Is there a Document Management System, beside DT/DTTG?

Does anyone knows of a, reliable working, Document Management System beside Devonthink for macOS and iOS/iPadOS?
From my observations, the number of problems are rising with Devonthink, and if there is an alternative out there, it might be worth to give it a shot…?

I’ve never thought it was a good idea to share my massive “everything bucket” app on my iPhone. Too many documents that I’ll never need and too many private documents that I prefer to keep on my Mac.

So I use the EagleFiler app on my Mac as my “everything bucket.” I keep Daily Notes and a selection of other notes in the NotePlan app which I use mainly on my Mac, but which is also available on my iPhone. The syncing of NotePlan data between my Mac and my iPhone works great.

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It really depends on your needs.
I would suggest looking at AlternativeTo, and filtering by your criteria such as paid, free, mac, ios, etc.
https://alternativeto.net/software/devonthink/

EagleFiler is similar, but I don’t think it supports saving links to files where they are on the disk (what DT calls indexing). That is, I think it moves them to its own storage folder, which doesn’t work for me. This thread on their forum seems to confirm this. (Happy to be corrected on this.)

For the note taking aspects, there are a thousand possibilities. Joplin is one, it is well supported, and cross-platform including iOS. It’s free, so you’ll probably never hear it mentioned on the podcast.

DT has AABBYY Fine Reader built in. Alternatives here. With improvements in AI, something like Tesseract might be useful. Some GUIs for Tesseract.

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You are correct. Each EagleFiler “library” is created in its own folder (and subfolders). But you can have many libraries.

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What sort of problems?

There was one major issue I am aware of where synced data got lost after a software update to DTTG; a fix was rapidly issued which not only addressed the issue going forward but also allowed the majority of affected users to recover their data.

What other “problem” has arisen?

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I frequently create a EF library then move, not copy, an entire directory containing existing files and folders into EF which will then index, and if I choose, de-duplicate the directory.

If I ever want to stop using EF, I just drag the original directory to out of the library to a new location. No export is needed since the original files and folder structure is maintained.

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This is one of the things I like about EagleFiler. Unlike DT it doesn’t seem to be phased by changes at file level.

I needed to access a EagleFiler ‘managed’ file on my phone today. Because I keep my EF library on iCloud I simply pulled up Files, did a search and found the file I needed. That’s obviously different to having something like DTTG, but I was never enamoured by the look or functionality of it.

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Just a few examples:
Frequently messages, that the Manifest of the Database is not available/damaged, while syncing.
The search of DTTG is often completely worthless, there are regular issues in syncing PDFs, I add for example a (drawn) signature on the iPad, back to the Mac.
I have significant issues in adding or deleting pages toward an PDF within DT3, I have recent issues with the Batesnumbering, there is no way to group your intelligent rules to get a better overlook, there is no working way, to sort Documents into Groups by there Tags, without creating a rule for that, beside it is possible to do so with intelligent Groups.
The Mail-Import is not reliable, importing the same Mail-Account (into different Databases!) could end up with high differences in the number of imported Mails.
If you delete a page, it could happen that the file size increase, instead of decrease.
Above of all that, DT3 is frequently showing me the beachball for minutes, for Example almost every time I want to start a search or Drag-and-Drop something and similar.
And the so called “AI” is not working at all for me!

Just to name a few problems I encountered during the last months.
And I use currently only a fraction of the possibilities Devonthink is offering.
So while I need a working DMS for my high number of PDF´s and other documents to handle within my “Paperless/-free” Office, I started to get annoyed to run frequently into problems with Devonthink, specially at moments, I have no time to solve them, or work around of them.

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With all those problems, I don’t see how you get anything done with it. :slightly_smiling_face:

I gave up on DEVONthink after using v2 for quite a while. Whenever some other program would crash or freeze, forcing a restart, I got tired of all my open DT databases being reported as “not properly closed or already open somewhere else” (or similar wording, I forget).

