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Ulysses' Companions' Odyssey (provisional app review)

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Posted by Dormouse
Apr 21, 2022 at 10:42 AM


Amontillado wrote:
>That led me back to where I’d started. Conventional word processors plus
>more Markdown than I used to do.

Largely true for me too. I find markdown programs hard to work with because they either don’t work the way I want, or the way I need, or small incompatibilities and differences create friction when moving between programs. For general work, I find txt and docx more useful.

I also far prefer to work with files than databases, especially for any content that will be kept for more than a short time. Docx, while big and clumsy, is like a database in a single file. And one thiing I agree with David Hewson about is that Word has improved massively over the years in terms of usability for my purposes. I can even see how I’d manage to write a book with it, the way Brandon Sanderson does. Though being able to see it is way short of thinking it’s the best option right now.


Posted by MadaboutDana
Apr 21, 2022 at 02:15 PM


A couple of other apps to add to this: WriteMapper (https://writemapper.com) and TreeSheets (a brilliant, longstanding open-source app based on embedding: https://strlen.com/treesheets/)

WriteMapper is basically a rather nice outliner/mindmapper, but has a live preview feature that updates as you edit individual segments.

Both of these apps are macOS/Windows compatible. TreeSheets also runs on Linux.

The latest version of WriteMapper (3) doesn’t have an updated iOS/iPadOS app, unfortunately, but you can still download WriteMapper 2 if you want to work with the iOS versions.


Posted by 22111
Apr 21, 2022 at 06:19 PM


Nice that it gets a little bit productive, here, thanks! (The “=” are just for separating purposes.)


to get an impression of Ulysses it’s possible to try the program Inspire Writer ... clone
= not significant, doesn’t tell if Ul has the features I mentioned, and which, as I explained, might be conditions sine qua non by many for professional work (I explained why)

Most of the points mentioned above simply don’t touch on the features that support Ulysses’ popularity.
= I mentioned Ul because of its popularity; declaring that the requirements I mentioned are not important for its users, doesn’t answer the question if those functions are there or not, just might indicate they are not there

Dabble Writer can be accessed by anoyone on any OS. I don’t know why he wrote about it, but presume it followed the lines of ‘I’m a writer’, ‘I need to feed my blog’ and ‘this is a coming area that I ought to look at’. I doubt he will write a book with it any time soon.
= That’s my impression, too, but let’s allow him the right to crimp, too; I mentioned his post for his general remarks over there, not for the app in particular

If Ulysses were on Windows, I would be very interested in examining it in detail.
= indeed, and that’s why I asked for answers for my questions, not being able to trial, and not being happy with the marketing speak alone I got by “research”

idiosyncratic impression of markdown is one
= ?
“with uniquely streamlined features that cover the whole writing process”
= the typical worthless rhabarber-rhabarber we find all over the place = web;
Typora (a mere 15$) seems best = YSWYG (but had been set, in pre-paid times, to not be too robust with long documents in that mode; of course it’s not an outliner, while Ul is); I would not be happy that its markdown (always Typora, not Ul) to rtf (etc.) export is only by a third-party tool, so, in order to have “dark mode” (which I don’t get in UR), I use (paid) Atlantis instead (works fine with Dragon, too), for which then export to UR or elsewhere is without problems (and yes, the lacks in UR are a shame, but what can I do, needing its strong points, see above)

for me, the look matters a lot
= for all of us (see my double Sony crap file vs. perfect Olympus robustness), and that’s why I would be eager to switch to a nice, pretty Mac app (like Ul), just for my writing purposes, IF my “macro-organizational” requirements (i.e. organisation of “bits” and of “meta-bits” of all sorts within one project (and to a much lesser degree, beyond the “current” project), explanation above) are met by it

if I had been able to try it
= WITH extensive information re your requirements, you could even dare buy the hardware, then trial (and, if it’s really “impossible”, send back the hardware within some 14 days or so, which is possible in many legislations), but that does’nt make any sense when it’s predictable that will the issue, instead of happily using the software on your new hardware then, hence the need for REAL info before buying hardware, and hadn’t the web been invented to be an information instrument? well, that was at its academic origins indeed, that was then…

