Hey there, friends. Ulysses 2.8 is upon you, and I’d once again like to take this opportunity to shed some light on what’s new, and why we thought the changes and additions were great ideas.
The most prominent new feature is Touch ID and Password Lock. It’s also the easiest to explain and rectify – locking was requested roughly a gazillion times, and seeing how Ulysses has moved to mobile devices, and how these device are oftentimes shared among family and friends, privacy is a major concern, and little if anything is more private than your writing (check your photos, though).
Our friends over at MacPaw have just launched Setapp – a permanent, subscription based, ever-growing, curated app bundle for Mac. And Ulysses is in it from day one.
Setapp is $9.99/month, currently offers 60+ apps, among which are such greats as Hype, Rapid Weaver, Aeon Timeline, Marked, Screens and Clean My Mac. It’s an awesome package of immense value, and since this is just the beginning, it will get insanely better over time, just by design.
You can read all about Setapp on their page, so I won’t bother you with subscription details or update policies. Instead, I’d like to be pre-emptive for once and answer some of the questions that are surely infiltrating your minds right now.
Are you leaving the Mac App Store?
No. We are not leaving the App Store at all. We see Setapp as an interesting opportunity for a certain kind of user, and we want to be part of that opportunity. Our goal is to reach as many users as possible, and if you find Setapp attractive, if you have use for the included apps, if maybe these apps are all you’ll ever need, then you may be happy to have Ulysses included. For us, Setapp is just another way to get Ulysses into the hands of users. It’s an option.
Two weeks ago, we released Ulysses 2.7 with support for Touch Bar on Apple's latest MacBook Pro. When we started work on Touch Bar, we only had Xcode and some third-party apps to do very basic emulation: showing keyboard and Touch Bar on an iPad Pro, for example. You can’t fully test, even less appreciate a new input device via emulation, though. So we eagerly awaited the arrival of our own hardware.
And when it finally arrived, we only had three days between unpacking and the 2.7 release. This was barely enough to go through quick “yes, works” test-runs – and even during this time, we already realized how some of our ideas wouldn’t work that well and needed a proper revisit in due time.
So since then, we have taken another look at our initial implementation, came up with new ideas, and shuffled around some buttons and options. Today, we are releasing Ulysses 2.7.1 with an updated take on Touch Bar, and I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the biggest changes, and our Touch Bar approach in general.
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.
The founders of NaNoWriMo chose November wisely for the challenge of writing 50,000 words (a novel), instead of August or March. November is best suited month for such an undertaking, at least in the Northern hemisphere: Wrimos are not as tempted as in other times to let the 50,000 words alone and go swimming or make a barbecue instead. Luckily, because they need an iron will to follow this project through – they can’t make use of temptations.
“What’s the Tool You’re Writing Your Novel With?” – “Ulysses, of Course.”
Wrimos can make use, however, of a tool that helps them tackle this challenge: Ulysses. Read …
The next update will see us leveraging the metaWeblog XML-RPC API, to plug Ulysses III right into your favourite blogging engines.
So whether you’re running a self-hosted blog or […] WordPress.com, chances are high that 1.2 will allow you to publish your work directly from within the app. No more copy and paste, no more switching between browsers, you know the drill, you hate it as much as everybody else.
It doesn’t matter why we couldn’t do what we set out to do, or why we announced this in the first place. And today nothing of this matters anymore (it still hurts, trust me). Because today, we finally deliver on this promise I made two and a half years ago.
Wow! Just… wow! Thank you so much. Apple, everyone at Apple: Thank you! Wow.
Now… sorry *cough*. We're in this for a lot of years now. We started when Safari was still in beta. Remember this? I understand there are people in the audience who weren't even born then. Max was still in school, and I was doing advertisements for Daimler/Chrysler. Yes, that was a thing once. The US was run by some George W. Bush, and everyone thought he was crazy; turns out we ain't seen nothing yet, eh?
Well, anyway. Ulysses. ADA.
