Posts Tagged ‘Development’

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? :)


Daedalus’ font & color settings

November 29th, 2010

Daedalus touch look & feel settings

There you go.

“Sepia” will just change the background color to a bit of, well, sepia tone, while the “dark” setting will actually get you a light grey on almost-black, which is perfect for writing really long sentences in the, uhm, dark, yeah.

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 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.

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).
  • (more…)

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.

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…

iPhone Apps We Won’t Make, Pt. 1: The Good Vibe

October 11th, 2009

The Good Vibes iPhone App Concept

Today I was skimming through a bunch of iPhone mockups on my desktop and rediscovered some old app concepts. They’re mostly minimal in nature, and if we had the time and resources we would just code them up and try to release them on the App Store for free.

Well, we have neither, so I decided to share some of these ideas on this blog rather than trying to catch a new coder and convince him to create non-profit two-minute distractions. ;)

So here I go, first up: The Good Vibe.


Status 002

March 3rd, 2009


Today I’m sharing with you the very first in-game screenshots of our upcoming puzzle game. The above screen shows the level select on a stage currently called “Plong”.

It is, quite obviously, an hommage to what many consider the first real video game, though our rendition has very little in common with the legendary tennis sim.


Status 001

February 4th, 2009

Build succeeded

Dunno about any of you, but there’s not much that beats the excitement of finally seeing a project come to life. Be it the mixdown of some music, starting the photocopier on some written work or sending graphics to the printer… it always (and still) gives me the chills.


Just In Case…

January 27th, 2009

…anybody was wondering if we’re for real. ;)

I know that the image doesn’t show much, but then again there’s not much to show at the moment anyway. However, it’s what I’m looking at right now — a test render for an iPhone game we’re working on.

Yup, that’s a level editor there.