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Ulysses for iPad shaping up nicely...

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 12, 2015 at 10:40 PM


Yes, kind of take your point, but I rather like the essentialised minimalism, myself.

Hadn’t noticed the lack of search function - but yes, now you mention it, that’s a glaring omission! Especially since the desktop app’s search is so powerful.

Another thing I’d LOVE to see in all versions of Ulysses is the ability to link to notes, but hey ho. Sometime, no doubt.

The thing I love about Ulysses, and the thing that’s been preserved in the iPad version, is the way you can move notes around, view them individually or in groups (as a single longer note) and so on.

And the other thing is the amazing filtering! Not only can you have conventional tags (though if you look carefully at the various onscreen icons, you’ll see they’re actually just simple filters), you can also set up your own highly complex filters. Even better, you can sort and arrange them precisely as you wish - Ulysses doesn’t automatically sort on date created, alphabetical name or other irritatingly irrelevant criteria (one of the weaknesses of Letterspace, an otherwise impressive app). Instead, you can put notes, folders, groups AND filters anywhere you want.

This makes Ulysses perfect for task management, especially if you’re using a variant of GTD, which I tend to do more and more nowadays. If you want to set up a filter for all production jobs needed now, you can do that easily; if you want to set up a filter for all admin tasks needed tomorrow, you can do that, too. And the nested way Ulysses operates means that unlike most task management systems, you can apply such filters very precisely, without having to have a bloated front end full of stuff you don’t really need.

That’s one of the things Ken has quite rightly focused on: the bloated nature of most task management systems. A model that’s very flexible and allows you to break down your multiple tasks into convenient chunks that you can then look at without being overwhelmed by all the surrounding lists, tasks, tags, special filters and so on is really very important. It’s one of the reasons Wunderlist has just added folders to its formerly rather rudimentary list management system - and it’s much better for it.

But Wunderlist hasn’t got a patch on Ulysses! It’s well worth reading through the useful intro / details notes supplied with the app to find out just how flexible filters really are. Once you’ve grasped the basic concepts, they’re very easy to use, and you can set up Ulysses so it’s not overwhelming, by breaking things up into folders joined/separated by strategic filters and groupings (that’s another clever feature that’s made its way to iPad - grouping, i.e. the ability to group multiple notes together so they act as a single note; cleverly, this doesn’t affect filters).

Ulysses is on the way to becoming a ConnectedText for Mac. Whoops - except for that inability to link notes together…

A cheerful Bill


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 12, 2015 at 11:01 PM


Ah, except the grouping (or ‘gluing’, as Ulysses calls it) doesn’t really work on iPad. If you glue multiple notes (or ‘sheets’, to use Ulysses-speak) together in the desktop app, you can view/scroll through them all as if they’re a single note (however, you can only ‘glue’ contiguous sheets together, which is a shame).

You can also glue multiple notes together in the iPad version, but there’s not much point, because the content isn’t joined together. Shame. The fact you can do it, however, does suggest this feature is in the works.

And it’s only version 1.0!


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 17, 2015 at 11:22 PM


AAAARRRGH! Biggest… Fail… Ever…

Ulysses for iPad doesn’t support folding. It does all the nice hierarchical bits, with nested groups showing up in views of parent groups, tags affecting the relevant nested sections, etc.

BUT! It doesn’t support folding! So you can’t move tags and subtags, or folders and subfolders, in groups. You have to move and reassemble them INDIVIDUALLY! Plus you have to scroll down for MILES just to view the sections of your hierarchy. How ridiculous is that!?!?!

Unless I’m missing something fundamental. Please, somebody tell me I’m missing something!

And why no folding? The horror, the horror…

On the plus side, while iCloud syncing is occasionally iffy, on the whole they’ve managed to get it working reasonably well. Which I gather from other developers is no mean feat. And their Markdown editor is pretty darn cool.

But still… so disappointed…


Posted by Paul Korm
Mar 18, 2015 at 12:04 PM


I don’t know about the tags bit (I don’t use tags) but for hierarchy groups this method works for me in the iCloud section of the Library.

* Click the iCloud section in Library, it will open and your list of folders will appear below
* Click “Edit” at the bottom of the left hand panel
* Click the “>” next to a folder and the panel will change to “Edit Group”
* “Edit Group” has a section titled “Parent Group”, where there is a iCloud group; click the “>” next to “iCloud”
* The hierarchy will appear, navigate to the destination in the hierachy, click the new parent for the folder


It’s a long a fiddly process, and I really don’t like it that we can only see hierarchies in the iCloud portion of the library but we cannot have groups and hierarchies in the “External Files” section.  When a document is opened from an External File location there is no indicator anywhere where that file came from (Box, OneDrive, etc.) and the file does not sync back to that external location.  Ulysses iPad does not support Dropbox.  (There is snide remark on the Soulmen’s blog blaming this on Dropbox.)

I agree that Ulysses iPad is very unfinished.  It’s yet another iPad app that was promised for a very long time, hyped by the community of tech bloggers, delayed and delayed, and then launched with far less than a full deck of features.


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 18, 2015 at 02:30 PM


Ah, okay, yes, thanks for that, Paul, that didn’t occur to me (it should have).

As I keep using it, I am in fact enjoying it – it’s a lovely, clean environment, and I’ve used ‘Any Font’ to load my favourite fonts onto the iPad.

The lack of folding is a real PITA, but the grouping is efficient. Bugs I’ve found include:

- you can’t see the full content of sheets that have been ‘glued’ together in the editor (fundamental difference from the desktop version); the glued sheets continue to appear individually in the editor pane.

- sometimes changing keywords (tags) in sheets will change the keywords in other sheets. There’s no obvious reason for this, and it can be repaired in the Mac desktop version, but it’s quite irritating. I spent around 20 minutes this morning changing tags in one sheet only to find they were also changing in another one; every time I corrected one, the corrections were also transferred to the other one. Aarrgh!

However, it is only a version 1.0, and from that perspective, actually quite impressive. It is possible to build a rather nice task management system in Ulysses, which is what I’ve been doing. The only extra feature such a system needs is reminders, but I can live without them (or use the Apple app if I really need them)!


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