Large-Scale Info Managers and Scriv

Will do.


I actually own a license to EF (and a few of your other apps as well). I’d happily buy another license to the next version as well, simply because I see it evolving in the right direction.



EagleFiler lets you add tags and notes; you can then browse by tag. It offers faster and more flexible searching than Spotlight, and you can see the contents of the files (with the search terms highlighted) when you look through the search results. You can get Web pages and text snippets into the EagleFiler library with a single key press, and once they’re there EagleFiler can verify that they are intact.

More generally, I think a three-pane viewer with single-click access and previewing and editing of files (which many other information managers besides EagleFiler also offer) is a huge win over the Finder. Maybe this style isn’t for you, but for a lot of people it’s not a matter of single-click vs. double-click; it changes the way they work.

What would you like to be different about the tagging system? What was the last version of EagleFiler that you used, and what did you find to be slow about it? Since releasing 1.2, no one’s told me that it was slow, and in fact several people have written to say that they switched to EagleFiler because it was faster than what they had been using. Obviously there’s always room for improvement, so I welcome your thoughts (via e-mail or in the EagleFiler forum if you prefer).

The plist files are actually backups of the data in EagleFiler’s database, and they double as an efficent and open way for other applications or scripts to access EagleFiler’s metadata, even if EagleFiler itself isn’t installed. DEVONthink does something similar. There’s one plist file per folder, and they aren’t very large. This was a highly requested feature, and I had no idea that anyone didn’t like it. Would you be happier if there were a way to make the plist files invisible, or a preference to not generate them?

Hmm…in retrospect, I think my post came across as more negative than I really felt. Let me clarify a little.

First, regarding the tagging system. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. As I mentioned above, I’m just not big into tagging at the data-collection phase. It occupies an intermediate step.

Second, regarding the .plist generation. I wasn’t really certain what they existed FOR, so all I saw were about a hojillion plist files appearing. Now that I know their purpose, that’s actually kind of awesome (I like open standards). My only recommendation would be to figure out a way to keep them from being indexed by Spotlight, and yes, maybe have them hidden by default (prepend a period?).

And speed? Basically importing about 100 pages of PDF’s, for some reason, was faster in DTP than in EagleFiler. like, one second vs. 5-10. Not sure what the cause was, but there it is.

Other than that, there’s no logical reason I’m not using eagle filer – it’s just a visceral, this isn’t QUITE clicking with my brain as I’d like it to… That’s all.


OK, but if I like, I can add notes and tag words to every file in the Spotlight field. Although I admit to do so is not exactly comfortable.

I use a smart folder for more complicated searches, and given the fact that this works with all I have out of the box, I am very happy with it.

OK, this is something I miss: To see the search phrase in context.

Web pages: Cmd-S in Safari creates a web archive. My single keystroke.
Text snippets: You have to mark them in any case. I then just grab the text and drag it onto the desktop. There I have an alias of my archive to drop anything into. Spotlight finds these snippets as well.

I don’t want to talk against EagleFiler or any other application. Needs are different. I tell this only to underline that Mac OS X offers already a lot of helpful functions for the management of informations that should not be neglected just because they’re already there and for free. This enjoys me especially because I am, as I mentioned, a burned child… :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m pretty sure that Spotlight doesn’t index them (or any .plist files). Do you have an extra Spotlight importer installed that’s picking them up? Prepending a dot is problematic for a variety of reasons, but perhaps I can add an option to mark them as invisible in the filesystem.

Hmm, it should be less than a second in EagleFiler. If you run into this again, please let me know and I’ll look into it.

OK, no problem. I can certainly understand that an app is not going to fit everyone’s brain.

Well, it’s at least two in Safari, because you have to click the Save button (and verify that the folder is correct and that the format is set to Web Archive). :slight_smile: I do most of my “clipping” from NetNewsWire, which doesn’t have a Save command, so the EagleFiler capture key is more useful there.

That works, too. I prefer to drag and drop text snippets to EagleFiler, because if I’m dragging text from a Web page it will preserve the fonts and clickable links, and it will remember which URL the snippet came from.

bhpascal, I agree with most of your assessments and they were similar to my own, having tried all of the contenders as well. You are right about dragging plain text items into Scr., but you can drag other types of files (rtf, web archives) directly. I thought this had more to do with the fact that Scr. only reads and works with rtf files and not plain text files, but I could be wrong. I’m no developer and know only what I read on these forums!



That’s indeed an argument. I use the “TextEdit/New Window”-Service if I want to keep formatting and links, which is more complicated, but works as well.

You know, the more I think about this issue, the more I think about one of those OmniFocus screencasts. In it, the developer brings up the idea of “shrink to fit” interfaces.

