Using DEVONthink History to add notes to Tinderbox


(Paul Walters) #1

An odd little tip I happened across. In DEVONthink the Tools > History > [name of database] panel is probably not used by many. Though it is useful for troubleshooting. It maintains the history of database modifications (i.e., documents added) since the database was created.

The tip is: – we can select any number of items in DEVONthink History, copy, and paste them to Tinderbox with the same result as dragging items from a DEVONthink database to Tinderbox. For some, this might be a quick method to move notes into Tinderbox.

Be careful – Tinderbox will create a note and fetch the contents for every item pasted. I you copy hundreds of history entries and paste them, you might not like the result.


(Andreas Grimm) #2

This is a good one, @PaulWalters. Thanks!

Let me take this helpful tip to re-emphasize the need of having some sort of Dates being brought over from Devonthink into Tinderbox; since DueDates and Creation Dates and Modification Dates are all set to the very minute the data was brought over from Devonthink into Tinderbox. Having the original Devonthink Dates, however, would make this whole copy-and-paste thing between Devonthink and Tinderbox even more valuable.

Any chances to see something like this any time soon, @eastgate?


(Paul Walters) #3

I see the point – and I believe the meaning of the data involved is slightly more nuanced. This is TL;DR – but intended to limn the technical situation.

DEVONthink records have four date properties: creation date, addition date, modification date, and opening date – which are, respectively: the date the document was created, the date it was added to the database, the date is was last modified, and the date it was last opened in a tab or window. Generally these are the same “created” and “modified” properties that the file system tracks and Finder, for example, can portray. All of these DEVONthink date proerties, but the last, can be modified by scripts. (Why this is possible has a long and odd history.) There is no “due date” property for DEVONthink records.

When Tinderbox creates a note from a dragged in record from DEVONthink there is no $DueDate, $StartDate or $EndDate data anywhere in DEVONthink that could populate those attributes. Tinderbox has its own $Created and $Modified attributes which are read-only – and relate to that note and not to properties of the source data. They are similar to but different from DEVONthink’s creation date and modification date properties.

So, the suggestion @andreas makes would be constrained by the non-existence of event data (calendar entries or reminders) in DEVONthink 2.x, thus far. It might be better, if feasible, for creation date and modification date from the DEVONthink record to be mapped to some other attributes – perhaps if Tinderbox made something like $SourceCreated and $SourceModified attributes for imports and populated them as @andreas suggested?

I suggest these generic terms to accommodate “fetching” from other sources. BibDesk imports already have their own dates in the References set of system attributes.


(Andreas Grimm) #4

Thanks, @PaulWalters, for rendering my question (sort of feature-request) more precisely. $SourceCreated and $SourceModified are really telling suggestions, indeed.

@eastgate: Is it imaginable to have something like $SourceCreated and $SourceModified implemented?


BTW: @PaulWalters: I am peculiarly able to edit both so called Read-Only Attributes $Created as well as $Modified; which is surprising to me …


(eastgate) #5

We can take a look, certainly.


(Pat Maddox) #6

I think that’s a bug in the latest version that will be fixed in a forthcoming release.

Though personally I would really like to be able to edit those attributes anyway…


(Pat Maddox) #7

I would REALLY like to have this. I’ve got a ton of data in DEVONthink that I want to examine with Tinderbox, and the creation date of the original notes in DT is important metadata for me to look at.


(Paul Walters) #8

@pat and all. I put a new script here that will help you copy the the necessary data on the clipboard in TSV format, and paste it to a Tinderbox file.

The new notes also contain the created and modified dates from the original DEVONthink record which are stored in User attributes $SourceCreated and $SourceModified that are created at the time you paste the data.