right. The thread should have been locked not deleted. No one likes Big Brother. Locking the thread would have allowed users to compare V 2.0 when it finally emerged, with the concerns and interests users having been discussing and expressing over the last two years. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, killing that thread just LOOKS bad. And maybe IT IS bad. A sign of weakness. What’s more, it’s bad P.R. Hello? Anyone studied public relations in DEVONland?
In short, put the d**n thread back up and lock it. That way, if you find a broken promise in 2.0, it will be there for all to see. So what? There’s no harm in that. Creative criticism makes us better and more humble. Open discussion is not grounds for false advertising or faked promises.
Finally, no one on this thread writes as well or as clearly as Bill DeVille. No one.
Spammers. Those pathetic creatures who hope to scrounge a living posting ads for porn, Viagra and other controlled substances on forums like this one. Many of them are themselves victims of others, having paid hundreds of dollars for software that automatically lets them register and post, and hundreds more for “instruction” on how to get rich quick.
Some days I spend an inordinate amount of time deleting spam and throwing off spammers from the forum. I’ll screen new registrants for spammer-like patterns and check their profiles out with a quick Web search. I hope legitimate forum registrants don’t regard that as an invasion of privacy, but it pays off. I’ve learned that if I leave these turkeys alone they will quickly pop up and start posting spam. Tip: if you see a new forum member with a weird and often misspelled occupation, then find that he’s registered on hundreds of forums within the last few hours, it’s a slam dunk; he’s a spammer. If her name ends with XXX and her occupation is listed as Porn Goddess, she’s a spammer; a really dumb one.
I’ve come across some apparently abandoned forums that contain nothing but spam posts. That makes me wonder. Do those spammers buy Viagra and Tramadol from each other?
You are far too modest. No-one has a deeper sack of kludges and workarounds to keep DT ticking over, nor is anyone more adept at distributing the necessary soma when the dystopians in the forum start braying. I think Devon would find it near-impossible to manage without you. Hit them for a Christmas bonus.
I’ve been an enthusiastic user of DevonThink Pro Office since its release, and DevonThink for a few years before that. But this program is growing long in the tooth and other apps are emerging that are making me re-evaluate my commitment to this application.
Frankly, I think it’s ridiculous we still don’t have genuine smart folder functionality. This is so intrinsic to the Mac environment that to not have it makes such an app feel decidedly un-Mac like. And the interface? DT Pro has always been a “function over form” application, ignore the homely UI and embrace the power. But there are other apps now that are approaching DT Pro in power, and in many ways surpassing it, that DO look and feel like a Mac application. Together, from Reinvented Software, is one such app that I am test driving as we speak. There are aspects of DT Pro I much prefer, but likewise, there are things about Together that are far more compelling than DT Pro.
All I’ve heard for well over a year is “smart folders are coming”. I’m done waiting for legit smart folder functionality. If DT ever gets around to making it happen and I’m still using DT Pro, awesome. Maybe I’ll stay. But 2.0 IS essentially vaporware to me and it’s time to find something that fits the way I need to work.
I agree with the gist of what you’re saying. DevonThink is becoming ridiculously long in the tooth, the interface is kludgey and reminds of 2001 or 2002 every time I fire up a database. It has program-specific solutions to many problems which were solved by OS/X itself as it evolved through the years. At a time when nearly every app I can think off offers access to basic system underpinnings like a shared media library and of course smart folders, DT has finally managed a rudimentary spotlight index. Right now DT is a very hard sell to anyone who launches it for the first time, without examining its strengths, you fire it up and it’s a time warp back to (if not 2001 or 2002, then) 2003.
It looks dated, clunky. The most basic OS/X features that nearly every other app contains, are missing in action.
It’s not pretty, the UI is well, let me be kind and say: old.
Despite my personal enthusiasm for DT Pro, I have managed to convert exactly… nobody, over to using it. People download it, try it and then ask me why this is better then using the Finder and spotlight. I explain, their eyes glaze over and nobody is listening.
Contrast this with for instance, Yep.
I show Yep to people and everybody gets it, instantly. They’re excited, sometimes even thrilled. Suddenly they’re presented with an overlay to their entire filesystem which lets them view and manage all their pdf’s in a completely different way. It improves many things, requires no commitment from the user, nothing to import, you launch it and have a brand new way to look at all your data.
Nearly everybody I’ve ever showed Yep to, has tried it and gone out to buy it. Leap is generating similar enthusiasm. If I were to list the top 3 apps that do something different/unique and garner tremendous enthusiasm from everyone I’ve ever interacted with, they would Yep, Leap and Papers.
I really hope that the people at DevonThink have at least looked at Yep and Leap and thought about how some of what they’ve done could be implemented in DT 2.0. Papers is a specialized app for monographs and scientific papers, but it’s in there as an example of absolutely leveraging what OS/X has to offer that is unique to create a best of breed app.
