Ulysses 2.7: Touch Bar, Sierra Tabs and Then Some

Today we’re releasing Ulysses 2.7 on the App Store. It’s a rather big release, even though there’s not that one major headline feature, like… making coffee or such (though, boy, this would come in handy now). It’s more of a foundation release, with tons of fixes, under-the-hood changes and improvements to keep Ulysses’ code base fresh and… juicy. Yes, juicy. There, I said it.

That’s not to say there aren’t any new features, mind you. Though “new”, as is the case with any adjective claim, lies in the eye of the beholder, but more on that later.

Touch Bar Support on MacBook Pro (2016)

To get this one out of the way quickly: Ulysses 2.7 now supports Touch Bar, Apple’s latest take on humanizing hardware interfaces. It’s brand-new, obviously, so there isn’t much (if any) experience with how users expect this thing to work, but we took the time and implemented what we believe is a solid first take on awfully promising technology.

The primary focus for our initial Touch Bar support was, of course, the editor, and you can now access Ulysses’ markup features right from the Touch Bar. Yay! But since markup is based on keyboard input anyway, and since the most common definitions are so easy to type (headers, emphasize etc.), we didn’t just populate the Touch Bar with a scrolling list of tags. Instead, we took a page from our iOS implementation, and are offering logical markup groups alongside dedicated buttons for three of the more complex (but widely used) definitions.

Ulysses' Editor Touch Bar

As you can probably tell, Touch Bar now allows quick access to headers, text blocks and text markings, as well as direct access to link, image and footnote tags. There are also two global buttons, which we deemed, well, globally important, i.e. the sidebar switcher and preview (not visible in the above screen, but believe me, it’s there).

As stated, this is our initial take on the Touch Bar, and while we have already implemented lots of additional functionality I can’t cover today (check out what happens if you hit that preview button), we want you to know that this is a work in progress. We welcome your feedback and ideas, so please let us know what you like, dislike, would like, want, need, you know the drill. Moving on…

Tabs in macOS 10.12 (Sierra)

This is a strange one. Not as a feature, but in terms of “new”. If you’ve been following Ulysses’ development for the past decade, you probably have fond memories of our own tab implementation way back when. As a matter of fact, Ulysses was one of the first apps to offer tabs at all, and we always felt this should be a system-wide feature, because every app that followed offered its own special take on handling tabs, their look and feel and so on. Plus, needless to say, every implementation more or less broke with major OS releases, be it because of updated visuals or a major changes in window handling – long story short: It’s good to have this on a system level.

Sierra Tabs in Ulysses

There’s not much to talk about here, it’s rather simple stuff, really, and if you’ve worked with tabs in Safari, you basically know all there is to know: You can create new tabs by hitting CMD-T, and you can have sheets from the sheets list open in a new tab via the context menu. Ulysses tries to be smart about tab naming, so you get the parent group followed by the first header, which is probably what you’d expect, so there you go.

We find tabs to be especially cool in full screen mode, where switching between tabs is far more convenient then switching between different Desktops. YMMV, of course, but we think it’s great, and it’s free and optional, so… why are we even arguing?

Images in External Folders (via TextBundle)

This was a much requested feature, so I reckon we’ll make a lot of folks happy: We now support images in external sources via TextBundle. It should be pretty straight forward – just choose “.textbundle” as “File Extension for New Sheets”, and you’re all set.

Evernote Import (What it Says)

Another much requested feature. Ulysses now supports the import of ENEX files, with ENEX being Evernote’s export format (I guess it stands for EverNoteEXport, but it could mean different things, and I don’t want to speculate). You can either export/import single notes, if that’s your preferred way of spending the holidays, or you can bulk import you complete note dump into Ulysses for Mac and have it create one sheet per note. Your choice, no pressure.

Ok, what else?

X-Callback support on Mac (yup), reading time goals (this one: 3 minutes, but I overshot, he), tons of fixes (as noted in the intro), improvements (dito), under-the-hood changes (dito-dito) and general juiciness (!).

It’s a free update for both macOS and iOS, and it should already be available (as in: right now), so stop reading and go check your favorite App Store and do what needs to be done.

Let us know how it fares.

Oh, by the way: The TextBundle update comes courtesy of the awesome Vladimir Danila, and the ENEX import comes courtesy of the equally awesome Marcel Voss. They both managed to code all of this during their internships this summer. It’s good stuff, so give them a hug, will you?

Have fun!

Marcus

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Marcus Fehn

Co-founder, interface designer and hot temper. Loves cats, hates dogmas. Schooled in the art of analytic improvisation. Favorite comic book character: Patrick Bateman.