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DevonThink 3 versus Tinderbox versus VooDooPad

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Posted by Jeffery Smith
Nov 23, 2019 at 04:54 PM


I am faced, once again, with a project building a database that assigns faculty to classes, sets up payment rules for those classes, and then runs a routine merging faculty with classes and tell HR what to pay the faculty.

The good news is that the database is commercial and already in use at the college. My challenge is that I have to get familiar with myriad forms (screens) and their elements, and how those element interact with elements on other screens.


I started using VooDooPad briefly, but it seems just too Spartan. And it isn’t really maintained like it has a bright future.

That leaves DevonThink 3 or Tinderbox. Learning Tinderbox is a chore in itself to learn, and I don’t know it much past the VooDooPad level.

So, would any of you who are familiar with the apps listed feel comfortable starting using DevonThink? The good news is that DevonThink and Tinderbox seem to like one another’s data, and can interact to some degree.


Posted by Hugh
Nov 23, 2019 at 05:30 PM


For what it’s worth: I’m not confident that any of the three suggested applications will really be ideal for what you need. VoodoPad is essentially a wiki, and also, as I think you imply, perhaps less persistently developed that when it was in the care of its original developer. There are many opinions about what Tinderbox is best for, but here’s mine: identifying “emergent” structure. As that description suggests, it’s much more about exploring data for its meaning, usually data expressed in words, than manipulating it for other purposes. DevonThink, though it can be used for multiple purposes, is essentially a document manager on steroids. What I think you may need is a database manager - but I have much less experience of those. I assume that you’re using a Mac: Tap Forms comes to mind, but I don’t know whether it will do what you require.


Posted by Jeffery Smith
Nov 23, 2019 at 06:29 PM


I do have Filemaker Pro, and that might be good if I have a means of multiple fields to act as tags.


Posted by Paul Korm
Nov 23, 2019 at 07:04 PM


So, your project is to create a set of how-to notes for your own use?

I wouldn’t use DEVONthink—it’s hard to use for cases where you want to work with an array visual information (like screens) side-by-side.  I wouldn’t use VooDooPad because the owner appears to have abandoned it the most part.

I would prefer Curio over Tinderbox for creating documentation.  Mainly because Curio works better with screen shots and graphics.  The latest version of Curio (13) also includes a “references” feature that helps link together related elements in the workspace—as you would probably do by making notes that explain forms and elements on a screen shot.  (I’m guessing.)  Curio scales a lot better than Tinderbox if you need to work with a lot of images.  Images imported into Tinderbox can easily bring it to its knees.

Or maybe consider Notion.

Jeffrey Smith wrote
>My challenge is that I have to get familiar with myriad forms (screens) and their elements,
>and how those element interact with elements on other screens.


Posted by J J Weimer
Nov 23, 2019 at 09:43 PM


I am a bit confused about which parts YOU do versus which parts the software app is to do.

* Do YOU manually assign the faculty to the classes, or should the software do this (through some optimization routines)?

* Do YOU manually set up the payment rules for the classes in advance, or is the software supposed to do this somehow?

* What is meant by “runs a routine merging faculty with classes” ...?

I have to think that what you want is this ...

(Database of Faculty)
(Database of Classes)
(Database of Payment Rules for Classes)
(Database of Faculty Assignments for Semester)
—> payments required per faculty

I have to imagine that a spreadsheet app could do the job using internal cell functions and reference calls.

Alternatively, I have to think that the datatool package in LaTeX might do what you need (and give you a nicely-formatted PDF report to submit with no greater effort).

The FileMaker Pro app should be able to tear this up with no problem.

Little that I know about it, someone is bound to say that you should use an SQL variant database tool.

Is this where you are going with what you need?


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