Are Devonthink watch folders not working in the current public release?

Just checking in ahead of our Devonthink Meetup. Are Devonthink watch folders not working?

Files/Watch Folders/ Group from Devonthink… and here is what I get

Am I doing something wrong? Anyone using them?


They are not; they shall return.


Hi, I am very much interested in TB. being a complete TB newbie, my main interest at this point is to use TB as a graphical frontend to my DevonTHINK data (and very likely much more over time once I have embarked on the beautiful productivity ride TB promises to be…;-)…). With that as a background: Is there a time line when the DevonTHINK watch feature will work again? or are the workarounds one could use? Thanks!

In the current release of Tinderbox, the Watch > Group from DEVONthink feature is “working”, but has tics. Mainly, if you watch DEVONthink documents that contain [[wikilinks]] then the watching feature might have unexpected results. For example, if you add a [[link to something]] in a text file in DEVONthink, but do not click that link in DEVONthink to cause DEVONthink to create the linked-to file, then in the Tinderbox watched folder you will get a new note named link to something but the name will be crossed out like this: link to something, until the referenced file is created in DEVONthink in the same DEVONthink group that you are watching in Tinderbox.

Also, the Ziplink feature in Tinderbox accepts characters in the command string that DEVONthink does not use in its corresponding wikilinks features. (Don’t ask why these basically similar features have different names; it’s a mystery.) The upshot of having document names in DEVONthink that use the same characters that can be used in Tinderbox Ziplinks as commands is that oddly named documents can appear in Tinderbox, then get struck out or deleted.

My advice for best results: use Watch Folder from DEVONthink only for DEVONthink groups that contain documents that have no special characters in their names, or have wikilinks in the body of the text that contain special characters and/or point to documents that exist somewhere else in DEVONthink or have not been created yet. (Special characters mean anything other than 0-9 or A-Z or a-z.)

Finally, the feature is read-only. It’s better that it’s not two-way.

I don’t fault Tinderbox for not dealing with syntaxes and features that are opererable only within DEVONthink. It’s up to the users to ensure their data are compatible, not something we should expect developers to do by reading our minds.


very interesting - thank you so much for your feedback! will experiment a little within the parameters you have kindly stated!

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thanks again for your feedback, however unless I am missing something the issues with the “watch devonthink group” feature go deeper:

based on your comments I have disabled wikilinks in devonthink, which slightly improved the issue, however any outgoing link of a devonthink markdown note (to a web address, not to other devonthink items via item links, which unfortunately are being ignored) results in not just one but multiple (10+) links to the same crossed out empty note, pretty much in line with the screenshot from the OP…

not sure what the intended behaviour is but in the current state the feature seems broken, at least for my use case. will check in again in a while to see if it has been fixed in a future release. in any case thanks for your support!

Yes, you’re right. Sorry, my explanation was incomplete. And the watch-DEVONthink feature is more hobbled than useful.

FWIW, I made a suggestion to Eastgate that Tinderbox should not attempt to create new notes in Tinderbox based on links that it finds in both watched files, or in text files (containing links) that are dragged into Tinderbox. No idea if that will ever happen, of course.


fair enough…just a pity as DT is such an outstanding solution as a document management and / or digital process platform app, yet it is missing a graphical frontend capability. I had hoped TB could become that front end for specific use cases (and much more over time)…well, maybe at a later date…:slight_smile:

I think this is an issue, now identified, that is best reported—by the OP, as they can best describe the problem as experienced—to tech support ( as there are no user-based ameliorations we can suggest. (beyond the helpful but unsuccessful suggestions already offered).

Whilst it appears that Tinderbox misunderstand’s DEVONthink’s Markdown URL mark-up (assuming the latter is canonical and not a custom Markdown flavour). However, we don’t know whether Tinderbox is reading/being sent the code the user sees in DEVONthink. So, potentially Apples and Pears. But I’m sure a well explained summary of the problem will be useful to the developer in trying to figure out why breakage is occurring.

I suspect factor here is the vagueness about what square brackets due, and how their presence in a text stream is getting overloaded. We’ve intentional and implicit wikilinks, Markdown (in contrasting partly-interoperable flavours), single bracket pairs [], double bracket pairs []], and all sort of differing sub-groups of users with different intuition about how/what should occur—based on differing experience and the desired task at hand. No one is wrong, either, but pity the poor parsers. It’s a lot of process traffic going through a complex and poorly sign-posted junction; as on the roads, traffic disruption can occur.

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I’m on the case. I think Paul Walters’s point is sound; in trying to expand zip links in watched folders, Tinderbox opens up a can of worms.

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Trying this again, I’m not sure what the case is. Here is a screenshot of a markdown note in DEVONthink

Of the four links in that note, when the note is watched in Tinderbox:

  1. The first link is merely imported as plain text with no active link – that result is unexpected, since it’s a valid markdown link using an URL scheme registered on the local machine
  2. The second one (which indicates the behind-the-scenes linking feature supported within DEVONthink) just shows up in Tinderbox as plain text – that result is expected because DEVONthink is not offering up a link to any external app
  3. Link three does nothing in Tinderbox – again, it’s a valid markdown web link
  4. Link four is the culprit for unexpected new notes being created in Tinderbox – this is also the case I believe @eastgate is referring to in their reply, above.

I don’t think the issue needs shoved offline. There are numerous DEVONthink users here who have their own cases, and moving the discussion offline shortchanges possible other issues.


I agree that it would be nice if Tinderbox made web links of type 1 and type 3. (You can force these by typing a space after the URL and then deleting the space, but that’s a workaround.)

I agree that links of type 4 in DEVONthink watch folders are handled incorrectly and that a fix is urgent