It’s More to do with Fireball than with Joyce or Grant

Originally published on August 5th, 2016, at
Edited and republished at on March 10th, 2017.
Added to on Octbober 31st, 2017. Also updated to clean up some code, as well as to add that—since Ulysses switched to a subscription model—I’ve moved on to Bear.

Did you know that Markdown is the creation of Daring Fireball? I feel like this is something that I probably should have known, and yet I didn’t — or, more likely, I had forgotten — until I did a teeny bit of research on the language yesterday, nipping at the heels of my excitement for Ulysses 2.6. Ulysses has regular ol’ Markdown as an option (along with Minimark and Textile’d), and uses Markdown XL as its default markup. (Markdown, markup; I know it’s confusing. No wonder I forgot it was a John Gruber thing.)

And, with the recent release of 2.6, Ulysses comes with WordPress integration.

My publishing platform is now hooked up with my favorite way to write; not only on my desktop, but on both my iPhone and iPad, too. I’ve gone so far as to enable Markdown in Jetpack, ‘though I’ll admit that — as of this writing — I don’t actually know how to write a Markdown hyperlink in the WordPress editor.

(And enabling Markdown through Jetpack is completely unnecessary for writing to WordPress via Ulysses. That click, I clicked only in love.)

Ulysses makes writing for the internet easy1: Pound, pound, pound (hash, hash, hash?); there’s your title. Asterisk, italic words, asterisk. Bracket, link text, bracket. Double asterisks, bold words, double asterisks. Need a break from writing at your desk? Take your iOS device along and keep working on the same piece, because Ulysses will sync it up for you.

Even the stuff that doesn’t get published works well: Outline in the Attachments panel? Okie dokie, pokey! Ulysses is better at outlines than some programs I’ve used that were made for just that.

I’ve mentioned Ulysses before, of course. I initially bought it for last year’s NaNoWriMo2 3. As is typical for me — and, I suspect, for many others — my super-awesome novel did not make it through to its natural demise.

But, even if I only use Ulysses for updating this blog, I’ll spend less time hitting the “Preview” button in the WordPress editor. I’ll write from wherever I am. I’ll probably think of Daring Fireball and reminisce about my first iMac — run from atop my drawing table, since I didn’t have a proper desk at the time — and old friend OS 9. I’ll admire Ulysses’ clever butterfly-meets-dip-pen icon in my Dock or on my phone.

And, even when the writing is crap, I’ll still enjoy the process. That simple joy — entwined with equally simple function — makes Ulysses worth the cost of its lovely piece of code.

1. Yes! Even footnotes!

2. “Na-Noh-REE-Moh”. My pronunciation is valid. “Ree” may not sound like “write”, but “noh” doesn’t sound like “novel”, either. The anti-“ree” argument only works if it’s consistent!

3. Ulysses is now my cross-device writing tool. It’s replaced both Day One and iWriter, in that regard.