They hybrid design - database plus external files - has many advantages.
= would be happy to have detailed info on that, could be of high (general!) interest to know in detail

(MS Word) effectively, it’s a Windows only program given the limitations of the Macversion
= so we all agree here


Whilst Mac users can trial Windows software on their Macs (...) But perhaps you mean that Windows users can’t emulate Macs in the same way?
= correct, and after posting, I was certain somebody would jump on that one, my sloppy wording being an invitation; fact is, Windows software can be run on Macs by special software which is about 100$/€ if I remember correctly, and once they will have got that, Mac users can then trial, and buy and permanently use in case, Windows applications on their Mac; Windows users, thanks to Apple’s fortress policy, can do neither of that, i.e. for trialling Mac software, they have to buy a Mac (and a Mac mini - even that one 5 or 6 times the price of Win-OS for Mac - would not be what they then would want to use permanently if they adopted some Mac software), and if their trial(s) is/are not convincing, they then find themselves with expensive, unusable Mac hardware… but IF they “adopt” some of those Mac tools they trialed, then again they will have to switch forth and back between two system, Windows for their general work, and their Mac for just some tool(s) - Mac users would NOT be forced to buy a Win pc, neither for trialling, nor for then just using some tool(s) of the other OS, while continuing to do their general work within the OS they prefer - and not even speaking of data transfer between the two devices, whilst such data transfer between Mac and Windows tools within the Mac-Windows subsystem should be work quite smoothly in most cases I suppose.
Parallels Desktop is 80 plus VAT = about 100 https://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/buy/ and virtual box is free https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox so again I was right, my “can” meaning “it’s possible for free or little money, and on the same hardware, not just by buying, and then having to endlessly switch, between your core device and another one which costs in the low 4-digit range at least”

= and you’re right about Windows 11, etc (“account”, etc.) - they envy Apple’s success by doing such things, and try to follow that route; that’s why I’ll try to stay with W10 as long as possible, but I swear I have never encountered any Windows advertising they all speak about, so erenow, I obviously have been lucky to circomvent their crap

but any cultish aspects have been largely negated over the last few years by their stubborn refusal to listen to user feedback on their hardware in particular
= well, the Pope will not listen to the believers either, not speaking of the religious leaders in the true-and-only-one Religion (you know which one, since there is no other), so you just proved my point, instead of backing yours :-)

Believe me, this didn’t go down well in the Apple-using community.
= Well, in catholicism, believers even turned their back in numbers when they read in the papers that the Cologne (Germany) episcope paid more than 1 million for the gambling debts of one of their priests, out of a fund intended to pay (now adult) child abuse victims of theirs, but then, those believers, now suddenly outraged, should have know better anyway, since their Church paid out much higher sums to their lawyers, trying to keep down the indemnities, than to the victims themselves (which proves, if need there was, how successfully their Church invested theirs, and general taxpayers (sic!) money!) - which, the flight from Church that is, is - contrary to abnegation from the one-and-only Religion there is - also allowed Apple faithful, but those defections are quite rare, admittedly not only for fortress wall reasons;
on the other hand, as true believers, Apple users accept a lot, really a lot, from their totem, just see, here again, that instead of following my advice above to ask for the allegedly missing features the usefulness of which I have explained above, they rather seem to be inclined to dismiss such missing features as more or less irrelevant (whilst, once they would have (discovered!) them, they would never want to do without them for serious work);
but you’re right, their Macbook MCA was catastrophical indeed (in German pleb’s language: “Super-GAU”)... especially since they tried by all means to reject justified claims (there again)... ;-)
and re their “connectors”, well, they (i.e. the management, not necessarily the user base, too, but see about “totem” and all) will be oh so happy when their devices will have with ANY possible connector (except for the direct one into your brain, and that that’s coming’s for sure), see your:

