Some info about Daedalus touch, in no particular order

Daedalus touch iPad

Thought I’d share some stuff.
List style.
Hope it answers a few pending questions.
I’ll start with creative direction:

  • We will target the iPad as a fully fledged platform. This is not a mobile Mac, nor is it a mere extension of a desktop computer. It’s a device that holds its own. We will therefore treat Daedalus touch as a fully fledged, standalone app. This will go full circle: write – revise – submit. You’ll be able to create long (and longer) texts as well as snippets, so you might very well create your next novel with this, but you might also just use it as a notebook.
  • Some limitations apply. One: Daedalus will not feature any kind of style engine. No RTF, no semantic/syntax coloring, nothing. So there’s no highlights, no italics, no headlines, no lists, no quotes, no annotations, nothing. Blame Apple.
  • Two: For the time being, there will only be a single layer of content. No comments, no attachments, no footnotes, so this will not be Ulysses mobile HD. And there won’t be a scribbling/drawing or hand writing layer either. So if you’re looking for a rich environment with embedded/attached media or extensive support for metadata, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
  • Three: There will be no such thing as folders. No folders, no nested folders, no smart folders. There will be something akin to projects, and each such “project” may hold an infinite amount of what you could call documents. Initially, these “documents” will be sorted by creation date, though users may freely rearrange their documents. Version 1.0 will not allow for the movement of documents between projects (other than copy and paste).
  • In part, these limitations will be compensated by the way you’ll interact with content. Example: Instead of using dedicated notepads, you might just create a “note” document and (sort of) attach it to a “main” document. You may then easily switch between these two documents.
  • We will incorporate several means to export your writings. Email is an obvious candidate, Dropbox (etc.) is another, but we’re also looking into more advanced options, such as PDF and ePub. These might not make it into 1.0, though, and don’t expect complex conversion options; there’s no style engine, remember?
  • We will offer syncing (e.g. Dropbox), but this will not be our main concern. Yes, it syncs, and yes, you can continue writing in and from another app, mobile or desktop, but we will not do much in terms of integrity checks, merging, versions, or anything remotely advanced. We will update files and create new ones, and that’s about it. This is in part due to our fully fledged app approach: We see folks using the iPad as their main writing machine, with syncing being a means of backing up. Mostly.
  • Speaking of main writing machine: We initially intended to offer advanced support for the keyboard dock. Think shortcuts. However, there’s no public API for that, and as long as that doesn’t change, such keyboard controls are out. What you can expect, though, is an interface that works equally well in all four of the iPad’s screen modes (landscape, portrait, on-screen-, dock-, bluetooth keys).
  • We will have a strong focus on design. We’re not talking about pretty purdy eye candy, though, but design. E.g. in landscape, you won’t have to type with your head constantly turned right.
  • We will also have a strong focus on speed. As noted elsewhere, Daedalus won’t break if you’re doing edits in the middle of a 16.000 word document.
  • Tidbit: One of our very first UI concepts included a button-less interface. The intention was to go all-out gesture based. Granted, this didn’t work too well, but Daedalus will still feature what we call the less-buttoned interface: I.e. while editing, there will be no buttons whatsoever. Also, there won’t be any sort of constantly visible documents list, no menu or back button, nor will there be a fullscreen switch. As a matter of fact, Daedalus will always run in what you could call fullscreen.

And that’s it for now. More to come, but I need to go watch the football match.
Have fun. We do.

18 Responses to “Some info about Daedalus touch, in no particular order”

  1. Cronopio says:

    Sounds great to me, and I want it now!

  2. Brian says:

    Sounds great. Looking forward to seeing a screencast.

  3. Amaru says:

    Me too.

  4. Mark says:

    My two feature requests:
    - password protection
    - MobileMe sync

    And a suggestion:
    - take a look at the iPad app ‘Manuscript for iPad’ so you know what is a bad implementation of the same idea — download at your own risk (of wasting that much cash, I have already done it so you don’t have to… ).

    I believe you are on the good track, and I hope the best for your app.