In agreement with the previous poster, DT desperately needs “real” smart folders, it needs to play well with the rest of Leopard and what is current in OS/X (instead of what was current 4-5 years ago), it absolutely needs “real” tagging not the clunky comments field and it would benefit tremendously from implementing richer data visualization features.
Unfortunately for me, DT does what it does extremely well. I will not be switching to anything else, least of all Together which to me anyway just looks like Yojimbo on steroids, it’s pretty, it looks exactly like what you’d expect from a modern OS/X app, but it lacks many of the core functions that make DT unique.
I like DT Pro. I know development takes time. I know DT 2.0 is coming eventually. But I really hope that some of the people working on it have taken a look around the landscape and actually examined what else is out there. Yep is quite simply brilliant. It doesn’t replace anything, it augments everything, it requires no commitment from the user, Leap looks like it’s developing along similar lines.
I use DT Pro for databases. It doesn’t run my daily life, that would be Mail with MailTags and ActOn, iCal, AddressBook, all apps which play well together and leverage the current best of what OS/X has to offer.
I’m not sulking or threatening to jump ship, because there really isn’t anywhere to jump at the moment. But I’ve come to realize that when I enthuse about what I love with regards to DT and try to share it with people I work with, more and more I’m sounding like that guy on the 3rd floor whose still running OS 9 because it works, it does what he wants, why would he ever switch?
If I had to sum all of this up in a single sentence and give some sort of constructive input: PLEASE just pull DevonThink out of 2002, and into 2008. That’s it!
I think describing Together as “Yojimbo on steroids” is actually a pretty accurate description, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear what features of DT Pro are compelling you to stay, because I’m looking for reasons and, frankly, not finding many.
So far, the main features in DTP that I would miss in other apps are, first, the integrated OCR and how it works so well with my ScanSnap. That said, I can achieve the same end result in Together with only slightly more work b scanning into ReadIris Pro and then directing that app to auto recognize and output a PDF directly to Together.
The email archive is very well done and very useful and not available in another app. So at a minimum, I’ll keep using DTP for that.
The artificial intelligence in DTP is cool, but honestly, I don’t use it much. When I use the ‘see related’ stuff, it’s interesting to see what comes back but it’s not an integral part of my workflow. And the auto classify upon import has never worked. I don’t know why but when I import via services or drag and drop, everything just ends up in the inbox. And that’s where I would most want to utilize the AI capabilities. They work well if I take the time to use the ‘classify’ function, but by the time I do that I could just drag it where I want it.
and that’s about it. I use DTP as an information repository. If I find something I want to save for future reference, whether it’s a document, web page, image, movie or selected text, then I’ve been dumping it into DTP and then using it’s strong search capabilities to instantly find it.
But Together does all of that, and it does it better than DTP does. I can create project-related folders and put everything related to a project into that folder, including contacts from Address Book. Can’t do that in DTP. I can use genuine tagging and smart folder functionality to find precisely what I want on a standing basis, and the search functionality works as well for me in Together as it does in DTP, so there’s no difference for me there.
And it’s just a pleasure to use. I look forward to interacting with Together, it’s a beautiful app with great ease of use, very intuitive. I endure working with DTP.
so unless I’m forgetting features in DTP that I’d miss, then really the only things that are unique diferentiators for me are the direct OCR and the email archive. That’s it. Given that I’ve already paid for the app, I’ll continue to use it for email, and maybe the scanning stuff, but right now when I find myself wanting to put a piece of information into an archive, I’m using Together and it’s working beautifully.
Based on your strong feelings about it I’m actually giving Together another spin and playing around with it. Off the top of my (and honestly, giving it about 30 minutes worth of play at this time), what I find lacking at the moment is:
The big one: there are no multiple databases. This is about equal to DevonNotes. I use DT Pro mostly as an “information repository” which does include my personal notebook and clippings, but this is just one of the databases (the one I have actually imported into Together to play with), I have over 20, some as large as 8GB.
Again maybe it’s only a feeling and I could be wrong, but I do not get the industrial strength, your data is safe, no really! Vibe from Together.
I actually make heavy use of the history, concordance, and see also features of DT Pro… I use it more for data mining and managing large, relatively complex databases, then as a PIM.
Solely as a PIM, Together kicks DT’s ass in.