Software, like websites, is beginning to show signs of building up to a new UX revolution.
= functionality-wise, it seems that we currently have some sort of pauperization instead, and by user bases which rather express they don’t want more elaborate functionality (while misunderstanding that if they were dormant within the depths of the menus e.g., they wouldn’t be bothered by their - hidden - “presence”), this regression in software functionality overall (except for the “access from everywhere” aspect that is) will go on for some time I fear, not even speaking of notable crippling examples within particular software (Evernote, InfoSelect - both in spite of their respective pricing! - and some others I don’t remember currently… and Adobe, partly at least?)

Linux ... Intel-Microsoft duopoly
= it’s true that with more and more (in-browser or other web) apps replacing software installed on the users’ devices, there will be more Linux software, just not as the users’ device OS, as long as those users will also need “traditional” software, too, and yes, also the other way round: When more and more such “native” software will be replaced by web apps, Chrome can overtake; in the field of translation software e.g., you currently have very powerful tools both for Windows and Mac, but with more and more web-sided translation services appearing, more and more of the aforementioned native tools will disappear, and have to be replaced by equally sophisticated web applications, the problem being that those will, just as the current desktop tools in that field, be very “select” (i.e. tiny user base by today’s standards), and anything web-based being by subscription, those subscription prices will rise extraordinarily, and it’s quite a different thing between buying special software for 1,800$/€, then perhaps updating it, 2 or 3 years later, for some 900$/€, and so on if you wish to do so, or if they charge you 295$/€ per month, or then it’ll be all gone

... starting with the whole file system thing ...
and Dormouse above, “They hybrid design - database plus external files - has many advantages.”
= Yes, and indeed, storage of the data within the file system would resolve the problem SQLite has when you also store the data within the db, in big numbers, or even in not so big numbers, once many (just a 3-digit number is sufficient to get into problems) of them contain pics (jpg in the range 300x500 or 500x700 pixels each, not speaking of photo storage here; in UR e.g., just 500 items, with 300 containing such pics within text, will be sufficient to cause problems, most contenders assumingly being even worse), and yes, server-client db take in without problems, with proper programming that is, almost any number of items, instead of starting to crawl at a 3-, 4- or 5-digit item number, but a Postgres server at home is not realistic for most users, and web storage might be as good as such a Postgres server, if you set aside possible secondary problems (data security, failing web access in not-so-developed countries, and the like) set aside;
bear in mind your (Mac or Windows) notebook file system could store 7-, 8-, perhaps 9-digit numbers of items, within its hdd or ssd, beyond meta data, both SQLite and Postgres then make available full-text indexing and full-text search, natively just for data within the db (which for SQLite causes these capacity problems in real life);
UR stores both the original data (rtf as blob) and the replicated plain-text data (for the full-text search index) within the db, whilst the original data could be stored within the file system indeed, and the plain-text data possibly, too, once the respective item plain text has just been temporarily “imported”, for fetching the respective index data from that item; I currently don’t see a real reason for storing anything beyond index plus other meta data within SQLite (or Postgres, but where internal storage of everything would not be a problem whatsoever) itself, but may be mistaken;
you could use dedicated full text search, in parallel to the db, but that woul complicate things considerably (e.g. a renowned search tool, costing about 200$ for individuals, would cost about 15,000$/€, but then calls for you to store the file systems files (instead of txt, rtf, etc.) in a format which would be unreadable to anything than the application you buy that search component for - which is inacceptable;
in web storage, they probably use ElasticSearch (their subscription income bearing their ES subscription costs then);
in other words, IF there was a single, really good, “local” (i.e. “desktop” which would include notebooks) information manager, you could use that one almost everywhere (in the car or the shower, you can’t your smartphone either, for information purposes), but as soon as you are into high item numbers (5- and 6-digits), it becomes very problematic indeed, so, yes, I see the interest, for the user, in web storage, if nothing else is available, thus my interest in the citation above, and what it might describe in this particular case

