I have written extensively on the merits of DEVONthink and how I viewed the product more as a Knowledge Manager than an Information Manager. DEVONthink is a unique and powerful product that only works in the Apple environment. To find a product that can substitute for what DEVONthik can do cross platform is very difficult but it can be done to a degree. For those who work in the Apple environment solely, I can’t recommend DEVONthink highly enough as the most powerful Notetaker/Database system.
DEVONthink can be thought of as a knowledge manager in that the way it can capture any item can be linked and grouped to other items. This unique wiki style that is part of DEVONthink allows for the robust management of information. In that, knowledge becomes possible as these connections and groupings can lead to that aha moment. Thus, knowledge.
So, yes DEVONthink is an extremely adept information manager but add to this its ability to generate knowledge makes it both an information manager and a knowledge manager.
What about Android
Unfortunately, the mobile app for DEVONthink called DEVONthink to go is not available for Android. For this environment the following represents a group of cross platform products that not having exactly the same functionality as DEVONthink can be thought of as extremely powerful Notetakers in their own right.
Notion the new Kid on the Block
Notion is a new app that is fully cross platform. It is a very powerful notetaker and database system that mixes a free form architecture with a structured architecture. As such, Notion is an amazing app that for many is challenging to wrap their minds around.
One of the problems with Notion is it is not structured enough. Thus, it is you the user who has to provide the structure and since it is so amazingly free form you can get lost. However, it does hold a plethora of data types making it extremely powerful.
Notion can just be a page with some written information on it to:
- a page within a page linked
- a database in a page
- an outliner
- a task manager
- contain any array of images
- and much more
If you look at Notion carefully enough you can see that it is segmented into blocks and these blocks can take on a multitude of forms. Thus, your page can have many aspects to it.
This system is well worth keeping your eyes on. Know that if you try it you may at first feel lost but then it will come to you. Don’t be afraid to throw your own design onto it.
Nimbus Notes is also a very powerful Note taking system that is fully cross platform. You can have as many databases in Nimbus as you want. It is hierarchly structured with folders and folders can be contained in folders making a logical nesting array.
Nimbus Note to some degree reminds me of DEVONthink. Though it at first appears far more structured than Notion, it too has a free form capability. Looking at Nimbus carefully, it too uses the block structure allowing you to have different elements throughout the system.
Nimbus too can have a variety of elements on a page such as images, wiki’s, outlining etc. It is easy to approach but has lots of room for growth.
Evernote the Granddaddy of Notetakers
Evernote is used by many and is also cross platform. It too can contain any variety of elements and makes for a tremendous storage system. It is not nearly as nicely or as logically structured as Nimbus Notes but many are used to the system.
Since it can contain any variety of Information it is an excellent Information Management system well suited to store everything. One would not consider this a knowledge manager per se as it isn’t as easy to relate elements to elements but few systems are so widely geared to hold everything.
If you want to do a paperless office, you can certainly do it with DEVONthink but Evernote is an excellent tool for this also.
There are other note taking systems that are very powerful in their own right such as Microsoft’s OneNote and Zoho Notes but the first three notes systems would make a better replacement for DEVONthink in a cross platform world.
I’ve heard that some people will come to the Apple environment exclusively for the use of DEVONthink as it makes a great friend of the researcher, Professor and even student. DEVONthink has some very unique capabilities and to be able to replicate it in the cross systems environment is very beneficial.
Possibly to do what DEVONthink does as one program might take a bit from a couple of the cross systems solutions. That is, using a combination of Nimbus Notes with Notion might produce more desirable results. The one thing I would not want to suggest is to create complexity for no reason. Thus, possibly using something like Notion effectively might produce better results as it would be simpler dealing with just the one solution.