Daedalus Touch 1.2: Markdown, ePub and iOS5

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.

Which brings me to… ePub. ePub is the HTML-based, open standard in electronic books. It’s what Apple chose for iBooks and what Amazon refuses to acknowledge, but I’ll get to that later. The important part is, that you can now export single or multiple sheets as well as single or multiple stacks to ePub and have them open as a *book* in iBooks.

The exporter will transform stack titles to chapters and sheet titles to sections, will generate a table of contents and also apply a nice layout/theme. You can of course both add some author information and choose any photo from your library as cover image. iBooks then is smart enough to recognize image dimensions, so there’s no stopping you from creating a square-looking book on that digital wooden shelf.

As for Amazon and its new KF8: We’re as baffled as everybody that they went with their own format instead of ePub. However, our exporter is more than capable to output KF8, so we will add support for the new Kindles with the next update.

That, I guess, means future-proof. :)

And that’s… a wrap.

Have fun,
Marcus

17 Responses to “Daedalus Touch 1.2: Markdown, ePub and iOS5”

  1. Rob says:

    Markus, love the Kindle or not, I have one (last generation) and I love the damn thing. For everything outside of book reading, it is terrible. As a book reader however, it is wonderful.

    What I would really like in Ulysses is a Kindle export function. The tags used by Amazon are here:

    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A1JPUWCSD6F59O

    I wish Amazon would use ePub, but hey, they are doing their best to protect their market, and to hell with the rest of us. All things considered, supporting their functionality would improve Ulysses further as part of my workflow.

    Best regards.

  2. goetz says:

    We’re also considering adding more ebook formats (KF8, mobi) to the existing ePub exporter. It shouldn’t be too hard since KF8 is based on HTML and CSS, just like ePub :) Since not all information regarding KF8 are public, we could not build an exporter yet. However, what you could do in the meantime is export your Ulysses documents with the Web Exporter and then use Amazon’s kindlegen tool (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000234621) to convert the files to the mobi format (Amazon’s current ebook format for Kindle, if I remember correctly).

  3. UnlikelyLass says:

    Out of curiosity, is there a way to set the author information from *inside* Daedalus? Or does that have to be done to the ePub file after generation?

    Thanks!

  4. CrazyD says:

    Wonderful job. Download it today via the App store. Have problems with exporting as an ePub file. The predefined tutorial stacks are working fine in iBooks. But while creating and exporting a new stack with 2-3 pages (it doesn’t matter how many), the iBooks displays a format error message while opening the file. iPad 2 with latest iOS 5.0.1

  5. Sean M Puckett says:

    The only thing that’s throwing me off my feed here is the formatting of Markdown in PDF files. Really quite rough with bullet indents being off, margins in general too wide and the base font size crazy large for print. Love the ePUB though with my test stack, they look brilliant… if only I could print them.

    Would be nice to have nested stacks which sounds crazy but would make working on multiple complex projects pretty sweet.

  6. Christophe says:

    Hello,

    Just great !

    But “The exporter will transform stack titles to chapters and sheet titles to sections, will generate a table of contents and also apply a nice layout/theme. ”

    Does that mean I have to create a stack per chapter ?? Sounds weird.

    i cated two stacks with two sheet titles for each and exporting as an epub didn’t generate the Table of contents.

    Could you please be more detailed on the procedure ?

    Thank you very luch,

    Chris

  7. Nienke Boomsma says:

    Add a Markdown keyboard utility bar (like Writing Kit) and you’ve got yourself a customer! :)

  8. Nienke Boomsma says:

    Wow, that is awesome! Is Markdown Extra supported? Footnotes would be cool to have.

  9. Johnny says:

    Hi folks, I was really excited to see the update and thx so much for markdown!
    One thing I would like to see is RTF support. This seems the only way to get what I have been writing into Mellel (apart from reconverting over and over on the Mac itself)… Unfortunately, until there’s _proper_ bibliography support on iOS (which will not be in the near future or ever), this step is necessary for me (and others, I presume), because we have to add stuff from our fancy biblio managers and reformat in all kinds of styles…
    And since you’re already implementing export options anyway (I can see why markdown to rtf is not the easiest thing to do), please add that one, I think you’d make a lot of people happy… (almost as happy as if you adopted the format as your basic one and allowed for italics via a context menu that pops up when a word or phrase is selected ;-))

  10. MiguelM says:

    Hi there,
    first of all, congrats for such a great app. I would like to go deeply on Markdown support because I’ve tried, for example, to insert footnotes and they are not displayed correctly.
    Would you mind listing markdown’s syntax supported by Daedalus Touch?
    Thank you very much

    • goetz says:

      Daedalus currently supports most the the features of Markdown (for a full rundown, see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax). However, some features are only of limited support:
      - Headers only work with the # in front (i.e., # Level 1 Heading, ## Level 2 Heading, …). Underlined headings are currently not supported.
      - No nesting of block quotes or lists.
      - Horizontal rule is only supported in ePub export (it is ignored in PDF export).
      - No support for images.

      Footnotes are not a feature of Markdown, but of MultiMarkdown. The next versions of Daedalus will hopefully bring much-improved support for Markdown and MultiMarkdown.

  11. I’m liking Daedalus Touch so far. Would like to see a few more visual set up options, like the ability to colour individual sheets, as you could then use them as a kind of index card system for story outlines, scenes etc. You still can, but colour coding is useful option and I imagine not too difficult to implement in future upgrades?

    Thanks!

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