Fairphone operating system
= iPhone and Android problem, you can’t get those standard apps (you would be interested in, not speaking of outliers, available from third-party sources indeed), without then, I suppose (and will never believe any optimistic euphemism this wasn’t so) Apple or google attributing to you(r telephone number, here in Europe) any action you do within those apps, neither of those corporations considered by me trustworthy to any degree;
example, I look up a word from English to Dutch when I’m in the Netherlands, and that’s none of google’s goddam business, according to me, but I’m sure they store every word I look up, in my “account”, next time I “go online” (wlan in some public space for example, e.g. in a store to compare prices);
ironically I can look up prices or translations by just web browsing - and ironically in their Chrome crap I’d never use otherweise - from the same device, without them spying me out, IF I don’t ever use their “app store” or whatever they call it, AND if I never put a “SIM” into that smartphone, making and receiving calls by “key phones” (for which there seems to be quite some market nowadays, judging by the numbers of key phones on offer);
btw, those google people even, and now systematically, use unresolvable captchas (they obviously could be resolved as any other, but they just switch off the “ok” functionality for you, instead of saying upfront you will never get access) when I try to do a direct google search thru VPN (instead of using e.g. startpage instead), i.e. I can try 30, 40, 50 times, with no success, whilst sites which just want to protect themselves, present me seemingly identical captchas but which I can resolte in 2, 3, 4 tries at most; I have observed this for years now, and it’s evident that google sadists use these unresolvable - but seemingly resolvable - captchas in order for the user to give up at last, and to give in to their spying (this is independant from my pretended “country of origin” by VPN, btw)

Stephen Zeoli

You can’t concatenate sheets in IW as you can in Ulysses.
= I suppose sheets are items; I fully understand that for many users, this is very important; my macros do whatever I want, re such things, I even would need to look up to what degree UR would “help” here with native functions; whenever I can write a macro which does something exactly as I want it to be, I do it exactly that way, and thus, I have replicated many functions, realized not that well by UR, in UR, by my means, to highly better results (especially “go to” and “move/copy/link to” which natively are quite cumbersome in UR); my requirements for software functionality are for functionality then I can NOT realize with my external macro means, e.g. and of the highest importance to me, the ones I had listed, user-side tree formatting (deal-breaker) and then filtering by those formats (very important, but if UR hadn’t that, I would insert special code chars into the item titles instead, then filter by those, and to say it all, I even do just that, for more “coding”, since just 7 formats beyond the regular one simple isn’t enough for my means;
if that filtering by special chars within titles wouldn’t be possible in my case, I would do with the 7 formats, but without tree formats to begin with, I would not touch the software; in fact, once, I had left UR, in order to go back to AO, just for that reason, accepting, at the time, the absence of then filtering for those formats (except by scripting upon export), not knowing that UR had those tree formats, and I came back to UR once I had news of that (very well hidden indeed) function - big thanks, here again, to Paul J. Miller for the hint!

you have to pay an annual fee for Ulysses
= 50 bucks p.a. is “nothing” for some ace software you use all day long, and thus, I would be / have been happy (and have said so over there) if the UR developer did both, switched to subscription (with reasonable prices) AND switched back to active development (instead of just maintenance development as is the current situation now, and as it has been for the last 10, 12, more years); this eagerness of mine to rent software ONLY applies to optimized, workhorse software though, which really - and brilliantly - “secures” your work, NOT to all those innumerable secondary if not fourth-rate tools you’d use here and there, or once a year; the applications list on my main pc currently lists about 450 such applications, whilst I regularly delete those which are really worthless, and even then: now, if I was to pay rent for hundreds of tools, my total income wouldn’t be sufficient anymore to do my pc work (or hobby or whatever);
it’s undeniable that the continuous willingness of Apple (!) users to pay rents for any crap, has considerable fastened this run to software rental, even for minor and even worthless applications and tools (e.g. renamers which don’t do anything beyond some good file managers which you would want to install anyway; I could give dozens of examples lately; I’m NOT speaking of Ul and similar “core appliations” here; for these, the problem is just that your subscription paying will NOT guarantee it’ll be really optimized, not even in the long run)