The argument, if I recall it properly, is that any given program should not bludgeon a user with features. You shouldn’t feel constrained by the app, but you also shouldn’t feel like there are great big portions of it flopping around that you will never use. This is one of the reasons I find Scrivener so freakin’ fantastic. Want to just use it as a full-screen text editor? Awesome. Want a more complicated thing, with cross-references, links, notes, colors, etc? It’ll do all of that. But it does it without filling the interface with all manner of things that serve as constant reminders of how much of the program you’re NOT using.

Most of these info-manager apps are walking a perilously fine line. You want something powerful and flexible, sure. But you also don’t want to replicate the Finder, so you want something that’s more structured and controlled, as well. I had to take a very honest look at my workflow before I realized that many of the features of finder, and, indeed, many of the features that are also present in many of these info-manager apps, don’t have any place in how I work. It’s also why there’s no real right answer to the question of “which one is best?” – different apps fulfill different needs for different people.

For me, this is why I think I’m still so torn between Journler and DevonThink. I don’t really use tagging in the information-collection phase – at this point, search is the most important aspect for me, as well as easy classification and quick access. DevonThink has great speed and classification tools, as well as a fantastic search method and the vaunted Devon AI. Journler has the smartfolders I can use for quickie-searching, without having to spend the time of replicating a whole bunch of files in DevonThink. It also has cooler built-in PDF viewing.

EagleFiler, while a program that I respect more and more as I play with it, is focused on a flow that just isn’t mine. Yojimbo is cool and all, but without smart folders OR nested folders, it just doesn’t fit either.

What I REALLY want is some way to either a) save searches in DevonThink, or b) speed up importing into Journler.

Sigh. I am torn. But honestly, the conversation here is incredibly helpful, since it’s letting me think through what I need, and maybe I’ll eventually come to a conclusion.


Have you tried Smart Groups under the Applescript menu in Devonthink Pro? I think that might do what you’re wanting to.

For saved searches in DT Pro, you might look at “Smart Groups” on the Script menu. (Assuming that you installed scripts with the program, of course.) The scripts give more options than the basic Smart Groups.


I have to disagree. I’ve been dragging mainly RTF and web archive files from DTPro into Scrivener, but I decided to test what you said, intrigued by it.

I’ve taken a plain text file I imported into DTPro. I dragged it from DTPro straight into Scrivener’s Research folder. No problem.

In case it’s relevant, I’m using DTPro 1.3.1, Scrivener 1.03, and OS X 10.4.9.

I could not drag a plain text file created in DT into Scr., while I can with other files. I’m using 10.4.10 and the latest version of DT Pro office, 1.3.1. Same with a text only file created in Word. Could not drag and drop. Not sure what the difference is.

OK. In case the difference lay in the file being created in DT as distinct from being imported into DT, I just now created a plain text file in DTPro and dragged it into Scrivener’s Research folder. No problem.

I’m stunned that the different versions of the software would make such a difference in functionality. I’m hesitant about upgrading to 10.4.10 now.

Is there someone with DTPro 1.3.1, as distinct from DTPro Office, and OS X 10.4.10, who can test drag and drop of plain text files into Scrivener, please?

Are you saying that you can drag an RTF file from DTPO into Scrivener, just not plain text? I can, which is why I’m asking. I didn’t try with plain text, only rtf.

Intel Mac w/ 10.4.10

Yes, I CAN drag an rtf file from Dtpo into Scr. no problem, web archives too, etc., I do it all the time, in fact, but NOT plain text files. Since I never use the latter, it doesn’t really matter and I never really knew I couldn’t until I tried (because of this thread). But I definitely cannot drag and drop plain text files from DT to Scr.

AJ, are you sure you are dragging a plain text file? I can’t account for the difference. I doubt it’s the difference between 10.4.10 and .9. But on the other hand, what do I know about such things? Not a lot!


Yep. It has the text icon as distinct from the RTF icon, and kind = text. My imported text files have the .txt extension.

In case it’s relevant, in DTPro’s Import preferences, encoding for plain text documents is set to Automatic.

So is mine (same settings). Perhaps Keith or someone more knowledgeable can shed more light? It’s not a problem for me personally at all since I rarely use plain text files. And why it won’t drag and drop just these files I’m not sure. Weird.

I put AJ’s excellent workflow for DTP > Scrivener here: … php?t=1915

Please let me know if it needs refining…


I had problems importing plain text files with a date in the filename… in this format 00.00.00 . I removed that part and it worked fine. Don’t know if that’s a know Scrivener bug or not.

Also wondered what the limits of using Scrivener as a database are?
I really like the synopsis/image preview of the files you get in corkboard view and haven’t seen that approach anywhere else. Seems like the perfect place to store and organize stuff. I guess it must slow down after a while? But isn’t Scrivener built on Core Data like all like the other Cocoa info managers. Has anyone run into problems with file size or number of documents. Also love the fact you can just open Scrivener file and drag the images etc out.