C-Command Software Forum

Importing e-mail from DevonThink, fundamental problem

DevonThink stores the timestamp of e-mails under “Date Created”. EagleFiler does so under “Date Modified”. Thus, when you try importing an e-mail from DT to EF, you can no longer tell when that e-mail first arrived in, say, your Mail.app inbox without opening the message and looking at the contents. (When EF displays a timestamp for such a message in list view, it’s actually displaying the time at which DT imported that message.) What’s more, you’re left with non-comparable information between e-mails imported directly into EF and those imported via a DT database.

Can this problem be fixed? I hope so, as one of the stupidest things about DT is that it’s impossible to include “Date Created” as a column view in its search window (i.e. when you search for ranges of messages in DT, you can’t see when they arrived without opening them).

Also, I’ve had problems importing e-mail directly into EF that have .vcf files attached. EF doesn’t seem to be able to important any contents from such a message - it just brings up an error alert; there’s no .vcf attachment to click, in order to open an external viewer.

Otherwise, great app.

The fundamental problem with importing mail from DEVONthink is that it doesn’t store mail as mail. When you import messages into DEVONthink it converts them to RTF files. At this point, you’ve lost the original source of the message, so any program that imports the messages from DEVONthink is going to treat them as RTF files, without mail-specific information such as the received time, attachments, and recipients. In contrast, EagleFiler imports and stores messages in mbox format, which retains the messages exactly as they were received from the mail server.

I could perhaps add a “Date Created” column to EagleFiler, which would help with the timestamps, but this wouldn’t address the fundamental problem.

I’m not aware of such a problem. Please e-mail me an export of such a message so that I can look into this.

Thanks anyway
Yes - agree wholeheartedly. It would be better if DT just treated mail as mail. My problem is that I’ve got a big e-mail database imported into DT that I now can’t search properly. Is there any way that you could tweak the capture from DT so that it recognises an e-mail in RTF form, and thereby restore the “received time” data? I’m sure this would be tricky, but is it feasible? If it’s worthwhile from your perspective then it would sure help me out.

NB: as you suggest, there’s little point in a “date created” column in EF. This would still leave us DT-switchers with the problem of comparing arrival times in the “date created” column with those in the “date modified” column. Unless this would allow for some manual conversion at the EF end, of course.

Here’s a replacement capture script that you can use. Put it in the folder:

~/Library/Application Support/EagleFiler/Capture Scripts/

Then, when you capture from DEVONthink, it will set the modification date to the creation date, so that it will show up where you want in EagleFiler.

Brilliant…
Michael, this is what I call support. Thank you. I’ll be singing EF’s praises from the rooftops (of London).

The script works great for individual files. Unfortunately, it’s producing an error message when I try to import mailboxes / submailboxes. Sorry to pester you, but is there any more you could do to preserve the hierarchy of those? One of the best features of EF as far as I’m concerned is the ability to one-click a mailbox containing dozens of sub-mailboxes and see the whole thing imported as is.

Thanks again.

I’m not sure what error you’re referring to, but the above script will not set the dates for the whole imported hierarchy. This version will.

You should uninstall the above script, since a better version is built into EagleFiler 1.3.