07/26: The state of this blog

July 26th, 2012

Published/Drafts ration: Meh.
Ridiculous published/draft ratio (non-focus not a pun, but sorry)

Hot off the heels of this forum post comes this very blog post with pretty much the same base notion but different… different… aw, whatever.

Thing is, we’re currently re-structuring large parts of our web presence. We’re switching from our current “all in one” approach to a more decentralized setting, with each app getting its own, custom-built site and development blog.

These blogs will purely focus on development and release information for their respective apps. We feel that this will far better suit us, the apps, and ultimately the users.

Also, this blog here was some sort of all-and-nothing. We never really managed to bring it into focus: It was a company outlet, a news-board, and we never got around to add a personal touch. We didn’t rant much, we didn’t discuss broader development issues, we didn’t discuss application design apart from our own apps.

This sucks, and we know it, so we’ll be closing it down within the next couple of weeks.

As for personal touch… we’ve got something cooking, but in the meantime you might just follow us on Twitter: Max @macguru17, Marcus @the_soulmen, Friedrich @hdrxs, see ya!

05/26: Ulysses Mac App Store Permanent Price Drop

May 26th, 2012

Ulysses Mac App Store Ratings US

We’ve decided to permanently drop Ulysses’ Mac App Store price to 9,99 Euro, which makes a nice tag. Sadly, it transforms into an aesthetically less pleasing $11.99 in “the States”, but we’ll get over it.

Whatever though, that’s it, so please start spamming our inboxes with “how could you”s and “this is too cheap”s and so on. Also don’t forget to tell all of your friends what a great app this is, and how they can now get it for a bargain, and that it will change their lives forever.

Thanks for your ongoing support!
We love you.
Marcus

03/8: Showtime!

March 8th, 2012


The end is nigh… stay with us.

I know, I know, this post should’ve been titled “It’s been nine years! Pt. 3″, but what’s in a title, right? And let’s be honest: Where’s the fun in serving expectations?

So there you go. A sneak peak into the future of Ulysses. We’re excited beyond words, so I’ll stop right here and just invite you to come join us on the next episode of our fantastic journey.

Some links to go with that video:
http://www.ulyssesapp.com/ (Ulysses 3 devblog)
http://vimeo.com/soulmen/ulyssesapp (Vimeo version)
http://youtu.be/BbJKMSJEf3E (YouTube version)

Cheers,
Marcus

02/8: It’s been nine years! Pt. 2

February 8th, 2012

Ulysses 1.5
Ulysses 1.5 — look familiar?

Last time around, I wrote that Ulysses hasn’t changed much since its introduction. I’d like to elaborate on that, given the fact that we just shipped 2.1.1. :)

When we released version 1.0, we did so with a pretty precise concept of what the app should do, and what it could become. For example, there never was a question, whether RTF could eventually make the cut or not, even if a “vast majority” of users loudly demanded it — we wouldn’t do it, period.

We also had a very clear idea of how to handle updates, namely that we wanted to do as few as humanly possible. People should *write*, not update.

As a result, any feature request, as simple and precise as it may have been, has always been treated as a mere shell for “here’s something the users wants to accomplish”. We looked at the “why” instead of the “what” and made a decision based on the overall concept and direction.

We’re also pretty good at statistics and probability calculation, so we just knew, that he who cries loudest is not to be considered “the majority”, even if the cries are echoed by various sites and forum posts. We also fully understand how positive feedback is rare and mostly broad, while negative feedback is generally very detailed, and how this might get to you (and your product), if you don’t watch out.

So whenever we added features, changed behaviors or touched the interface, and even when we rewrote large chunks of the application, we did so with the greatest respect to the vast majority of silent users. We never (!) compromized on this. We never (!) went for “possible larger audience” at the expense of silent happy users.

We had this one line, to which we still commit:

If there’s just a single customer out there who likes what we do, we will not take the app and transform it into something else. *This here* is what they bought, and by all means, they should be allowed to keep it.

So today, after nine years, you can still make Ulysses look and work as it did on day one. Hide the collection browser, hide the toolbar, keep your mouse off the notes’ popup, and you’re pretty much there: Just a grown-up, mature version of Ulysses 1.0.

And that’s where we are.

Now, however grown-up Ulysses has become, it’s also starting to show its age. Not so much visually — I think we adapted rather nicely, if slowly –, but technically, conceptually and generally overall… ish…ly. He.

For one, a lot of functionality we provided in 2003 is now being offered by Mac OS X itself: Auto-save, resume on launch, fullscreen mode, auto-update. This is now common to all apps, it’s just built-in, nothing special anymore.

Then there’s all the new system stuff that we can’t implement easily, because of how things had to be done back in the days: Versions, iCloud, iOS syncing, to name a few. There’s just no sane way to implement iCloud sync and Versions, and we can’t make Ulysses’ documents accessible for e.g. Daedalus, because of how we implemented tabs, filters and collections and all of that.

And then there are the dead ends: features that cause some problems but can’t be cut, because users rely on them. Also new ideas and fully legit requests we can’t fulfill, because of the limits of our current implementation. Think Markers and RTF notes for the former. Think multiple open projects for the latter.

Plus… the market has changed. When we introduced Ulysses to the world, there wasn’t much in terms of similar apps, and as such there wasn’t much of user’s experience and expectation. I remember heated forum discussions about the usefulness of a “fullscreen mode” as well as “these tag-things — give me RTF or give me death”.

Today, there’s a whole category of fullscreen writing apps on the Mac App Store, and Markdown is used almost everywhere, give or take a flavor or offspring.