Apple environment apps are generally more polished in their design and UI
= visually, that’s indeniable; functionally, less so if you look further into the specifics (which often are not that easily available); as I just have said, I even left my workhorse application, in the erroneous conception it missed functionality I had to rely on; when it comes to the “other” OS then, the risk of overlooking features grows stark (“exponentially” would be an exaggeration though); that iPhone / iPad apps are much superior to their Android counterparts, is general knowledge by now, everybody can see that from a short glance, and yes, pricing (“premium”) is a crucial factor in this, and then group dynamics is another one: iSomething developers would be ashamed to present something too ugly, whilst Android developers don’t give a heck because their users don’t do either, obviously


= Ol’s special (sic!) 3-pane screen represention I had lauded (and described) obviously facilitates combining items, or cutting them in two, independently of the technical functionality, so the former is a very good start for the latter; if developers “stole” much more - not code, but UX role models - from each other, we would all benefit, not least the developers; as it is, there is much less real choice, since your “choice” follows your absolute needs, and then you have to live with quite some, and in case very annoying, constraints on many other plans, perhaps with the only application of some sort becoming your only “choice”, independently of all its restrictions and misses otherwise; ironically, sticking up also for third-parties’ requirements, instead of disposing of them, declaring them irrelevant, could highten your chances to see your own important requirements realized, “you” always being used in its most general meaning

(Ul:) And it is actually a nice looking and functional program.
= which, as said, will not help (again, generally speaking), when absolutely needed functionality is not there; my detailed descriptions above re Ol having in mind to make you think about what you miss if you deliberately pass very important functionality (since it’s currently not there in case), even if you have been doing without it so far

Zeoli / Dormouse / Zeoli

(Ul:) view them as if they are one document
= brilliant, so even with edit, indeed, I often miss that functionality, the Ul screenshot doesn’t show this but partly (Even without edit in a roll, it’s rare and would be so useful); I also misunderstood concatenation by technically joing two or more items into one though, of course nor UR, nor a macro of mine can, do what Ul does here; since Ul has such powers, it’s understandable that has got so much success; the more annoying then if it missed very important functionality; btw, the Firefox bookmarks tree (thousands of bookmarks, but no way to at least format / color the group titles (parent items): that (free) software obviously hasn’t got the technical preconditions to realize item (or then, “folder”) formattings, etc, whilst, a repeat this a second time here, Ol obviously uses components which could do that, since it distinguishes, non-user-attributable, between white and grey in black background


don’t think it’s quite as flexible as Scrivener in this regard
= Win Scrivener may be better than I think, Mac Scrivener even much better, so both, or the latter, may have features I’d like; I’m too much put off by the Mac-Windows contrast here, I haven’t it (Win) trialled anymore for years; from the (Mac) developer’s answers to (Mac) users’ requests, I also inferred that he’s not “responsive” (according to the rule, “no is no answer”)


I recognize I’m being nit-picky.
= no, you’re not, many (Mac) users complain about incoherence in Scrivener; as implied above, the developer does not seem to be too inclined to fine-tune his (extremely successful) program, obviously doesn’t need the “need” for that from his subjective pov

