DEVONagent v2.0

DEVONtechnologies, LLC announces version 2.0 of DEVONagent, its intelligent Internet research assistant. It will be available immediately as a public beta version, the final release will be published at the end of Q1/2006.

Version 2.0 of DEVONagent makes searching the Internet easier than ever with a completely overhauled user interface, an innovative topics visualizer and hundreds of new features and detail enhancements. “We have made DEVONagent easier to use yet more powerful”, says Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann, President of DEVONtechnologies. “It’s the most powerful tool on the Mac to search the Internet and extract exactly the information the user is looking for.”

Many parts of the user interface have been redesigned to be easier to use, from the search set editor to the archive, and are now more logically integrated into the complete search workflow. The installation of add-on scripts has been simplified as well, all additional items are installed automatically if needed. A new contextual menu extension inserts a “Search with DEVONagent” item into other applications’ contextual menus. A Dashboard widget gives access to DEVONagent from any application simply by activating the Dashboard. The documentation has been completely rewritten, and the new icon reflects DEVONtechnologies’ new corporate iconology.

The most visible change though is the brand-new AI-based visualizer. Based on topics extracted from the pool of found information, the visualizer dynamically creates a graphic map around a selected topic word. For each topic the user selects, DEVONagent generates a new map with related topics. The size and color of the displayed nodes show the degree of relation, and for selected nodes connection lines make the strongest relations visible. As the visualizer is part of the digest, the digest dynamically focuses on the topic the user selects either in the topics list or in the map, double-clicking a node brings it into focus and recalculates the map. “The visualizer allows our users to navigate through the pool of found information intuitively instead of scanning through hundreds or thousand of lines of text manually,” says Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann.

The core search functionality of DEVONagent has been massively enhanced. Version 2.0 comes with 135 hierarchically organized search plug-ins that connect it to common and rarely used search engines. Search plug-ins cannot only be used for designing search sets, but are now also separately accessible from the search window. In addition, the user can assign a keyword to each plug-in and use it for a quick search from the address bar of the built-in web browser. This effectively replaces the search toolbar item approach, like Safari’s Google search field, with a much more flexible concept.

Fourteen scanner plug-ins post-filter found web pages by formal criteria such as linked images, office documents, thumbnail galleries or desktop pictures. Language filters for eleven languages and five non-latin writing systems filter web pages that do not match a selected language, and secondary queries can be used to fine-tune search results if the number of pages returned by a search run is too large.

The built-in Safari-based Web browser now features the long-requested tabbed browsing, optionally clears all caches and history files after quitting for privacy, and supports Mac OS X’s spell checker and completion. JavaScripts that try to zoom the window to full screen can be blocked, and the improved download manager is now able to start and stop the queue at any time, and is more compatible with certain forwarders.

Finally, DEVONagent 2.0 comes with greatly enhanced automation features and an expanded AppleScript dictionary. Scheduler and actions have been separated, and actions can now be attached to every search set, not only to scheduled sets. Actions can be executed after each search run and include: bouncing of the Dock icon, zooming and bringing the search window to the front, archiving the results or adding them to DEVONthink, playing a sound, speaking a text, sending a digest by e-mail to a given address or executing an AppleScript script. Automator actions let even non-experienced users create simple workflows.

Eric Boehnisch-Volkmann: “All these new features, from the visualizer, the more than 130 new plug-ins, the language filters and the improvements to the built-in web browser to the new, flexible automation options including actions, AppleScript, Automator and the scheduler, make DEVONagent a real information agent. It collects exactly the information the user is looking for and provides a large number of flexible options to process them in any way necessary. That’s why we originally named it ‘agent’.”

DEVONagent 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger.” A fast Internet connection is strongly recommended. DEVONagent 2.0 is immediately available as a public beta from www.devon-technologies.com, the final version will be released in Q1/2006. It must be purchased for US$49,95 after the evaluation period, registered users are entitled to upgrade for US$ 19,95. DEVONagent is also available together with DEVONthink Professional as the “Infoworker’s Pro Bundle” for US$110.

DEVONtechnologies is showcasing DEVONagent 2.0 from January 10th to 14th at Macworld Expo San Francisco, booth #436.

[tags]devonagent,eric boehnisch-volkmann,devontechnologies,macworld expo[/tags]

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