Ulysses 2.6: WordPress Publishing, Dropbox on iOS, New Typewriter Mode

Screenshot of Ulysses, showing this WordPress blog post in a preview window

Two and a half years ago, I took the plunge. I did what we were told not to do. I did what everybody who’s been in this business for more than two weeks knows not to do. I did it anyway.

I announced a new feature before it was ready for prime time.

To quote (oh, this hurts):

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.

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My Virtual Acceptance Speech During This Year’s Apple Design Awards (WE WON, YEEEEEHA!)

Max, Götz and Friedrich on stage at WWDC

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.
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Whoomp! There It Is…

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…

Ulysses for Mac 2.2

The latest version of Ulysses for Mac just went live on the Mac App Store. It features, among other things, direct publishing of drafts to the Medium network. You can read all about it on Medium, so I won’t go into depth here, but needless to say we’re very excited. Medium publishing will also make it to the iPad and (forthcoming) iPhone versions, of course. We just didn’t have the time to ship all three at once this time around…

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Out Now: Ulysses 2.1 for Mac and iPad


Whoops, there it is – the Backup Update. And the DOCX Update. And the Collapsible Folders on iPad Update. So it’s three updates rolled into one, on two platforms. That’s quite a confusing set of numbers, and I could go on and on and babble about math and stuff, when all I really want to say is: “IT’S OUT! GO GET IT ALREADY!

But you knew that when you scanned the headline, so what else is new?

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Push the Button

Earlier today, at around 7:00 AM Central European Time, Max logged into iTunes Connect and decided it was time to finally release Ulysses 2.0. He had a sip from his WWDC-themed coffee mug, blinked a few times, took a deep breath and hit that on-screen button, which would push the app onto the various App Stores across the world.

Max then closed the lid of his MacBook Pro, kissed his wife good-bye for the day and went to see his kids to Kindergarten. But not before he shared a small screenshot with the rest of the team, accompanied by his favorite four letter word: “BOOM!”

So as you read this, Ulysses should already be available for download – on both Mac and iPad. iTunes usually needs a while, before its multi-trillion-apps database updates its gazillion-trillion-entries search index, but it’s there, we’ve seen it, people are already getting it, writing rave reviews in it, and generally having a great time with it. At least we hope they do. Heck, yes, they do!

And while reviews are starting to trip in, and our Twitter stream is picking up pace (and our devices have all been silenced in the process), I’ll take the opportunity to thank a couple of people, whithout whom this thing would never have come around.

First off, naturally, our team, the whole team, and nothing but the team. So here’s to Lina, Frank and Lucas, who kept their cool during the last twelve months of support and beta requests. To Friedrich and Götz, who coded the hard parts, from sync to iPad UI and almost everything in-between. To Rebekka, who kept posting and newslettering and pushing us to consider and approve every word and release note, even when we didn’t want to read or write or know no more. And of course to Max, who held it together when I could not.

I’d also like to thank Jono Hunt for his six month calm, during which we created, tweaked, remodelled, tweaked, reshaped and further tweaked the new app icon. We believe it’s a damn fine icon, and I’ll do a post-mortem soon, where I’ll go through the whole process (and how long this has been coming).

Last not least here’s to our friends and families for all your ongoing support!

I’m awfully proud of what we have accomplished here. Some of this stuff is crazy shit, seriously. Stuff you won’t notice, because it took us months to get right, so you wouldn’t notice. And though this was hard work, folks, all you should probably care about is: Does it work?

I hope it does work. Work for you. Work for us.

So now this one’s finished and out in the wild, it’s time to start the next one. The small one. The one that completes the lineup. Yep, that one. After the break.

Happy writing, everybody!

From the Lab: A Call for Styles

Style Exchange

Hi there,

this is Style from the Ulysses Style Exchange. Ok, just kidding, but here’s the deal: We’re in the final stages now, and the Style Exchange should go live within the next two weeks.

In order to offer our users a couple of styles to download from the get-go, we need, uhm, styles. Your styles.

So if you have created an export style for Ulysses III and would like to share, now’s the time to step up, attach it to an email, and drop us a line – no questions asked.

It doesn’t matter which export format you’ve chosen to support, by the way. If we get 100 styles for PDFs and none for ePub, so be it.

Just make sure to include your name, so we can give proper credit.