    • Marcus says:

      Thanks Mark. We don’t want to limit syncing to one service, so MobileMe is definitely on our list. I need to be honest here, though. We haven’t had the time yet to check out its implementation, so we don’t know if MobileMe will make it into 1.0.

      As for password protection… I think it’s really hard to do in a single-app environment (such as the iPad) without unnerving the user too much. Wouldn’t you end up entering your password whenever you’d switch out of the application and back in? The iPad’s multi-tasking approach won’t help much in this regard.

      And is there even any good, usable, unobstrusive implementation of password protection available?

      Dunno. I’d look into it, but I would really need some good examples first. Or at least some proper usage scenarios. Would you need this on an application basis? Per document? Per folder? See… maybe you don’t want a password protected launch, but rather only protect single documents, on-the-fly, different passwords for each.

      Let me know.

  5. harley says:

    Wow, I’m really looking forward to Daedalus, I don’t however understand the bullet point about the lack of a style engine. There are several writing/journaling app’s on the AppStore right now that offer justification, fonts, font colors, underline, strikethrough, etc…

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not overly concerned about the lack of a style engine as I often prefer to just bang out some words. It would be nice however, to have some form of “Open In” functionality included in the app should we choose to directly send our text over to another App such as Pages for formatting, etc..

    None the less, I’m really excited about Daedalus.

    Thanks again for all of your efforts and for plugging away on what will no doubt be a fantastic writing tool for the iPad.

    PS – Please don’t forget to include a Word Counter – that may have already been mentioned before, I’m not certain.

  6. Marcus says:

    About the style engine: I only know of Pages (RTF, uses a in-house implementation, not freely available) and several apps which seem to use some sort of .DOC editor, maybe a Google Docs engine, dunno.

    Which Apps in particular are you talking about? :)

    To our knowledge there currently is no publicly available system that allows text formating while you write OR different styles within a single text field. Displaying formatted text is no problem however.

    Apart form that: Word count is on the list, of course, as is “open in”. :)

  7. Gaijin says:

    Hi, really looking forward to this. I now write in Pages in iPad, which, in all honesty, isn’t too bad at all. Especially after the latest update.

    Knowing you guys, I know your implementation will be excellent. The initial descriptions are very enticing.

  8. Thomas says:

    Please hurry up developing, there is a need!

    • ratnachuda says:

      I’m currently trying out Ulysses that I bought, partly thinking it was an IPad App, not your fault, just Apple’s for not being clearer about the App store).
      Anyway to get back to Ulysses, I’m copying in four long interviews, to draw out material for a book.
      Once I’ve done that I would like an IPad device, like Daedalus, that will allow me to upload from Ulysses to continue creative writing whilst away from home
      As I can’t find a way ‘StoryMill’, my other Mac friendly writing application can do this Any chance of this with Daedulus?

      • Marcus says:

        Righ now, we have no plans for an automatic sync between Ulysses and Daedalus, if that’s what you’re looking for. Also, Daedalus has no set ETA, so it would be of no great help to you right now anyway.

        For the time being, I suggest you look at a way to export single documents to DropBox or such, then find an app on the iPad which accesses just that. Less than ideal, I know, but still…

  9. Markus says:

    It’s a great app and enhances the flow of creativity enormously.

    What puzzels me though is:
    Sending a Text via Mail to my Mac and opening it with Pages oder Text edit
    doesn’t communicate the german umlaute – ü,ä,ö,ß – correctly.
    That’s unnecessary extra work right now.

    How to fix this?



  10. Mikael says:

    Its a gorgeous app with a lot of festures but the dealbreaker for me is the lack of password, preferably on stacks. And it annoyed me with “Blame Apple”. Don’t blame apple! Several other apps have rich text so blaming it is bullshit. Its a limitstion – so work around it.

    • Marcus Fehn says:

      Thanks for the kind words. Certainly makes us reconsider our stance on the subject…

  11. Tommaso Gnoli says:

    Beautiful app. The best writing environment for iPad. But please, change icon! It looks paltry and confusero on a retina display. Thank you.

  12. Mia says:

    Please considering adding a password option. To individual stacks specifically seems most useful.
    While the app looks nice so far, I cannot fully commit to it (and buy Ulysses 3) without that option.