Together vs DevonThink 2.0

I just downloaded DevonThink 2.0, and it seem much sleeker than the 1.x version. Nonetheless, for a couple of weeks I have been testing Together by Reivented Software. I like the Shelf, because it allows you to drop a quick note or a file onto any of your folders with one swift motion. And, overall, the app looks very professional and stable. DT 2.0, though with a lot of improvements, still has an ungainly user interface.
My question is for someone who’s been using Together to collect data and has had a chance to test DT 2.0. How would you compare them in terms of usability for fiction writing projects?

I tried both. You are absolutely right: Devonthink’s interface is nothing to write home about, especially compared to Together. However, I actually bought a license for Devonthink last week. The crucial point is the automatic sorting of articles, research results and stuff like that. Depends on what kind of fiction you write this may be rather not important to you.

Together displays a beautiful interface and, in my opinion, some nice features like the shelf and MobileMe synchronization. However, it becomes sluggish, literally crawls and take plenty of CPU and RAM, when your database size increases. I should have gotten an Eaglefiler license instead !!

In addition to the points above, it may be worth underlining the obvious - DT 2.0 is very beta. It lacks a number of key promised features - for instance, proper tagging, and a fully-functioning sorter (which ought to rival Together’s shelf). I’m sure clumsy aspects of its interface - such as extensions in the sidebar - will be ironed out before full release.

In other words - it’s probably too early to make an informed judgement.


Recently I’ve tried all kinds of info management tools, and my conclusion is that I’m best off with DevonNote and DevonThink Pro Office. The 2.0 beta of DN seems OK, but DTPO still has many rough edges, the Sorter being most prominent. I stored 8 items there and they vanished overnight. The final releases will be more stable, no doubt.

I never understand the complaints about the interface. Surely all apps do not have to resemble iTunes. What I like best about DT products is their use of WebKit, so that I can instantly see the full Web pages of any URL I have stored. And the built-in navigation buttons, so you can actually surf around a resource, like Wikipedia. That’s missing from Together, ShoveBox, and NiftyBox.

I tried both as well. In fact, I’ve tried most of the major players in this category. Always come back to DT Pro. It’s the fastest, traditionally the most stable (2.0 is in beta now but I still have had no crashes though others probably have), powerful. There are things I’m not crazy about in DT, but for a program that houses my many gigs of research information, it’s always proven itself the best of the lot.


I have to put in a good word for Together, which I started using because of recommendations on this forum. Faulkner, I don’t know how large your database is. Mine is small (4000 items) but Together is very “snappy” and the developer runs databases in the 25K range without issue. There are a lot of possibilities that could be causing your slowdown. I’d encourage you to visit the Together support forum or email Steve Harris, the developer, who is very responsive to problems.

It’s a very useful piece of software, and whether you want to use it intensively or not, it certainly can–and should–function for you.

As for me, I couldn’t live without it now.

Cycladic, I must agree Steve Harris is responsive to problems. However, Together support forum is bloated with perfomance issues and application crash related topics. It seems that different users have suffered them. I figure the limiting factor might be database size rather than the number of items it contains (mine is 1.21 Gb and 515 items).


Faulkner, my Together library is bigger than yours (hee!)–1.5 GB.

There’s a cause for your performance issues. I’ll leave it at that.

I don’t mean to be stubborn, but Together doesn’t deal nicely (snappy and sluggish are subjective terms, though) with large databases and my case is only an example, many users, with different setups, have experienced that.

On the other hand, I must say that the Finder friendly database format, used by Together or Eaglefiler, seems much nicer that the package format used by Devonthink or, ooops! :blush:, Scrivener, for different purposes:
1.-Save space and time for Time Machine backups.
2.- Tagging with external editor like Punakea.


with the release of DevonThink 2 (ok, it has not been officially released but it is in public beta now) DevonThink has moved to an open, Finder-integrated storage solution as well. The opaque package-style database will soon be a thing of the past. Whether that is a good thing or not we will see.
During my brief test-run the beta of DT2 had some rough edges here and there but felt solid and reliable.



Yes, I’m pretty sure the package in DevonThink 2.0 updates incrementally with Time Machine as does the package in Scrivener.

Thanks guys.
Prion, what might be the disadvantages of the Finder- integrated storage system?
I was about to purchase an Eaglefiler license over Devonthink Pro alternative but I’m not so sure anymore.
Thanks in advance for the advice.

There is no disadvantage of EagleFiler as a »Finder-integrated« solution: You can use EF but you never depend on this software because there is no special data base. For me it’s the greatest thing (>30.000 files).


I agree with reinhard that there is no disadvantage with the EagleFiler system as described here. I have to say that I’ve never used EagleFiler, but I can guess that it stores all its files in a regular folder, or folders.

DevonThink and, as it happens, Scrivener store their files in Packages. You can think of the Package as being a bit of the Finder that is “fenced off”. It is still perfectly accessible if you want to enter, but, if you like, the door is not wide open as with a Folder.

So, the issue of Package versus Folder for storage of files is a minor one in this instance.

The actual files that are stored in this Package or Folder is what matters more and in the case of EagleFiler and DevonThink 2.0 these are as much as possible regular files that you can open with regular applications. This I guess with EagleFiler from the description in this thread.

So, it sounds to me that on this file storage issue there is nothing much that is different in qualitative terms between EagleFiler and DevonThink 2.0.

I use DevonThink Pro because it has a really superb AI search/categorisation capability which the other systems do not have. My current project and related projects are primarily Internet research and so I use DevonThink Pro along with DevonAgent. I think DevonThink is really superb and a glimpse of the future.

However if you feel you don’t need this DevonThink magic ingredient then you would not need the program.

I will mention that the best thing to do with these things is to download them and try them out for the complete month of trial that is normally available.

I just switched from Together to DT 2.0 because it is just so much faster as well as having much better search capabilities as mentioned. I’d often have to wait when switching between documents in TG which I just don’t get in DT. I also took advantage of the offer to get Devon Agent which if you do serious web searches is brilliant.


Aye aye to all of the above. The advantages of having all of your meta-data available in the case of a catastrophic sudden lack of EagleFiler is one of the main advantages. I would say the second main advantage is its extremely thorough verification system. Every single file has its checksum stored (which is a bit like saying every file gets its fingerprint taken, and if that fingerprint changes you know the file changed) and verified against the actual files. Also the library format itself is very robust against power-outages and crashes. When you have many thousands of files, having something that makes sure all of those files stay the way they were when you put them there is pretty important. Given that many files will not be looked at for years at a time, you cannot rely on TimeMachine to fix everything (as eventually you’d have nothing but the corrupted copy backed up), but if you know about a failure right up front, you’ll still get a chance to restore the pristine file over the damaged file. I’d be surprised if DTP doesn’t do this either in some form (though I don’t see anything about it in their marketing), but most of the notebook and collection type applications out there do not. So it is something to watch for.