At that time you couldn’t create separate Ulysses files. Everything went in one data store.
= What about transclusion in Ul? It goes without saying that for transclusion purposes, one big db is so much better than to have, for speed or (in)stability reasons, to cut one big data repository in multiple “files” (?) / databases (Ul?), internal (virtual) replicating being so much smoother than links to external sources, both technically, and, especially, for the user(‘s workflow); hence my question, a very important one: local data storage, which db, robust up to how many items range (e.g. low 5-digit? (much) better than that?);
and since the intermediate pane is a little bit “special” (I said I enjoy this, and why, but it remains special, non-standard): what about hoisting? since otherwise, I would need - don’t laugh! - a fourth pane, intermediate between panes 1 and 2, for big data repositories (pane 1 otherwise offering “too high” a view, and current pane 2 “too low” a view then)


that he doesn’t use more than the basic features in Scrivener
= easy: he doesn’t want to break his “flow”, by fiddling around with the app’s intricacies which could very probably be realized much, much better, had the developer not been so stubborn as I infer from some of the details mentioned above; ironically, for originally useful functions - which are there - but which get into your way, by their awkwardness, user macros are more often than not the ideal solution


I take it that this is akin to editable transclusions
= that should be no problem, elsewhere-included items or sub-hierarchies, technically, are just links, so if software has transclusion, you always edit the original content, and in such a roll view, the program also handles a physical replication of the original data, not a replication of a replication, but an editable “roll view” is much more ambitious than a mere roll view in its strict sense to begin with, and that’s why it’s that rare (the “just view” variety also is rare, probably because, whilst being also very useful in direct comparison to the lack of it, it constantly reminds the user of how much better then the editable variety would be, and no developer would like to actively (i.e. by his own but insufficient coding efforts) frustrate their user base)


(document with headings/folding vs. combined-chunks)
= that’s a totally different universe then, cf. KEdit, or then all the rich-text editors (MS Word, Atlantis and some more) which got suddenly aware that at least an additional outline would come so much more handy, and which then build (optionally, of course) that additional outline, by header levels, you apply the format by shortcuts, e.g. ^1, ^2, and so on);
I think we convene about this paradigm just working for “writing”, not (also) as (textual) data repository, or then it’ll get very unwieldy;
my problem with this concept is that, also for meta information, and especially for notes and meta-notes (see above), it does not seem to be very helpful to me, you would have to rely on codes within those extra lines, then filter those lines out, or filter for those lines (which is possible in KEdit (which just offers plain text though), not also in Word or Atlantis e.g., if I’m not mistaken), you would end up with scrolling thru the whole text, or thru whole chapters, a lot;
as far as I know, and I own both (which doesn’t mean much), both Word and Atlantis, while facilitating navigation, by their tree, then will not allow for just viewing / editing that selected part, e.g. sub chapter 3.7, but above and below, they always display the sourround (sub-) chapters, and that’s why I, personally, can’t work at all with them, except for stupid text entry (for the dark mode), but without any editing beyond, i.e. I do NOT use their navigational functionaly in any way, since that’s navigation only, not also de-selection (i.e. hiding) of the text parts I will not have navigated too; any 2-pane outliner hasn’t got any problem with them, and it’s myself who decides upon the (current) extent of that “chunk” (some tools allow for just seeing the current paragraph, which is quite different, since I want to see the paragraphs within the vicinity indeed, but just those - some of those even calls “1 paragraph only” “the Hemingway mode” if I’m not mistaken - oh, my!;
this being said, I admit that the (above-described) filter-out functionality for the UR tree might be vary rare, and that UR’s filter-for functionality only just within a search results table, so I describe a paradigm that currently might not even exist, but it’s obvious that even what I get in UR in this respect, can’t possibly be replicated or nearly arrived at by a headings-folding system;
I should clarify and specify that the above-described “filter specific format(s, i.e. combinable) out of the tree includes any sub-items / sub-trees of such-formatted items, whilst in KEdit for example, you could just filter out (I suppose) those special meta-note lines themselves, but not also their “content”, i.e. the paragraphs below and up to the next independent heading; in UR for example, you could display, or then hide from view, all (currently) “shelved” variants, versions and such, without having to really cut them out of your current work (and file them into some “archives” somewhere else, where they then would be out-of-context, whilst your hidden variants within your UR db remain in-context, becoming visible again by a single key combination, you then could hide another variant instead, and unhide the de-shelved one, all with just a key combination, i.e. by re-assigning another title format to the parent item;
(just 7 such formats, filtering for (instead of filtering out) not in the tree, and many more such things: of course I would be willing to rent, if these and other potentially brilliant (and even very helpful-as-such) functions would then be amended to meet really high UX standards

