Ulysses reborn

Ulysses 2.0, Ulysses Core, Stapler 2.0 “coming soon”, Ulysses Mobile “coming soon”, a new forum, much lower prices …

There’s a kind of revolution going on over there … Worth a look .

Teehee! Love it! (At least there’s no “S sux” on a Post-it note as there once was with a competitor they took a real aversion to. :slight_smile: ) Shame Apple didn’t credit them when Pages '09 added full screen mode and tried to make it sound groundbreaking, though.

As is well-acknowledged across the site, I do really like Ulysses (even though it wasn’t the tool for me, hence moving on to creating my own tool with Scrivener) so it’s great to see a 2.0 update, and yet again they have pulled it off with style and panache. They definitely have a great eye for design; Max and Marcus somehow consistently manage to produce a non-standard UI that, despite conforming to none of the usual Mac app looks, still feels more “Mac-like” than many more conformist apps and instantly comfortable. (I’m tempted to say that they can quote me on that, but David would kill me.) But wait, what’s this - a notes HUD in console mode and extra padding around the text in the main editor? Could it possibly be that Scrivener has finally had a miniscule feedback effect on Ulysses? That would be a nice thought, given the debt Scrivener owes to Ulysses in its three-pane interface, full screen mode and label/status fields.

I hope they continue to thrive.

All the best,


Several details show that they actually had a close look at Scrivener. There is more than a close resemblance (project and document notes, color preferences, project-wide search, document info pane…). I guess they had their reward back for what Scrivener took from the original Ulysses.


Congrats to them. I bought my first Mac because of Ulysses and will definitely play with 2.0, even though I’m a convicted Scrivener by now with one book under my belt.

Notes, color preferences, project-wide search, and document info pane have been there…

Oh. So, my memories date very back. The appearance was quite different than the new one.

I have been using Ulysses for a long time, just when it was released, but in the end I’m one of these weird guys who prefer to see italics instead of defining them (yes, I know, a sensitive topic). There’s only one thing in Ulysses that I miss in Scrivener: The document/notes browser windows in the lower left corner. It allows you to read notes attached to document that isn’t currently highlighted. When you’re a heavy user of document notes like I am, this is very useful.

Ulysses 2 seems to be a great release, and I’m sure it will find many fans.

You’ll be able to do this in 2.0, although not in the way it’s done in Ulysses; it won’t be as clean as that, but rather a side-effect of a different new feature that is coming. It’s not implemented yet, so I’ll say no more!

I don’t get it either. How is it easier to be creative with text riddled with %%, ___, **, etc.?

I do see the advantage of writing with plain text, devoid of any formatting. In fact, I frequently use a plain text editor when writing in Windows at work. And I can see how assigning meaning to a paragraph can be useful, but is using arcane markup any more effective than using styles? Don’t you achieve virtually the same thing assigning a Heading1 style to a heading as you do marking it with a percentage sign?

The inline markup could be useful and is fairly unique, I suppose, but that hardly seems worth the distraction of making your text look as if it is composed of comic-strip-style curse words #?!&@!

I feel like I must be missing something here.

From someone who basically uses Scrivener like a plain-text editor…

Seriously? You must italicise a lot more than I do. One set of asterisks in twenty pages or whatever is hardly “riddled”. Besides, some do actually favour that look. Try to find that one lone italic phrase in twenty pages really fast. While you’re skimming around looking for the elusive and subtle font variation, I’m already there since I searched for “*”. With a syntax highlight engine like TextMate and Ulysses, skimming by eye is fairly efficient too, since “italics” can be made to look however one wishes for the purposes of editing. Some see little purpose in emulating print on the screen, as the usage for print conventions have an entirely different function than writing and editing.

As for being creative, there isn’t any functional difference while typing. You can make “italics” in the same fashion you do in a TextEdit: Cmd-i. While you might find a symbol distracting, I find font size changes and such to be distracting.

