windows->mac for DT et al - lots of wonky questions ...

I switched to Windows from iMac a few years ago for zoot, and then a currently pretty excellent combo of Contentsaver, dtSearch, Activewords, and Anagram/Outlook/Plaxo sync, with BeInSync accomplishing my work/home sync needs very well. Highly recommended for those stuck with XP.

(If you’ve pegged me as someone that perhaps spends a bit more time tweaking his work tools and “time-saving devices” than time actually saved, you would be correct.)

In any case, I’ve got mac fever again … specifically for Tiger, DT Pro and DevonAgent, with quicksilver also being a big draw. Lord knows why I would invest the time to switch OSes and work tools, but I’d love to at least give it a shot.

I have a 400mb local library of medical html and pdfs, and use dtSearch to index these but also spider a number of websites that I don’t keep local copies of … dtSearch queries both my local library and the spidered websites with some dynomite search technology, but doesn’t have the AI stuff happening that DT does.

So - a few questions before the switch:
–Would the speedier mac mini with 512mb memory upgrade cut it, at least for dipping my (400mb) toes in the water? Other discussions on this forum have left me unclear on the resource/memory issue.

–It seems that DT 2.0 (Pro) will be more what I’m looking for, with it’s handling of files and indexing - any timetable on this? Especially with a mini, it seems better to index but not import my library …

–How well does Agent work at spidering large websites to use in custom searches, and is accessing password-protected material pretty robust? Specifically, my university library allows me offcampus access to excellent search tools via a Proxy bookmarklet that adds an “offcampus” prefix to the desired url, then routes me through a login page. Would this be negotiable via Agent?

–Will the enterprise technology ever enable my dream app, which is to have my personal DT library and Agent-style custom searches hosted centrally, with search from any browser, not just by me but also my colleagues?

–Any other switchers on this forum care to fuel my insanity?

Thanks for any thoughts,


Lots of issues. :slight_smile: I think you will be well pleased with DEVONthink and DEVONagent.

First, DEVONthink can manage your existing 400 MB of HTML and PDF files, with breathing room for expansion. When importing large batches of files I recommend manual use of the Verify & Repair and Backup & Optimize tools periodically. (Search for “suspenders” on this forum.)

I’m running a database of about 15 million words under a beta of DEVONthink Pro and it has been rock solid for me. I’m also running 5 other databases under DT Pro beta, which contain topics not related to my primary interests. (But DT Pro beta databases cannot run concurrently at this time.)

Second, you asked if a Mac Mini with 512 MB RAM can handle such a database. The answer is yes. Until a few weeks ago, I’ve been running mine on a 500 MHz TiBook with 1 GB RAM. The 1.42 GHz Mac Mini is considerably faster than my 4+ year old TiBook. Now I’ll qualify my answer: I’m now running on a Rev. B iMac with 20" screen, 2 GHz G5 and 2 GB RAM. I’m delighted with the speedup of DEVONthink Pro beta. One final qualification: I run temperature monitoring software on the iMac G5, as a precaution against potential heat stress.

You asked whether passwords can be handled in DEVONagent searches. Yes, one can set up search profiles for individual Web sites and fill in username and password. But some sites don’t like bots or spiders, so the final answer may depend on the particular sites you wish to visit. On the whole I think you will like DEVONagent. It comes with a pretty large group of search sets, which you can modify. Among other strengths, it can be scheduled to repeat a search at specified intervals, and it can be set up to display only new material since the last visit.

Watch this site and the DEVONtechnologies site for news of a public beta of DEVONthink 1.9 Pro. In the meantime, you may want to get your feet wet with DT PE 1.9.3. The database is easily transferrable to Pro.

As to memory, I find that Tiger seems to handle memory requirements better than Panther. While I often had 5 swap files using up to 1 GB space for virtual memory on the TiBook under Panther, I’ve only exceeded 1 64 MB swap file on one occasion (a second 64 MB swap file) on the iMac G5 under Tiger. True, I’ve got a GB more RAM on the iMac, but the “used” memory is typically smaller on the iMac than on the TiBook.

When will version 2 be released? I can’t give a date, but it’s under development. It will revise the database structure to improve memory resource use, and will also result in even faster search speeds. Also, it will open database document contents to Spotlight searches, which is not possible with the current database structure.

There will be an enterprise version down the road. Will it be your dream system? Too early to say.


I’m in the process of “switching” to Mac. Not actually doing a full switch, but augmenting my 5 Wintels with a Mac…

This is almost my exact reason. I read a review of DT that made me buy a Mac just to try DevonThink. I just started using it and can’t yet say if it was worth it, but it seems like it so far. Tiger is really cool. FireFox with Bookmark Synchronizer works. It has been a great learning experience and Apple really is more intuative than MS. You won’t regret it.

DT Standard does not have all the features that drew me in, but I’ll wait patiently for Pro (unless Bill wants to send me a beta!)

I got a used G4 450Mhz w/ 512MB running Tiger and it runs OK. A little slow, but I couldn’t justify spending more than a couple hundred dollars to run a $40 program!

Good Luck,