Ulysses was a niche product when it launched. Its concept, ideas and large parts of its functionality are mainstream now.

Then there’s us, Max and me. We also have evolved. We have evolved from two guys, working at seperate places in their spare time, communicating only via email, to a real, perfectly healthy company with paid employees.

We even got kids now. :)

We still share the same passion and love for our products and our users, but we, too, have different experiences and expectations than we had at the start of this fantastic journey.

It’s 2012, and the world will come to an end is a very different place than it was nine years ago. That’s how it goes: Things change, others may come to an end. We need to adopt. You need to adopt.

So, yeah, it’s been nine years, alright.
Time for a change.
And change it will.
Ulysses… it will change.

To be continued.

01/27: It’s been 9 years! Pt. 1

January 27th, 2012

Ulysses Mockup 2002
The mockup that started it all, summer 2002

Nine years ago, early 2003, I posted on the macnn forums, asking for beta testers for a new kind of writing application for Mac OS X. On June 1st of that year, we released Ulysses 1.0.

Let’s try and put that in context, shall we? :)

Continue reading »

01/20: iBooks Author

January 20th, 2012

First things first: No, we won’t support any sort of export to iBooks Author, because we can’t. There’s just no way to do it, as the file format is proprietary, and the import options within the app are limited to Pages and Word files. That’s right, there’s no option to import plain text files or even HTML (which the format is based on).

Yeah, sucks, but that’s the way it is. Ask Apple what they were thinking.

Having said that, I’m pretty excited about iBooks Author, because it looks like a nice and easy way to do some rather fancy eBooks. The image gallery widget is great, for example, and so are the options to create coffee table books or (something I’m really looking forward to) children’s books. Not having to fiddle around with CSS will be awesome, and the way they handle file export (send via email or just publish to the iBookstore) are just great.

Novels? Not so much.

Which leads me to that dreaded piece of EULA:

Continue reading »

10/26: Daedalus Touch 1.2: Markdown, ePub and iOS5

October 26th, 2011

Daedalus Touch iPad ePub Export iBooks

So, there it is: Daedalus Touch 1.2 — available now at every iTunes App Store known to man. Only on iPad. Only on iOS5.

This is the second feature-update we’ve put out since the original release. We’ve added lots of stuff, but the two most prominent new features are Markdown support and ePub export. So allow me to elaborate on these a bit.

First off, we’ve added Markdown as an export option, available if you export to PDF or ePub. You can choose it by switching the “style” setting from “none” to, well… Markdown. We support most of Markdown’s syntax: Six levels of headers, ordered and unordered lists, links, emphasis, code, block quotes, line breaks, you name it.

There’s no support for images, as Daedalus can’t handle images and iOS won’t let you access anything outside of an app’s own space. There’s also neither support for tables nor for nested lists or nested block quotes within nested lists of block quotes. More on that in another post.

Then again, you’ll be pleased to know that we now *do* support all kinds of special file.extensions. So if you’re in the camp of .mdown or .md, we got you covered — during import, synching and export.

Continue reading »

10/26: Kids’Player gone free

October 26th, 2011

We’ve decided to offer Kids’Player free of charge. Probably was a bad idea to try and grab a couple of cents in the first place, but we wanted to experiment and see how something like this would fare.

Anyway, we haven’t updated the app since its release, even though we got some ideas we’ll be implementing once we find the time. But it’s still a nice little player for kids, especially for audio books and the like, or really anything where skipping sucks. Which of course means that it’s just as great for these famous concept albums you used to enjoy when you were a kid. ;)

Feel free to leave a review if you download and like it.

Thanks,
Marcus

10/12: Ulysses 2.1 App Store version released almost two weeks ago!

October 12th, 2011

Ulysses 2.1 Mac App Store

Ha, can you believe this? We totally missed to announce the immediate availability of Ulysses 2.1 on the App Store.

We were so excited and thrilled and everything – appearing in New & Noteworthy, getting an App Store feature and great reviews, dancing, partying –, we just didn’t… manage.

And once the initial dust settled, we dove head-in to create Daedalus 1.2, which is in final stages of development right now, with some great enhancements and additions, which is lots of… work, actually.

So: We missed the announcement!

Good thing these are the interwebs, and we can fix this terrible slip-up in no time and real time. Yeah! Just imagine this being a print publication, and we had forgotten to announce the October release back in July (’cause that’s how this works in print, you know), and we just *now* realized and… HOW COULD PEOPLE EVEN LIVE BACK THEN?!?

Pfhew. And whatever.

Ulysses 2.1, available now at the Mac App Store, for the insanely low price of only $19.99 or whatever that translates to in your local currency. Wobster’s dictionary lists it under “a steal, really”.

Have fun.
We do.

Cheers,
Marcus

09/20: Ulysses 2.1 released via Sparkle (aka non-App Store)

September 20th, 2011

Title says it all. :)
App Store version is waiting for review; fingers crossed that it will see release within the week.

One thing worth noting: We’ve merged Ulysses core and Ulysses standard with this version. So all core users who install the update, will have the full version afterwards. No extra cost, of course.

Oh, and Ulysses 2.1 requires an Intel Mac running at least OS X 10.6. So if you happen to run PPC/10.5 or such, you might not see the update. Just so you know.

Have fun everybody, and thanks a lot for your patience.
Cheers,
Marcus

PS: Our website still features 2.0, since that’s what’s currently available on the Mac App Store. We will update the site as soon as we get approved…


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