I also far prefer to work with files than databases
= For your paradigm, files are the natural format indeed - 1 (book or other) project 1 file -, and obviously, that paradigm suits you perfectly;
on the other hand, you will very probably not (at all, or only exceptionally) rely upon transclusion with elements outside of your current project (them using here, elements from here using there), since if you did, your “file system” would become unmanageable for you;
many non-fiction writers prefer your system (and abhor 2-pane outliners, for “writing” purposes at least), but imagine, let’s say, a comedy writer who, I might suppose, will maintain a “gag” repository (perfect here: (multiple) tagging instead of hierarchy, admittedly): either, they would work like you do, and then with an accompanying gag db, or they might have it all within the same db body, certainly not within a file, ditto for technical authors who would even be more inclined to have it all within the same db, for heavy transclusion purposes (and which then would want transclusion to be better, i.e. much faster, organized, UX-wise, than it is in UR - technically, it’s without fault, it just takes much too long, on every occasion);
this being said, I absolutely understand your preferred way of doing these things, it’s just that for other things, your concept would possibly fail, since what you would want to do THEN, would take too much effort or would even not be possible to begin with;
I’m speaking of tools which should do-it-all, as good as possible, but the moment you accept, or even want, several tools for several purposes, everything’s fine, no pun whatsoever intended;
that being said, there currently does not seem to be any mass-market “overall” tool, then meeting special requirements or not, which continues to work without fault for “high” item numbers, which is why I had to spread my 300,000 items over some 30 db, and transclusion between those db just isn’t possible, just meager links are, all the same

And yes, if you held your lists short, you wouldn’t need that many markers (as I do), but I abhor artificial sub-hierarchies, just taking away “siblings” which should remain, as siblings, not cousins, etc., together, and yes, to some degree, separator lines (which are native in Firefox, and which are just a little macro away in any writing or db tool or in the file system (where sorting is mostly alphabetical, so they are less needed there)) help indeed, but once you use tree formatting (and, as said, sparingly indeed), you would not want to give it up, not even for other important features.

Writing being about flow, it would be nuts indeed to give up the features which currently really help you in fiction writing, and I see that even without tree formatting (?), Ul can be very attractive in there:

Because in that special field, navigational issues are minor, navigation actions being quite rare in that context, you mostly write, just here and then look up, or juggle bits around - well, the easier that is, the more you’ll do it! -, and “finishing”, in Ul, will be done in the content pane mostly, and the accompanying navigation within the middle pane - whilst I had and have long sibling lists in mind, with constant navigation.

Ul for fiction writing might be somewhat near “ideal” indeed after all, but then, for more general uses: db? robust? does it choke beyond 10,000 text items, beyond 100,000? and with minor graphics, not-too-big jpg pix then? and what about its db-plus-file-system paradigm, in detail? Answers from real experiences, just as my real-life information re UR (i.e. with real data), could be of general interest I think; it may even be that Ul was quite robust, since it’s two-screen, optionally, and that would especially make sense if you could put your “material” into it, too, perhaps though into a second file or db within Ul. (Now try to do such extensive trialling, with significant, real data, within some days, while trying to preserve your “bought” hardware in mint condition, in order to send it back for refund: only under duress, as Amontillado said above!)

Oh, and yes, in this age of pdf-on-screen instead of print-outs, I perfectly see that reading on an iPad (max size then) other’s people’s works is so much more pleasant an experience, than sitting in front of a desktop screen… but with a good, big screen and a good, incredibly spiced-up keyboard (just like in the old XyWrite days), editing your own stuff is so much more comfortable in the end, no?