I’ve always been curious if that still happens on v3? I know this is how many database management systems work, but DT is more of a file manager. Why can’t DT clean up its database cache during idle moments? Seems like the design could be stronger.

Yes, by index, I was using the DT vernacular where you add a folder somewhere on your drives, and it stores what are essentially aliases in its database. The files are accessible within DT - seem to be “in” DT, but are stored wherever the live.
This was really important for me when writing code that depended on full paths to files.
Curio can do this, but very few others seem to have this capability.

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Yes, this still happens when DT3 crashes.

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If you open a Database with DT3, there is a value inside this database that would be changed from „0“ to „1“.
This should ensure, that not two people are working with the same database at the same time, without a notification about that.
If you close a Database regularly, the „1“ is changed back into a „0“.
If DT3 terminates suddenly, due to a crash of the App or the System, the „1“ could not be changed again, and that results into the warning, if you restart the Database.

I understand how an open/close flag like that works. But that is only the most naive of implementations. There are more sophisticated ways to handle the problem. Apple has gone to great lengths to never lose file system information in the event of a crash. And before that, one of BBEdit’s claims to fame was how rock solid their editor was in the face of system crashes while massive files were open. And EagleFiler never does this to me. :slightly_smiling_face:

If you wish to resolve these issues you will get better support on DEVONtechnologies’ forum and support.

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I enjoy EagleFiler but lately I’ve discovered that an EagleFiler library can coexist with Notebooks.app as they both store data in the regular filesystem. Of course both create their sidecar indexes and metadata files but one doesn’t fight the other.

What Notebooks brings to the table is a nice Markdown editor and an iOS app.

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I did that in lengthily, but in most cases, they explain why a problem was not their fault, tell you that the problem you observe did not exist at all, or that “the majority” of the user are fine with that, and don’t want to have it changed!
In case of GoBD conformity, a big issue in Europe for a lot of user, they promise to bring that up “soon” since a couple of years, and if user ask for an update, once a year, there is just a response, that there are no news on that!
I often think, that they became lost in the many many functions, and lost the view onto the important functions for a DMS.
A lot of necessary thinks should then be solved, by referring onto the scripting possibilities.
But to be honest, if I buy a DMS, I don’t want to have to add studying computer science to become a programmer, to write my own parts of their software, to get some general functions running.

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Oh dear. I wish you hadn’t mentioned that app.

Looks impressive!

Notebooks.app coexists happily with Obsidian, too. (And DTP if you index.) I’ve started using Notebooks.app as my Obsidian “client” (especially on iOS) and it’s working well. Using Notebooks.app to work with my notes on an iOS device means that I can store my files on Dropbox rather than iCloud Drive, which I prefer. And while there are things Obsidian and DTP do that Notebooks.app can’t, the latter provides a much cleaner and more pleasant workspace than either of the former.

  • EagleFiler
  • Eagle
  • KeepIt

These are all applications I have tried.

I found EagleFiler a little too ‘Y2K’ for my liking (in style, not substance).

Eagle is one I have recently got into for storing graphical assets but it will store everything. It’s Mac-only though.

KeepIt is on every device and simple, but effective. It also integrates well with the OS and Safari. I use this to store receipts and documents so I always have them on hand, plus I use it to record long-form notes about technical stuff like my web server setup, and to quickly capture and store research on personal history subjects.

KeepIt looks interesting in that as you say it supports iOS and Mac. It also has Applescript and Shortcuts capabilities.

As much as there are advanced features of DT3 which are indispensable to me for major projects on my Mac, I find the lack of background syncing to DTT3 to be a an obstacle to its use on iOS and I am disappointed that Shortcuts works only on DTTG but not on DT3. So there may well be a use for me to for both apps.

Questions -

1 - How well does background sync work in KeepIt, i.e. do you find yourself often waiting for a sync to complete?

2 - Can you get the best of both worlds by indexing the KeepIt iCloud folder in DT3?

3 - Does a KeepIt Shortcut created in the Mac generally work on iOS and vice versa?