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Taking another look at Ulysses

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Posted by MadaboutDana
May 16, 2014 at 08:16 AM


Now that I’m about to become the proud owner of a spanking new MacBook Air, I’ve been taking a long, thoughtful look at the applications I really need, as opposed to the ones which, as an inveterate CRIMPer, I merely toy with.

And Ulysses has caught my eye. I’ve tried to like ConnectedText - but I just can’t do it. Intellectually, I can understand its appeal; as a user, I very quickly get frustrated and annoyed. But Ulysses III 1.2 (to give it its full label) looks like a very attractive alternative, especially now it’s got a full-fat tagging feature. Text-based, Markdown-supporting, outliner-style all-in-one writing, notekeeping and commenting app - yup, that’s attractive. I like Scrivener, but Ulysses just looks all round more… integrated.

Any Ulysses users out there who’d care to comment?


Posted by Hugh
May 16, 2014 at 08:47 AM


I like Ulysses too. Ulysses III is in a different class from Ulysses I and II. I can’t remember whether Steve Z. has drawn attention here (he certainly has on his blog) to the author David Hewson’s review of the new Ulysses: http://davidhewson.com/2014/04/29/ulyssess-iii-growing-up-fast/#more-12554, and also http://davidhewson.com/2014/05/13/managing-a-book-project-with-ulysses-iii/#more-12574. I agree with Hewson’s review: in particular, horses for courses - in a toolbox for writing, Ulysses can play a role that is different from Scrivener’s. Also well worth reading is Steve’s description on his blog of his use of Ulysses III as an application for a ‘spark file’: http://welcometosherwood.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/further-ruminations-on-the-spark-file/. I have Ulysses III and Scrivener on my MacBook Air (and Daedalus, which synchs seamlessly with Ulysses III, as my main writing application on my iPad).


Posted by MadaboutDana
May 16, 2014 at 08:50 AM


Interesting, Hugh. I have Daedalus, but hadn’t realised it syncs with Ulysses. Hm. Tempting…

Mind you, the iOS version of Scrivener will be seriously tempting, once that appears. My only beef with Scrivener is the peculiarly limited search function - but that may not apply to the Mac version, which - so people say - is supposed to be rather more complete than the Windows one.


Posted by MadaboutDana
May 16, 2014 at 08:51 AM


Thanks for posting those two reviews, too - very interesting indeed.


Posted by Prion
May 16, 2014 at 05:59 PM


Ulysses III and Daedalus sync Markdown with not problem but pay attention to items making use of MarkdownXL, a superset of standard Markdown that only Ulysses uses (but not Daedalus). Inline Videos and images come to mind, but also rather annoyingly annotations.
Play around with your documents, you’ll receive a warning so nothing bad should happen but you might want to check before investing a lot of time and using a kind of markup that does not sync as I did.

That said, it is just something to keep in mind, I really enjoy Ulysses and Daedalus and use the two a LOT more than I thought I would.

The two are also a rather powerful combination for note-taking, not just writing. One of the very few companion app pairs (Mac and iOS) that can make use of Webdav.


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