DevonThink - avoiding lock-in while taking advantage of organizational ease

How do people manage the interplay between DT / DTTG and the file system? I’ve been tempted since DT 3 appeared to move some small projects in there, and will be importing files in order to have access in DTTG…but my concerns are that organizational changes in DT aren’t synced back to the file system so I end up with two slightly different versions, and that a crash in DT could lead me to losing data. At the moment I’ve been tagging files in the Finder Added to DT when they go in and stuff that I add directly to DT as DT Only within DT but it’s a bit cumbersome and the numbers don’t add up so I’ve clearly missed a few.

What are some of the reasons you choose to do either of those options?

This is an issue for me as well and it has led to me giving up DevonThink, at least for a little while.

The files I move in exclusively on the Mac & they predate the project.

The items added directly to DT are mostly on iOS, b/c of the ease of capture. But I feel like I should also be exporting all of them back to the file system on the Mac for safe keeping.

Can’t you have DT3 manage the files and mirror the changes?

Wouldn’t this require having DT3 index instead of importing the documents? And then they wouldn’t be available in DTTG, correct?

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Is there really lock-in? The files are not really stored in a proprietary database but it is made to look that way. The files are actually on the hard drive and can be opened without DT but it is advisable to open them from inside DT to keep the syncing in order.

I initially felt the same way until I saw they were just files on the drive that can be backed up and restored like other files.


This is it, and getting them out of the program is just dragging and dropping them out for the lazy man export.

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Has that happened to anyone? I don’t know.

Having a good and regular backup might be a good idea.


If the files are in iCloud, Dropbox or similar, indexing makes them available on IOS in DTTG.
Also, in DT3, changes made in DT are reflected in the Finder (they weren’t in DT2). That’s a mixed blessing, of course


Wait, how is that supposed to work with iOS sandboxing vs. iCloud and Dropbox being a folder being available via relational paths on macOS?

I’m thinking I’m gonna hold off on any serious investment in DT until the Take Control book launches and DT 3 is final - between outdated forum posts and changes in behavior from one beta to the next, it looks like a potential time suck… Also don’t want to end up like this guy

Your fear of changes to Betas of Ver 3 is unfounded. I’ve been using with no notice of big changes since Beta1.

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And if you’re in no rush they (like many devs) may have deals on Black Friday (just 87 days away!),

Simple, I use DT and import files that are small or that I want in DTTG directly. I often will leave a copy on my Mac as well if I deem it appropriate. Finder files are for larger or longer documents or those I don’t need in iOS.

I am still on DT2. This may change when DT3 is final.

The files are already saved because DT doesn’t really change the files just places them in a bundle.

If you will continue to work with them in DTTG then I’d just leave them where they are.