Please note, that we can’t offer any incentive here, besides being among the first to have your styles featured on the Ulysses Style Exchange. And while this may not mean much to some, it may mean the world to others.

You may also get a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing you’ve helped test and ultimately build the world’s greatest and most important website for exchanging Ulysses’ style files.

Because that’s what this will be. Ultimately.

So, yeah, styles. Your styles. Attach to email. Send to us. Make the world a nicer place.

Have fun,

From the Lab: NaNoWriMo, here we come

ulysses iii writing goals

You know, ever since we launched Ulysses, people were asking for writing goals. Like… not as in “give me a reason to write, I don’t know what I want to accomplish, if I want to be an author at all, if I want to create a novel, a screen play or just brainstorm all day long”, but in that good old trivial sense of “oh dear, your app makes me write so much with such an ease, I’m loosing track of time and my character limit”.

And we said: “Haha, dear user, we hear you, but why don’t you just write down your character limit someplace, and then check the character count and compare the two? A little math no harm doth, see?”

But the users answered: “We want progress! No, we mean… we want to check progress! No, wait, we want… aw, screw you, give me writing goals or give me death! That’s a deliberate twist of a Patrick Henry quote I pulled from a Frank Miller comic, by the way.”

And we said: “Whut?”

And so it went, for more than a decade. And many a moon passed over NaNoWriMo and its crazy 50.000 words minimum, with no harm doneth in a little math doneth. Writers wrote, and writers mathematized, and no goals, no deaths, no more Patrick Henry quotes.

But the seed… the seed was planted. And seeds grow after they can.

And so, without any further ado (but, quite frankly, only because I’ve almost reached my 1500 character limit), we hereby announce writing goals for Ulysses III 1.2 – and no, these are NOT “in the works”, but already done.

And I… I am done, too. See?

From the Lab: Editing Keywords on Multiple Sheets

multi sheet multi keyword

One of the most requested features since launch has been: “Let me edit keywords for multiple sheets at once.”

And we nodded. And nodded. And said it was coming. Because it was sketched, and mocked up, and laid out since waaaaaaaay before the initial release. It didn’t make it into 1.0, and it then got buried someplace between a sheet list rework and the option to actually *show* keywords in the sheet list in the first place.

So, with 1.2, we will finally enable keyword editing for multiple sheets at once – right from the sheet list. Select some sheets. Bring up the contextual menu. Select “Keywords…”. Edit away.

Keywords that are present on all sheets, will be available in the familiar keyword editing field. Adding a keyword will apply it to all selected sheets. Keywords that are only present on some sheets, will be shown in a list below, unaffected from any editing.

If you want to apply any of the grey keywords to all selected sheets, click on it. Bam! ;)

It’s the simple things…

Change in plans: Announcing Ulysses 1.2, with a twist

Sheet table rework

As mentionened on Twitter, we hit a road block with preparing Ulysses III for its mobile counterpart. To ensure seemless compatibility, we had to refactor the sidebars to an unforseen extent, which made us loose quite a lot of time that was meant to be spent on version 1.2 for desktop.

So in order to get 1.2 out the doors, we were left with the following options: Either pause porting Ulysses III to iOS, or pause creating the Style Exchange, or pause developing the blog exporter. Or, well, simply continue and push the planned release date back a couple of weeks.

Needless to say, it was a tough decision, but we finally went for option three: Pause the blog exporter.

This is stupid insofar as we announced 1.2 “for the bloggers”, but the other options would have been far worse: Pushing back release would not bring the blog exporter anytime sooner. Halting the iOS port would mean pushing back the planned iOS release for quite some time, since we need to consider WWDC, holidays, etc.

And halting the Style Exchange would mean removing all of the new Theme & Style stuff from 1.2, essentially pushing its release back to the next version.

So, no blog exporter in 1.2, but…

On Twitter, we also said 1.2 would be a cool update still. And we believe it will. Besides making Theme editing far easier and introducing the Style Exchange, we have added tons of user requests, such as sorting the sheet table and display of creation dates. We have added the option to display keywords right within the sheet table, edit keywords for multiple sheets, and introduced an option to set the amount of preview lines being displayed – it’s 1 to 6, just so you know.

We have also added some much needed fixes to how the editor responds to sidebar selection, so Ulysses is now more in line with how Mail.app behaves. And we have have added writing targets/goals to sheets among other things, but that’s another post altogether.

1.2 is slated to hit the App Store in April. Yay!