We have just released Ulysses 12.2 on both the App Store and Mac App Store. The update ships with well over 100 improvements and bug fixes, mostly ironing out smaller annoyances, or slightly tuning existing features.
Most of you probably won’t notice a thing – because you never experienced any of the problems we have solved, or you never use the features we improved, or because the change is so minimal, that you just wouldn’t notice.
As we nevertheless spent a huge amount of time on all these tiny fixes, I’d like to take the opportunity and give you a small behind-the-scenes-look: I’ll walk you through five of the recent changes, which small subset of users they effected, and what it took us to actually fix each issue in order to improve Ulysses for this particular group of users.
We released Ulysses 12.1 for iOS today. It should already be available on the App Store, so go grab it, it’s one hell of an update.
The headline feature may be full support for iPhone X, and yes, we love how it looks on Apple’s latest, but we had already done the main part with v12, so let’s not spend too much time on that.
It’s ready for iPhone X, Face ID and all, so go play with it and have fun (the device rocks hard, we know, so go, go, go)!
So today we have released Ulysses 12. And as is good tradition around the house, I’d like to talk a little about what’s new and improved. And since this release is mostly about changes to Ulysses on iOS, I’ll start with a cross-platform addition, so Mac-only users can go home early…
Editor Image Previews
One of the most requested features among our users has always been the ability to view images within the editor. I don’t want to bore you with the specifics of why it took us so long, because it doesn’t matter anymore — it’s finally here.
By default, images that reside in their own paragraph, will be rendered as black & white thumbnails, while images that exist within text passages, will continue to be rendered as our beloved IMG-bubble.
Why black & white? And why just thumbnails? To keep you in the text. During development, we found that normalizing all previews will increase text immersion, while still providing enough context. This is especially true for colorful themes in the editor, which tend to easily clash with full color images and thus require users to tinker with formats etc. — something we wanted to avoid in the first place. We are aware, of course, that our approach won’t fit all uses (diagrams come to mind), so consider this a first step, and we’re gladly awaiting your feedback.
Yesterday, Apple released iOS 11. Needless to say, we’re hard at work bringing Ulysses to Apple’s latest and greatest, but we’re not quite ready yet. So I’d like to tell you a bit about what you can expect. Release? Soon.
As you may know, iOS 11 has a strong focus on iPad — from revised Multitasking to Drag and Drop, it’s all about the big screen. Since we had to change quite a few things anyway (large table headers, spring-loading groups, yay), we took the opportunity and updated Ulysses’ interface in various places.
The first thing you may notice is how several buttons are gone or have traded places. We’re now much more compliant with how iOS handles things, which is a good thing, even if it takes some getting used to, if you’re a veteran user.
Most of these changes were a long time coming (e.g. “Edit” on top), while others were logical results of adopting iOS 11 (three-pane editing on iPad Pro). But we’re also introducing several deliberate changes and fixes to make working with Ulysses even more streamlined and, ultimately, more productive.
We have just released a new version of Ulysses. With it comes a switch to a subscription model, which unlocks Ulysses on all devices. As an existing user, you are eligible for a lifetime discount, and, if you have just recently purchased Ulysses, we are offering free-use periods to compensate for your previous investment.
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.
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.