11/26: Ulysses going Mac App Store…

November 26th, 2010

Ulysses Mac App Store

Who would have thought that our first AppStore-App will be Ulysses?
Soon to be followed by Daedalus.

What else to say? We made it. Finally. Wish us luck!

11/18: What’s taking us so long?

November 18th, 2010

waiting for daedalus touch

Some may wonder why we haven’t updated the blog with info about Daedalus touch, or why we stil haven’t announced a release date yet.

The reason is simple: We’re aiming for very high ground. And we’re not just creating another Mail.app for writers here. There are no blueprints for what we do, no interface samples to draw from, no similar apps already in the AppStore.

A lot of what we’re doing involves lots and lots of research, user testing, trial and error. We’re charting new ground — which sometimes means leaving it again.

During the last couple of weeks we worked harder than we ever had to, all in order to implement concepts that didn’t work out, or stuff you won’t even notice was hard to pull off. iOS development is fun, but the restrictions are immense, especially when chosing to leave the throtten paths.

As an example, we wanted to go for the “less-buttoned interface”. We wanted to hide buttons as much as possible, creating an always-fullscreen writing experience. We had four buttons, one in each corner of the screen, and they would fade in and out based on certain actions of the user.

We implemented it, ran with it for some time.
Then we ditched it.

It just didn’t work, as we couldn’t create a consistent experience, and the usability troubles weren’t worth the benefits. So as much as we had loved to go for that ideal of a pure, blank, all-text interface — we’ll just use a standard top-of-the-screen button bar now.

Or Daedalus’ search system. You’ll just use it and take it for granted, and the countless hours that went into it, the cursing, the sweat, the sheer anger at that stubborn touchscreen device that wouldn’t do as we told it, the rewrites, the now-useless first, second, third version of code — you won’t see that.

That’s good and all, ’cause if you don’t notice that work, it means we managed to get it right. Just know that we’re working our asses off here to produce a great user experience, and to ensure the kind of quality you’ve come to expect from us and from iPad apps in general.

Bottom line: If you hoped for a November release, just in time for NaNoWriMo or such, you already know you’ve been out of luck. We’re done with the editor and basic file mangement/organization. We’re also done with search and settings. We’re missing sync, folder mangement, export and some bonus stuff I can’t talk abnout.

We hope to have a beta ready by year’s end.

09/29: Some stuff I’m working on…

September 29th, 2010

Styles menu Daedalus touch

Messing around with UIMenuController.

Tapping on “Style…” would bring up several styling options for the selected text. Either plain RTF styles, such as “bold/italic/underline”, or semantic styles such as “emphasize”. It could also host text insertions; think of tags, which would be inserted before/after the selection.

These options could either be shown in the current menu (replacing cut/copy/paste/etc.) or in a larger popover which still points to the selection. The first option being much more direct, if pretty limited. The second option could hold more options and could go WYSIWYG on the selection. It could even hold the basic format palette of B/U/I, text alignment, lists/intendation. It might break in landscape, though, and the initial menu might get awfully long in certain languages.

Other caveats/questions: Would it act as a switch (undo “bold” when already bold), would it be fixed styles (or would the user need to customize the available options), would it work on a selection of zero (just the insertion point), would it allow paragraph-based styling (headline) and so on.

But I like the idea, as it would allow text manipulation without having a button bar visible. It would also be much more direct: manipulations would happen in visible context and would thus be seperate from nav-bar buttons (which might then only manipulate global options such as view, spell-check on/off etc.). Dunno, but it could well hold a basic set of markdown tags… hm.

Please note that this is filed under Research & Development, so don’t expect to find it in any shipping product. :)

09/24: daedalusapp.com

September 24th, 2010

We’ve just launched a dedicated teaser site for all things Daedalus: daedalusapp.com — not much to see yet, except for the app’s icon. If you can spot it, he.

We’ve also set up a dedicated forum, where we’ll try and answer all pending questions.