My problem is …I’m really not looking for Yet Another Program to add to my workflow, I have so much information to work with I am trying to consolidate and cut down on the apps that work with it. I’m not a GTD convert, but make heavy use of lists, and I’ve actually kept that bouncing between Mail.app, iCal and leveraged the awesome plugin that is MailTags to accomplish this. I do not want to spend even more of my time importing/exporting/moving my stuff back and forth between the GTD app of the week, Things is nice, but not nice enough to invest time in importing exporting data in and out of it, the end result isn’t worth the effort, OmniFocus is just… anal beyond belief and I get the feeling I can either do my work, or sit there and enter ToDo lists and checkmarks all day, a short, fast, list helps, the insanity which is OmniFocus does not (for me anyway). I love the scanning abilities of DT Pro Office, but honestly beyond testing the mail import, have found no compelling reason to move my mail out of Mail.app. I have over a million mail messages to keep track of, but as an old-school convert from elm, pine and mutt, I actually keep them in physical folders I use smart folders heavily, but when Mail.app loads 1 million+ pieces of email in one big splat… it crawls, when those messages are spread out all over the place in sub-directories and folders, Mail flies… It only loads the msgs as they’re required and quite honestly I like Mail.app. It does what I need very well, it’s elegant, it’s fast (the exact opposite of Entourage) and neither DT Pro Office nor EageFiler have presented me with a compelling reason to take the effort to export my mail someplace else. As far as DT’s AI features are concerned, I personally have found them completely useless as far as my email is concerned, and tags to be absolutely invaluable.
As a PIM, Together is really nice. But I use DT more as free-form, very flexible databases and make pretty heavy use of the “AI” features that are present, I haven’t really found anything else which comes close except for possibly tinderbox, but looking at that mess just makes my head want to explode (yes I’m sure it’s simply magical if you invest the time, effort and make everything else revolve around it, but…)
Mostly what I’m finding is, I don’t want programs to keep reinventing the wheel for me. I just want them to utilize everything OS/X has to offer, augment that, and inter-operate. I know DT can store photos, music, many items (any database in this day and age that can’t, would be pretty pathetic), but aside from the occasional reference photo or audio presentation related to a project, I’m not sure why I care … that’s what iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, are for I know it does RSS but frankly, it’s pretty awful at that, while NetNewsWire is great (and once again, interoperates with all my other programs/workflows). I use Papers for monographs, but index the directories with DT Pro and often utilize Yep to sort through things. That’s all as it should be, programs inter-operating and augmenting one another. I like physical directories, sub-directories, symbolic links AND tagging. How I want to utilize, view or sort my data, depends on what I’m doing.
I just really wish DT Pro 2.0 would crawl to the finish line, pass go, and enter 2008, before 2010 gets here.
Eugene…guess what, there ARE multiple databases in Together. In that app, they are called Libraries. You don’t manage them from the File menu, but from the Together menu.
Re knowing the data is safe and secure, I actually feel better about my data in Together than I do in DT. In DT, it’s stored in their proprietary format. In Together, it’s just a file in a folder. I don’t need to ‘backup and optimize’ my database in Together like I do in DT. There is no ‘Repair’ menu item. Think about that. Why would one need to ‘repair’ their data? Because it can become broken, that’s why. Ain’t no repairing to be done in Together.
I’m NOT trying to assert that one is better than the other. But they ARE very different and the one that works best for you will be dependent upon your workflow requirements. If you make heavy use of the AI and data mining, then DT is incomparable. Truly. I was very intrigued by that functionality when I first implemented DT, but I find I rarely use it. Honestly, I just want somewhere to stash all that “I like this and may want to refer back to it someday” pieces of information.
Or, it can be as simple as this: every time I travel I book everything online. So I will typically have an online receipt for airfare, one for a hotel, another for a rental car. I also use Mail with Act On and MailTags (two awesome programs that totally turn Mail into a powerhouse) and I do stash the emailed receipts into my Archive folder with the right mailtags keyword and then use a smart folder to find them, but I experimented with printing them via PDF into Together and then using a smart group based on the name of the city I’m traveling to just to put them in one place, easily found. Took about a minute to get them in there and set up the smart group and now the trip is organized. I also drag in the address book contacts of any people related to the trip, along with any documents or websites I need for reference (tagging those entries with the same city name). Now EVERYTHING I need for that trip is, well, Together in one place. It just feels like the way I want to work.
Could I do that in DT Pro? Somewhat. I couldn’t put a contact in a group, I could put the other stuff but there is no tagging, I’d have to use comments, and the smart folder functionality, well, don’t get me started. I tried it and it took about 5 times as long, didn’t get me to the same place, and was just generally a pain to do.
I, too, am trying to whittle down the apps I use. I’m demoing OmniFocus now and there are things I like about it and things I don’t. I love Journler, but how do I want to use it?
Right now, Together is just working better for me than DT Pro. Now, might version 2 change that? Well shoot, I’ve been hoping that’s the case for a LONG time now, but I am not happy with the pace of development of this application and telling me to be patient because it’s really happening based on work on some other application is not pacifying me. DT should have an updated UI by now, it should have smart folder functionality by now, it should leverage basic OS X technologies, and it just doesn’t.
The odds that I’m moving on are getting better by the day.