If you take a look at the App Store, you will see there is no shortage of writing apps in there, with some of them ranging from very good to even great. Here at Guiding Tech we have written about a few of them.
This time is the turn of Ulysses ($19.99 on the App Store), a markdown editor/writing app that made its debut on the Mac, then was released on the iPad and is finally taking its first steps on the iPhone with a remarkably feature-complete and competent version.
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Interface and Design
One aspect of Ulysses that I was skeptical could be properly translated to iOS in general and to the iPhone in particular is the huge array of features that the app became well-known for on the Mac.
Some of the most important of them are its full support of Markdown, the ability to both merge and split documents, add attachments and an impressive selection of Markdown shortcuts.
These are just a few of a complete tool set that writers have at their disposal when using Ulysses on the Mac, and surprisingly enough, not only have these features made the move to iOS, but the Soulmen team (designers of Ulysses) have made the transition of their app to Apple’s mobile operating system incredibly smoothly.
A lot of thought has been put into the app’s interface, ensuring that users enjoy a clean, distraction-free writing environment but at the same time having the most important features always accessible a tap away via a clever shortcut bar anchored to the top of the keyboard.
This shortcut bar is also dynamic, so it will provide different information depending on how you view your content. For example, while writing on your iPhone you get the traditional shortcuts above the keyboard while on portrait. But if your turn your device to landscape mode the shortcut bar will display other useful information (which you can customize), like the number of words or characters for example.
If you are simply reading your notes or articles, you can alternate between a view that shows some basic settings, a sharing menu and the search function and a clean view with nothing but your text for you to go through at ease.
Thanks to its thoughtful design, I’m glad to report that Ulysses also delivers on the usage department. The app displays text with style and provides something quite rare for a markdown app: Customization via user-created Themes, which add a lot of variety and keep the app’s look fresh.
Likewise, all your sheets are shown in a practical way. You can simply have a list of sheets or you can have your most important items arranged in groups. Additionally, Ulysses allows you to set create filters, which can be tremendously helpful if you do a lot of writing.
In addition to all of that, the app syncs seamlessly via iCloud with its counterparts among the Mac and other iOS devices.
All in all, my writing experience with Ulysses on the iPhone has been nothing short of incredible. So much so that it has completely replaced my Notes app and more importantly, it has allowed me to get my writing done in places I never thought I could write full articles, like on the bus, the train and even while waiting for a taxi.
At $19.99, Ulysses does not come cheap, but nothing of real value does. And few apps out there offer such a high level of polish and can be as useful for its target audience.
If you do at least some serious writing, then you owe it to yourself to check out Ulysses. The app has so many things going for it that you are bound to find something you like.