And yes, entering lengthy text into a 1-scrolling-page Atlantis window (then putting the bits into UR wherever they belong), just because the UR developer, getting old himself though over the years, doesn’t see the necessity to code “dark mode” - which we had with XyWrite then, since that was the monochrome standard screen in those days -, such patchwork isn’t fun.

And not to be mixed up with the above mentioned, absolutely convenient in case, two-tools setup, one for optimized writing purposes, the other one for stocking your “material”.

And yes, if there was a 100-, 200-$/€ tool which let me trial Mac software, I would probably have had switched to Mac even 10 years ago (and before buying some expensive software tools (i.e. in the higher 3-digit range) for Windows (licenses not transferrable to Mac, I would have to pay again); the way it is, I will very probably never do that; over-clever (i.e. to the point of overt cynicism) Apple management insisting on selling their hardware, so that many people do the software trial switch with a Mac mini, then find their Mac software doesn’t run but very badly with almost no memory and no power, then shelf the mini, but Apple got your mini, your mouse and some other little money, whilst they ain’t so strong in (inhouse-made) software anymore and anyway, so missing software sales don’t bother them, and Adobe and others get your money anyway since both-platform.

Then, you hear their CEO gets 100 million (even in Corona time?), so you know why they “need” to be that greedy.

Whilst for Windows, it’s just some of your money going to MS, and for all the rest you’re free to by from those makers you’re not yet at odds with, from your individual experience (don’t buy Sony!): Apple’s very special business model is a public nuisance, psychologically, indeed! ;-)


Posted by satis
Apr 21, 2022 at 07:51 PM


Oh dear.


Posted by 22111
Apr 22, 2022 at 07:55 AM


Windows on Mac

I hadn’t thought of the necessary Win license; whilst you can buy such licenses, out of corporate packages, for 10$/€, they are not always recognized as valid by MS, so it’s not as simple as I had presented it above, and perhaps it’s more realistic to say, 80 plus VAT for the tool, plus 80 plus VAT for the Win license, which would make it 200$/€ in all (the free tool which would then just need to buy the Win license, reputedly coming with limitations).

Plot holes

\CR\ (romantic comedy): Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Hitchcock 1941, Lombard, Montgomery)
\CC\ (criminal comedy): Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Liman 2005, Pitt, Jolie, Brody, b110 bo487)

The second produced a box-office of about 500 million (numbers from wikipedia which gets them from Mojo = amazon, who else…), which is enormous, and that in spite of - SPOILER AHEAD as they say - an equally enourmous plot hole. As such, they call logical story fails, and here, two “professional killers for hire” (which is a cinema myth to begin with, secret services and terrorist organizations having their own killers, and they certainly don’t get 6- or 7-digit fees per “hit”), married to each other and not knowing that the other one is in their own trade, are set up onto each other, by some organization, in order to kill each other. This is very funny and enjoyable, even for the organization (well, as long as the latter one doesn’t realize both fail miserably), but the question remains why the organization would spend millions just for fun, instead of just hiring a third killer, for a fraction of that, to do away with both.

Anyway, this (b-o) “hit” amply proves that whenever the fun is enormous, even a giant plot hot will be happy accepted; not so in general, and in general, plot holes appear within the story, not at its very beginning, forming its very base in some way.

So, for fiction writers, my remarks above about UR’s tree (entries) formatting (incl. the possibility of hiding or displaying those formats one-by-one) should be of real interest, in this special context to create reminder items in order to avoid possible plotholes (and also to remind you of ideas you would like to develop, or similar, then, hence the different colors).

It seems that in Ul, there’s no way to smoothly intercalate such “reminders” of all sorts between your “text items”, and if there is no such facility, you will have to organize your “reminders” in some other way.

Just a reminder. ;-)


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