09/12: Some info about Daedalus touch, in no particular order

September 12th, 2010

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).
  • Continue reading »

09/9: Hey folks, marvel at the first ever Daedalus touch screenshot!

September 9th, 2010

Introducing Daedalus touch for iPad

Ok, ok, it’s only a portion of a screenshot, but you get the picture. This is what text editing will look like, and apart from feeling awfully funny, hehe, we’ll use this as a starting point for upcoming screens. We’ll build from here, so to say. It’s a conceptual… thing, you know; fits with the underlying philosophy of the app. Can’t say more, don’t want to spoil too much.

Insider: Form follows forums from froums.
Thanks for watching.

08/30: Announcing Daedalus touch

August 30th, 2010

Daedalus Touch Text Editor for iPad

Today’s the day! We’re announcing a new project: Daedalus touch — a cutting-edge writing environment for the iPad.

“Woah”, you say, “wait wait!!!”

Will it sync to Ulysses? No.
Will it have any desktop counterpart? No.
Will it, like… compete with Pages? We hope so, yes.
Will it allow embedding of photos? No.
Will it at least allow RTF? Hahaha, no, hehe.
Will it have semantic editing? No.
Will it have a fullscreen view? Uhm… sort of, yes. Or rather… no.
So it’s just a basic text editor, right? Right. But.
Will it have notepads and metadata? No.
Will it have folders, and collections and filters? Not… really.
Will it be a Wiki of some sorts, linking pages? No.
Then how will it be different from Notes? For starters: a legible font, no leather case.
And how will it compete with Pages? It’ll be for writers, not for designers.
And how will it be different from other text apps in the AppStore? A beautiful, clean and simple interface, specifically designed for the iPad.
That’s about it? No.
What’s that cutting-edge bit? You’ll see.
Anything else you want to share? Yeah.

After the AppStore/API desaster that was Ulysses mobile, we were close to giving up on iOS development, at least as far as text editors were concerned. That was until we got our hands on the iPad.

Skeptical at first, it quickly became clear that this is not just a “touchscreen-laptop without a keyboard”, but a true next-gen device, a class of its own. Not only in terms of tech specs, but more so in terms of philosophy and interaction — the whole experience.

For example, on the iPad we’re not watching movies on an LCD; we’re holding the movies in our hands. We’re no longer surfing the web; we’re touching it. It’s about direct manipulation and the removal of abstraction layers. And, of course, it’s about being permanetly connected, always online.

The iPad is a next-gen device, and Daedalus touch will be a true next-gen app. This is neither a port of existing Mac OS X software, nor are we shoehorning current desktop metaphors onto a touch-enabled interface.

From our perspective, “built from the ground up for iPad” should not mean “we used Xcode, Interface Builder, and targeted 1024×786″. Instead, it should mean we leveraged the iPad’s new and ground-breaking ways of interaction to create a product that would, or rather *could* not work on a different device.

And that it should rock.

And so we’re leveraging ALL of the iPad’s special features. And by “all” we do mean all. See, the gyrometer will control the insertion point and selection. GPS-enabled devices (iPad G3) will offer social network interaction with other Daedalus users in the vicinity.

Just joking.

But it will rock.
And we just can’t wait til you guys get your hands on this thing.

Any ETA? No. But it’s close.
Beta? Calm down, willya…

08/17: New Introduction Screencast

August 17th, 2010

Hey everyone,

in addition to our new Teaser, we also completely re-recorded the introductory screencast for Ulysses. Instead of using Ulysses 1.6, Ulysses 2 was used this time. We also added two short sections on Semantic Text Editing and Exporting. And all of that in HD!

Happy watching!

08/17: Ulysses on iAppsForStudents

August 17th, 2010

iAppsForStudents logo

The Soulmen take part in a great back to school sale at iAppsForStudents, which runs until September 1. So if you happen to be a student or work at an educational instution, you qualify not only for the regular educational discount, but also for this additional discount if you use the coupon code from the sale’s website.
This sale also includes lots of other great apps for the Mac, iPhone and iPad, so make sure to check them out before the promo ends!