When we released Ulysses III a couple of years ago, 2013, we knew we had something special. It was hard to put our finger on one particular thing – we felt it was the whole package that clicked. And it wasn't the app at this particular point in time, that particular release, but rather the foundation we had spent the past 18 months to build, and, yes, the design that went into all its bits and pieces. Read …
Yes, we’ve spent some time celebrating and enjoying the positive feedback we got after having released Ulysses 2.5 some weeks ago. But this did not keep us from doing our jobs: Ulysses 2.5.1 brings a lot of fixes and improvements, and we can proudly claim that this is the most polished version we have published so far. For details, you can check the release notes for Ulysses for Mac and Ulysses for iOS.
Apart from fixing bugs and crashes, this version brings major improvements to x-callback support in Ulysses for iOS. X-callback is available since Ulysses 2.5 and can be used to allow third-party apps to trigger certain actions with Ulysses. That way, busy writers can create automated workflows to increase their productivity. If that still sounds a bit enigmatic, keep your spirits up: Before long we will have a x-callback introduction for beginners on the blog and present some great ready-made workflows created by other Ulysses users.
Ulysses 2.5.1 is of course a free update for existing users and should already be available on the stores:
Side note: Any update we publish on the App Stores naturally hides the ratings and reviews for the current version. So please take a minute to update your rating or review, or leave one, in case you haven’t yet. Thank you so much!
Say hello to Ulysses 2.5! This is our biggest release yet, spanning every current device and system, from iPhone 5 to iPad Pro to MacBook Air and the big guys, adding device- and system specific features such as 3D Touch and iOS 9 Multitasking.
Whatever I’d be telling you now – about our excitement, our happiness, our pride: It would be a shameless understatement. So I’ll just leave it at a simple fact: We just can’t wait for you to get your hands on it!
Of course, the iPhone version will take the spotlight during the coming days, and I want to thank our entire team for managing this crazy task with such confidence and… yes, ease. When we set out to port Ulysses from Mac to iPad and bring it over fully-intact, it already seemed like an impossible feat. Moving the whole app over to iPhone, though? Seriously, if you had told me three years ago that we’d one day put a near feature-complete version into the palm of your hands, I would’ve died laughing. And I’m the naive dude in this company.
I would also like to thank our beta testers for being such a thorough bunch, and for providing invaluable feedback as well as cheering and otherwise encouraging support. You know who you are! Thank you!!!
Ulysses 2.5 is a free update for existing users, so everybody who already got the iPad version will have a nice present when they check the App Store on their iPhones. And if you’re new to Ulysses, you can still grab it at its current price, before we’ll raise it a bit in the coming weeks.
Now please quit reading and get this thing, explore, have fun, take care, go write your fingers bloody…
An Outlook on Ulysses for iPhone and iPad and what you can do with it, Part 1
It has been a couple of weeks now since we started betatesting a new version of Ulysses for iOS: Ulysses for iPhone and iPad (and iPad Pro and iPod Touch, to be exact). We’re awaiting this release with excitement, and, supposedly, some of you with us: Ulysses, finally on iPhone!
Believe it or not, from time to time we’re asked what people would actually need a writing app on their phones for. Well, we do have some ideas! During the time until the release, we would like to share these ideas with you, and at the same time give you a glimpse of what you can expect.
No matter the size of your device – you’ll get a fully-fledged writing app. Ulysses will be as powerful on iPhone as it is on iPad (and on iPad it is almost as powerful as on Mac). So, in technical respects, writing a novel on your iPhone is entirely feasible, even though you may want to move to a larger screen from time to time.
Whatever you write, Ulysses on iPhone will be the perfect tool for jotting down sudden inspirations wherever you are – in the park, on the subway or even at a party. Most of us are carrying their iPhones around all the time anyway. No notepad, pencil or third party app required. If you return home and open Ulysses on your Mac, your idea will already sit in the right group of your library for further exploration – thanks to iCloud sync and without a chance of being forgotten by mistake.
The beta tests of upcoming Ulysses for iPad and iPhone are going well, we’re getting a lot of positive feedback and not too many bug reports. So, for the time being, we’re still quite positive to release in the first quarter of 2016. If everything goes well… knock on wood ;-)