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      CommentAuthorlexm
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2009
     
    Having recently started using Ulysses for smaller academic projects, I find that I'm liking the semantic text editing approach. The combination of a stripped down writing environment and text tagging encourages putting words on the screen rather than fiddling with rich text and the interface.

    Coming over from Scrivener, however, I miss its document splitting (and merging) feature and the related multiple-document viewing/editing feature called Edit Scrivenings. Tending to write in small chunks, moving chunks around to find the best fit among them and then viewing the latest arrangement is a regular part of my writing process.

    For that reason, I write to ask whether those features fit the Ulysses design philosophy. If so, might they appear in a future release? (I know enough not to ask for rich text - and I really don't want it.)

    Enjoying Ulysses immensely whatever the answer, I am

    LexM
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      CommentAuthorzerift
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2009
     
    As another part-time Scrivener user, I, too, would love to see a similar merge/split function implemented in Ulysses if it were possible. Although I can tolerate using good old copy & paste to manipulate text when necessary, a more efficient way of doing this would certainly be welcome, especially for large writing projects where I'm not entirely sure where I'm headed when I first begin, and will probably end up rearranging things somewhere down the road (as is often the case with fiction writing). To be honest, the lack of this feature is one of the few reasons why I still use Scrivener over Ulysses for some of my--usually longer and less well-planned--writing projects; otherwise, I much prefer Ulysses' elegant interface and distraction-free plain-text editing, which is big plus for a writer with a short attention span such as myself!

    Split/merge or no, however, I love Ulysses all the same. As a writing app, it truly is one of a kind.
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      CommentAuthorfehnman
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2009
     

    Thanks for the kind words, both of you. :)

    As for split/merge, I don't know. I think splitting would only make sense in open documents (tabs), since we wouldn't know where you'd want to split a closed document (when clicking on it in the browser). We'll be adding full "duplicate" functionality in a future update, and we could add something like "duplicate ALL if no text is selected, else duplicate selection only". However, I could also imagine using the paragraph bar/bookmark feature as a means of defining the split; then again I think I might rather add collapsable sections (based on paragraph styles, for example, so tht you could collapse comments or such), so I don't know if we'll ever add true splitting of documents.

    Now, merging is a completely different story, as, again, Ulysses uses an open/closed metaphor for all of your documents.

    In Scrivener, IIRC, you can select multiple documents and have their content show in consecutive order within the editing section. That's pretty much what we do in the preview -- only that we don't allow editing there. We could now let you merge the selected documents, but you might lose content because you didn't save the open variant of a selected doc. Since we currently don't provide any other interface for showing multiple documents in order, this is not an option.

    So... I don't know. I haven't given it much thought, obviously, and (as is the case sometimes) I might be overly pessimistic in regards to adopting features of apps that do so much so differently, but as it stands, right now, split/merge is not on our list, for the next update at least. Splitting might make it once we add full duplicate, though. Dunno when this will be in, but I don't think 2.1.

    Hope this makes sense. Wrote it with my son sleeping on my shoulder. :)

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      CommentAuthorlexm
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2009
     
    Many thanks for the thoughtful reply. It makes sense even with your son sleeping on your shoulder. (;

    For the way I work (I won't speak for zerift), splitting is more important than merging. I might write five paragraphs in one document, afterwards splitting that document into five - so I can reorder the paragraphs without doing cumbersome cut-and-paste operations. The genius of writing applications like Ulysses and Scrivener is that they break the one-document-per-text paradigm that makes writing long pieces in Word or Pages such a pain.

    To be more specific, I would like an easy way to split an open document at the cursor and save both. In Scrivener, you place the cursor where you want one document to end and the next to begin and choose Split at Selection from the menu (or hit its keyboard shortcut). Scrivener saves the document above the split under the existing name and names the new, after-the-split document by the same name with the added number 1. That new document appears in Scrivener's binder immediately below the above-the-split document.

    In Ulysses, my imagined feature would work like this: Working in an open document whose tab is active, I would place the cursor where I want to split the document. Choosing a menu item (or hitting its keystroke) would cut everything below the split from the existing document and automatically paste it into a new document in a new tab. I could then re-sort these documents manually in the document browser.

    Then again, the duplication feature you describe sounds intriguing and would allow a similar workflow. It sounds somewhat cumbersome for my purposes, but I haven't seen the implementation, of course. (;

    I don't know if my idea fits the Ulysses way of doing things - a way I'm just learning. One reviewer comparing Scrivener and Ulysses suggested that Scrivener's "natural" unit is the scene while Ulysses's is the chapter. If so, then perhaps I work more "naturally" in Scrivener despite my attraction to Ulysses.

    Whatever the case, their are worse fates than oscillating between two excellent writing applications on the Mac platform. (I could be shackled to Windows.)
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      CommentAuthorbodsham
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2010
     
    I'm taking a look at Ulysses again (I bought V1 when it was first out and have paid for the upgrade to V2). There are a lot of attractions to it but the inability to see several consecutive documents in the main window does feel odd. I know you can do it in the preview window but I like to edit book sections in one go. It feels unnatural to be unable to do that.