Not quite the same thing, when the compile/export engine can be told to handle the percent sign in any variety of fashions, even removing them if desired (good for author-use-only titles), just to mention one example.


I appreciate the reply. I think my confusion may have been that I interpreted the Ulysses marketing materials as implying that semantic text allows one to be more creative. Perhaps I misinterpreted.

As for text being “riddled” with markup… okay, I may have exagerated, but doesn’t each paragraph need a semantic style attached to it at the beginning, or is there a default style that is applied if no other style is indicated?

I guess what I’m taking from your comments is that the advantage of using text markup comes when you are ready to output your writing, but not in the composition. That may be the case, but since 98% of the job is the research and writing, while about 2% is formatting the output, it seems like you’d really better like all the other features of an application like Ulysses. I guess, since I’m writing this on the Srivener forum, I’m preaching to the choir.

Some people have problems fiddling with appearance and stylesheets all day, and for them having a stripped down input method more akin to a typewriter is beneficial to the creative process—just as people who have problems concentrating on a single chapter find full screen modes useful. It isn’t a universal statement, but for those that are always messing with the Header1 appearance instead of writing, it can be a boost.

Oh no. :slight_smile: Same as with Markdown on that score. Text that is unmarked is simply just a paragraph of regular body text. For most authors (especially fiction), there is very little difference between a semantic document and a WYSIWYG document—especially in a program like Scrivener that handles header generation for you. Some books might not even have a single “code” in the entire Scrivener project.

For you that might be; it’s a matter of taste. I find writing and reading in “plain-text” to be superior to mucking about with font palettes, ruler settings, Apple’s buggy list and table generators and so forth. All code keys are accessible from the home-row and can thus be touch typed. No arrow keys, no reaching for the mouse, no turning interface elements on and off. Adding a blockquote can be done as rapidly as one can type normally, without even stopping the creative flow. I also find reading marked-up text to be significantly easier than non-marked-up, for the same reason you dislike it. As a writer/editor, I want format and such to be obvious. Asterisks are obvious. As a reader, of course, I want italics. Totally different functional platform.

With Scrivener+MMD or Ulysses for that matter, output is probably far less than 2%, 99% of the time. The final stage of importing into Word and tearing your hair out for days over styles is completely eliminated, as is the fact that the Scrivener project is now “dead”. Ideally, production stays in the source project, it doesn’t “travel” from each iteration of the proof to the next.

Ah, now there is a good reason to consider the markup approach, one that totally hadn’t occured to me. That makes sense. Thank you.

BTW, do I recall properly that you were working on a primer for MMD? If so, is it available?

Thanks, again!

Bloom is back… and this time, it’s personal! We’re Dublin down on the action, and rest assured… the Dedalus will rise!



June 16.


Yeah, I really need to finish that. It is basically done; I just need to do good solid proof. Thanks for reminding me.

Let me know if you need any input, have questions, or - more likely - found bugs that need fixing.


I tried very hard to like Ulysses (pre-Scrivener). But being unable to type simple italics, and getting a few abusive messages on the forum from other users when I suggested this might be an idea, put me off. I don’t know if this is the case with 2 but it wasn’t correct that you could set up a tag to set italics the same way as you can in a normal word processor. In order to that you had to select the text to italicise. You couldn’t turn italics or a tag on or off before typing, which is what I do normally.

Sheesh. I just tried italics in 2. Yes, you can set up Command-I for italics. But all that does is put you in between whatever format marks you choose to represent italics. When you want to move onto the next unitalicised text you have to physically move the insertion mark outside the formatting tags. Madder than Mick Mad the Maddest Man in Madtown.

It’s just a fundamentally different philosophy, bodsham. Once you go down the road of plain text with markup, there’s no coming back. There really are good reasons underpinning that approach, but if it isn’t for you, then…

But it isn’t a fundamentally different philosophy. In V2 they say you can have italics. It’s just you’re going to have to use them in a way that’s time-consuming, counter-intuitive and difficult.