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Notebooks as a Ulysses replacement

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Aug 21, 2017 at 01:26 PM


You are right, Hugh, if your primary use of Ulysses is writing longer-form pieces (as does David Hewson). What I’m looking for in a Ulysses replacement are these attributes:

- plain text/markdown editor
- iOS and MacOS clients that sync well
- easy ability to export work into other apps (namely Scrivener)

Even with that modest list, there are not a lot of options. If I added your two key characteristics, then there is no replacement for Ulysses. But I’m determined to avoid being sucked into their subscription model. So compromise is necessary. That work done in Notebooks can be easily imported into (even sync’d with) Scrivener (which also handles the two key characteristics) makes it a viable alternative for me. Still testing it, though.

The reason Scrivener isn’t a replacement straight up is that Scrivener is built around project documents. It’s not really designed to handle both random notes and compositional writing.

Steve Z.

Hugh wrote:
Doesn’t Ulysses have one or two key characteristics which any potential
>replacement ought to match or exceed?
> >There seem to me to be at least two such characteristics. They are: its
>facility to allow “chunks” of text to be quickly and easily re-arranged
>within the whole, and its feature enabling relatively straightforward
>export or “compilation” of the text in a wide variety of styles and
>formats. Those two features make it particularly attractive if you’re
>engaged in writing medium- or long-form work (and these plainly provide
>reasons for novelist David Hewson’s fondness for it).  And it has other
>features which also support this type of writing.
> >Notebooks is of course, as its name suggests, primarily a note-taking
>application (and it’s a very good one). In other words, it’s an
>application primarily designed for writing and managing short-form text.
>Of course, there’s potential for cross-over between Notebooks and
>Ulysses: in the past I’ve certainly read of some users deploying Ulysses
>when Notebooks or its rivals might seem the more obvious tool, and I’m
>sure the opposite is also true. I’m sure that you could write “War and
>Peace” in Notebooks - but you could also do so in countless
>applications. But if you want software that will match Ulysses’
>attributes as closely as possible, it seems to me that Notebooks will
>leave you somewhat disappointed.