Are there any cheap DEVONthink alternatives?
July 6, 2006 8:34 PM   Subscribe

What's a good free, or at least cheaper alternative to DEVONthink?

I've been looking for a way to manage all my digital deitrus, preferably in one simple program. DEVONthink looks interesting, but as a poor college student, $39.95 seems a bit much, even with the student discount. I've tried a few similar applications: Journler, Mori, and Yojimbo, but they don't quite have DEVONthink's functionality.

I'd just like something that allows me to take down notes, keep lists (project next actions, music to check out, etc.), keep project files and resources together (such as images for a web site design), and allow me to search and tag. Most other programs only let me stick things into elaborate RTF documents, which doesn't really work. I just want a program to organize my data for me, the same way iTunes organizes my music, and iPhoto organizes my pictures.
posted by SansPoint to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried stickybrain? VooDooPad?
posted by justgary at 8:43 PM on July 6, 2006

Wait, I don't think those programs do what you want, if it's the AI part of devonthink you're wanting.
posted by justgary at 8:45 PM on July 6, 2006

It's a service and not an application, but Backpack from 37signals supports tagged pages, although I don't know if the free version does.
posted by datacenter refugee at 9:11 PM on July 6, 2006

I don't know anything else that does all that, especially for less than $40. If such a beast existed, I think it'd be pretty well known.

However, for notes (but not images), there's the free Notational Velocity, which is excellent. That said, DEVONThink is a steal at 10 times the price.
posted by dobbs at 9:31 PM on July 6, 2006

What specific DEVONthink functionality do you need that you aren't seeing in these other applications?

I have to say that this is a long shot. There are a lot of "organize lots of little bits of data" apps for the Mac; Yojimbo is pretty much at the top of the pack, and DEVONthink is head and shoulders above Yojimbo because of the AI stuff. The only app I've seen that's similar to DEVONthink is Tinderbox, and it's both way more expensive and way less intuitive. I'm not a DEVONthink user, but for 40 bucks it seems like a fantastic deal, especially if its functionality is as personally useful to you as it seems to be.
posted by jjg at 9:33 PM on July 6, 2006

Is there anything liek devonthink for windows?
posted by bigmusic at 10:00 PM on July 6, 2006

I don't know anything else that does all that, especially for less than $40.

I agree with dobbs. You get what you pay for, and if you need the power I'd save up and get devonthink. That said, it's way too powerful for what I do. If you're not talking about a huge amount of info, you don't really need it.

Stickybrain basically does devonthink without the AI. Mori is great, but really is for text files.

Yojimbo is pretty much at the top of the pack

And I'll disagree with jjg. I like yojimbo. It feels light weight. But there are other more mature programs that have been doing what it does and more for years. At 40 bucks you'd expect at least to get smart folders. Comparing value for your money, yojimbo doesn't come close.

But it's put out by barebones, so they've got one leg up on the competition.
posted by justgary at 10:55 PM on July 6, 2006

DevonThink *is* a steal: Yojimbo is both lightweight and costs more.
posted by bonaldi at 5:23 AM on July 7, 2006

DevonThink's search feature and AI is not duplicated in other products. I hated paying for stuff when I was a poor student. Now that I'm a faculty member with roughly the exact same disposable income, it still hurts, but now I realize that saving lots and lots of time is worth paying for.
posted by craniac at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2006

Yes, DevonThink is worth the price, and then some. I haven't found anything, free or cheap, that comes close. It's $40 you won't mind spending if you need the program.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:15 AM on July 7, 2006


Ask someone for it for your birthday, Christmas, whatever. Ask for it early. $40 is well within the range for such a gift, especially if it'll be useful to you in your studies.

Find 4 other people who also want to buy it and go in with them on it to get the volume discount. (Not sure whether this applies WITH the education discount, though.)
posted by kindall at 11:44 AM on July 7, 2006

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