WikiLinks clashing with Data Detectors

If you have both WikiLinks and Data Detectors set to ‘on’, then any date in the link seems to break the link into separate elements.

For example, I have a document named “CCh 1939/01/07 Skidded and went through a hedge (Summary)”.

When a WikiLink is created to this document, the Data Detector over-rides the link, which then becomes broken down into 3 elements :

  • “CCh”

  • “1939/01/07”

  • “Skidded and went through a hedge (Summary)”

Of course, none of these elements actually exist as documents yet, so if you click on any of them, new documents are created with the default template: not what I want. (NB the underlining continues to cover the entire link, with no break between the elements, so there is no hint that the link has been broken.) The only way I can see to prevent this behaviour is to turn off Data Detectors.

This doesn’t look like it’s the intended design – so if it can’t be fixed, perhaps a warning in the help files?


I suspect that DEVONthink’s code is using an OSX library for data detection and therefore it’s either on or off.

A help file warning is a good idea. Not connecting three links with a single underscore is another behavior you’d think could be programmed away.

A possibility (though it introduces added keystrokes) is to toggle data detection. Any of the items in the Edit > Substitutions menu can have a shortcut assigned in System Preferences > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts. So, assigning a shortcut to “Data Detectors” would at least enable you to use the keyboard to turn off the feature for a moment before you click a link you know you wouldn’t otherwise click.

(What I’m really curious about is who skidded and went through a hedge in 1939? :open_mouth: )

Great now I want to know too. :smiley:

PS: It is a really bad idea to use slashes (forward or backward) in a filename. Indeed, it is best to keep punctuation to: dash, hyphen, and a single dot before the extension (though this last is a bit more application specific).

It was a dark and stormy night in late November, 1938, on the Chester to Birkenhead road. The driver fails to see the rear reflectors (no lights – this is 1938) of two cyclists until too late, brakes, somersaults across the road and skids through a hedge, landing near the Chester - Ellesmere Port canal. He is unscathed… The court, after due consideration of the fact that one of the cyclists had a woollen rug on the the back of his bike which may have obscured his reflector, decided there was no case to answer, but awarded costs against the motorist. After all, as his defence lawyer said: “surely a defendant could not be held responsible for a skid?”

It’s part of research I’m doing into life in Chester in wartime – fascinating stuff. It’s only 75 years ago but in some ways it’s a wholly different world.

Well, you did ask…

As a matter of interest, why the warning about ‘/’ in document names? I wouldn’t use them in filenames, but didn’t realise there was a problem in DTPO itself. I’ll search and replace them easily enough, but am interested to know what the problems could be.

I don’t use the data detectors much so I’ll probably just keep them off, but thanks for the workaround.



Thanks for the story, David. Let us know when you publish your work – it’s a fascinating period.

Thanks! Not sure if I’ll get that far, but the research is fun… :wink:

You have to love any story that begins with “It was a dark and stormy night…

David, your story sounds like a candidate for entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. :slight_smile:

Here’s the first sentence of a novel by Bulwer-Lytton: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

It has been fashionable for a long time to make fun of Bulwer-Lytton’s writing.

Truth be told, there have been many writers whose style is less effective than the old Brit. His first sentence is really evocative of the scene he wished to set. I’ve read that novel. I rank it above some others that received critical acclaim, such as Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza. But both reflect a slow-paced development of the narrative that can drive the reader to distraction. Times change. Bulwer-Lytton was popular in his day.

I jumped the gun a little (but not too much :smiley: ). Many people use “document” and “file” interchangeably. DEVONthink can handle them but I strongly caution against using them in any system that uses Unix paths (POSIX paths) (as DEVONthink does). UNIX uses forward and backward slashes very specifically (and some other characters too).

I would rather err on the side of caution and allow myself some breathing room if I need to (shell) script something. This way I don’t have to worry about reserved characters throwing errors when I do. Also, the punctuation usually adds no real value to the name in the long run. It’s more of a cultural comfort.

Waiting for more story now…


I confess it was a conscious homage to old Ted B-L’s deathless prose… it just seemed appropriate somehow. I love some of the parodies in the fiction contest – I’ll have to check out the 2013 entries.

I’ve never read the original though I agree with you about changing styles and changing popularity. But as I find most Victorian fiction unbearably mawkish (particularly the arch-purveyor of mawk, Mr Dickens[1]), I suspect that B-L’s fiction will remain a missed opportunity for me. Now, Thackeray, on the other hand…

As an aside on changing styles, it’s interesting to some of the changes in language in the newspaper clippings I’m researching. For example, street names are universally in the form “Chester-street”, never in the “Chester Street” form which is the only one I’ve ever used (and I’m in my fifties). Wonder when that changed? And abbreviations invariably have full-stops (much more like the American usage), a practice which we’ve mostly abandoned now, with a few exceptions.

Well, it interests me, anyway.



[1] Something odd is going on with the editor here. I’m typing D i c k e n s and the preview shows ‘thingy’. How strange. Perhaps the programmer doesn’t like schmaltz either?

Jim, thanks for the comments on punctuation in file names – I’ll search and replace to be on the safe side.