Ulysses for iPad has officially launched. Normally I fall in love with the latest and greatest writing app, but something is off this time. Ulysses will fit some people perfectly, but it isn’t for me.
Here are some quick thoughts on Ulysses for iPad and why I won’t be using it as my full-time text editor.
- Ulysses is a beautiful app from top to bottom and I foresee its integration with Ulysses for Mac being a killer feature. Throughout the beta period, I was continuously impressed with how quickly everything synced between devices.
- I love Ulysses’ unique inbox-style workflow for drafts. The inbox is great for capturing random ideas. Those ideas can be filtered into other parts of the workflow from there. This workflow reminded me a lot of the GTD system so many people use for their daily task list and I loved how it fit as a writing workflow.
- The flow of menus in this inbox-style workflow also works great. Moving from left to right drills down closer to your written content. I bet this flow is awesome for long-form and novel writing.
- The editing view is very simple and reminiscent of apps like Writer Pro or Byword. The added row above the keyboard adds a pile of functionality, but I find I prefer Editorial’s added row of keys. Editorial’s scrolling feature hidden in that extra row is really hard to beat.
- The way in which Ulysses handles links is the deal breaker for me. Putting text in square brackets brings up a window to insert a link in Markdown syntax. This looks great in practice, but it hides the link behind your square brackets instead of leaving the link inline with the rest of the text. This makes copying and pasting Markdown text extremely frustrating — all links have to be cut and pasted into Ulysses’ special URL window. For the bit of editing I need to do, I just can’t get behind this design choice and this single factor pushes me to Editorial.
I have vowed I would only talk about apps that I recommend, and I still haven’t broken my vow. Ulysses for iPad is an awesome app. It’s beautiful. It has an impeccable sync engine. And it is so easy to hammer phrase after phrase into its simple design.
But a few choices have left me comfortably in Editorial’s ballpark. For some, Ulysses will be the best app on their iPad. For those people, $20 is a bargain price. For others, Editorial may still be the king of the castle.