final thoughts on writing with ulysses, with a little help from its friends

Bo’s Mighty Roar (or Mighty Yawn)

I read the second published post written with Ulysses and sure enough there were a couple of written mistakes. The quickest way to correct them was to open up the WordPress iOS (soon to be iPadOS) app and use it to directly edit the post. While I was in there I checked the image and found it was centered and the correct width. Once finished there was a simple update control on the upper right of the WordPress app, and that’s exactly what it did. No duplicate entries.

I also discovered that there were two copies of the second post’s leading image. I don’t know how or why the second was uploaded by Ulysses but it was there. Fortunately for me I’d written a caption for the image within Ulysses. The second duplicate had nothing. I deleted that one, then refreshed the browser view of the post to make sure it was still loading the correct image, and it was.

For the time being I’m going to have to use a workflow that employs both Ulysses and the WordPress app to perform my WordPress publishing. I’ll write the majority of my prose in Ulysses and then upload the article as a draft via Ulysses, then open the draft up in WordPress and finish it there before publishing.

I’m also going to do image insertion via the WordPress app. It’s easier to use the WordPress app, but not as easy as the web editor. I do a fair amount of photography, and the WordPress app is on both my iPhone as well as all my iDevices, including my MacBook. I can pull images off my cameras and onto any of my devices and then import the images into my blog via WordPress’ media management feature. Once imported into my blog I can reference them at any time, multiple times if necessary. This is probably the best way to handle this. I much prefer content rating on writing within Ulysses and using another tool to do the finish publishing.

The photo of Bo roaring (or yawning) was added following the workflow outline above.

the second attempt, this time with feeling

Safari on the left, Ulysses on the right.
Safari on the left, Ulysses on the right.

And now the reality of working with these tools.

The screen shot above shows how I’ve got my site in Safari on the left and Ulysses text content on the right using iOS’ side-by-side multitasking. That’s so I can immediate refresh the site after publication as well as general research via the web.

But here’s where some parts of this workflow break down for me.

  • When I publish anything, Ulysses wants to start up the WordPress application on the iPad. I don’t want that. I’d prefer that I return immediately back to Ulysses.
  • I have a bad habit of not paying attention to ‘bad writing’ which can range from misspelled words to grammatical errors to odd leftover sentence fragments where I went back and re-wrote an idea, but failed to fully clean up the aftermath. When that happened using the WordPress web publisher, I could go back in, clean things up, and then press the ‘Update’ button on the web publisher. With Ulysses all I had was publish. So I made a correction to the last post, and pressed publish. I got two copies in my blog, which forced me to actually open the WordPress app and delete the first post.

Needless to say I’m learning as I go along. This post obviously has an image leading off. In the past when I’ve published I’ve almost always centered my images and set their size, using a 500px width. There was no text wrap. I’m going to have to see how Ulysses handles this. I was able to set the width to 500px, but I can’t seem to set whether it’s centered with no word wrap. I may have to clean up in either the WordPress app or the WordPress web interface. Regardless, typing into Ulysses is freeing. As I wrote before, the writing seems to flow effortlessly out of my fingers and onto the screen. For me, Ulysses makes writing fun.