Ulysses Gains Enhanced Blog Publishing and Session History Features
Popular writing app Ulysses today reached version 23, and this update improves its blog publishing features as well as the way session histories and writing goals are calculated.
For a while now, Ulysses has offered a writing goal feature to help writers foster a writing habit. The goal feature allows them to set a daily target – 500 words, say – and monitor their progress towards achieving it. Version 23 revamps the way the associated session history feature calculates those goals.
"Our original approach had a couple of design flaws," says lead developer Götz Fabian. "We must take numerous outlying factors into account, for example, when users sync through iCloud or collect material, which should not count toward their writing target. That's why a profound rewrite became necessary."
As well as providing a focused writing environment, Ulysses offers ways to publish texts from within the app to various blogging platforms. Version 23 refines the feature by indicating uploaded posts with a paper plane icon, making them easier to spot in the editor, while a text's publishing status now appears in the dashboard sidebar.
Users now also have the option to update previously published Ghost posts from within Ulysses. Up until now, updating was only available for WordPress, but the developers plan to add it for Micro.blog in the coming months.
Ulysses can be downloaded for free on the App Store, with version 23 rolling out to existing users today. After a 14-day trial period, a subscription is required to unlock the app on all devices. A monthly subscription costs $5.99, while a yearly subscription is $49.99.
Students can use Ulysses at a discounted price of $11.99 per six months. The discount is granted from within the app. Ulysses is also included in Setapp, the subscription-based service for Mac applications created by MacPaw.
Top Rated Comments
The one area where Ulysses truly shines in comparison to Scrivener is syncing. Ulysses sync has been pretty much bulletproof and almost freakishly instantaneous, while Scrivener's sync requires a bit of care and feeding if you don't want to have a bad time. And its project package format is wildly (seriously, don't do it or you're gonna have a bad time) incompatible with iCloud Drive, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, etc. It only works with Dropbox, and even then it needs a fair amount of hand holding if you're moving between devices. Still, once you get the knack of it, it's not a bad experience, it just feels a bit dated.
As for Obsidian being able to do "more" than Scrivener, that's a bit disingenuous, don't you think? Much of what Scrivener can do is niche, but if your workflow happens to fall within that niche there's really nothing else quite like it. I wouldn't even consider Obsidian (or Ulysses) a competitor to Scrivener, let alone an alternative. It's like saying a motorcycle is the superior alternative to a pickup truck. Well, sure, if you just need to get across town I suppose it is. But if you need to haul a sofa? Not so much. I could make the same argument about TextEdit and Notepad or even nano/pico as replacements for Scrivener and Ulysses, depending on what you're writing.
It seems quite strange to me to push a personal wiki / notes application as a replacement for a professional grade and highly specialized manuscript production package like Scrivener. Go take a look at Scrivener's project compilation function. They could probably spin "Compile..." off into a separate program and make a bunch of money on that alone. Check out all the ways you can tag scenes to keep track of their individual revision status. The way you can seamlessly add notes to any document that are visible in the main window at all times (if you want them to be). The way you can add a synopsis to each scene and then view those synopses on a virtual cork board that allows you to do drag and drop reordering. The way Scrivener can highlight parts of speech ("Linguistic Focus"). The way I can split the editor and work on two scenes at once side by side, or use a second document as a reference while I work. The list goes on and on.
Let me know when Obsidian can do all that. Until then the suggestion that Obsidian can do "more" than Scrivener is patently absurd. And, no, I have no vested interest in Scrivener or the company that makes it, but I do use it every day of my professional life. I'd be happy to switch away to something better and more capable, but someone's going to have to release it first.
Yes, Ulysses and iA Writer look amazing (which is important for me when it comes to drafting, I need a clean, focussed workspace), but... raw markup? Yeeeesh. And a subscription! Why? At least Scrivener is a one-off purchase.
I'm actually trying to draft my current book in Pages, after another writer friend swore by it. It certainly has the nicest font rendering of any Mac app.
I haven’t tried Ulysses for a highly structured project in a year or so. Last time I tried it I found the organizational abilities too simplistic. It felt like everything was too flat. Just a long list of files. I couldn’t “feel” the structure, if that makes sense. It felt like a table with a bunch of crap thrown onto its surface rather than a filing cabinet with everything slotted into its proper place.
In Scrivener I enjoy the clearly delineated structure. It’s the old fashioned file/folder metaphor, but it works.
Plus, Ulysses put me off by lumping everything I’ve ever written in one shared workspace. So maybe I do need a bit of a distraction free environment in that sense because when I’m working on a project I want a dedicated workspace for it. That’s just the way my mind works.
Anyway, maybe Ulysses has changed for the better. I should check it out again.
The Shortcuts integration, clean U.I., and flexible smart collections make it my go-app application for writing. I’m happy to support an app I use so much.