As time goes on, Ulysses (website) (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store) becomes more and more important in my writing workflows. At this point I’m using it for much of my books, this blog, and extended legal writing. I like the app’s clean design. (It won an Apple Design Award last year.) I also like its reliability and ubiquity on all of my Apple devices. Yesterday they released the newest version 2.8. There are several new features worth mention.
Touch ID Security
The updated version adds Touch ID security. You can now add a password to your Ulysses file and optionally open it with Touch ID. As a lawyer, I appreciate this. It’s now going to be a lot harder for unwanted eyes to see my briefs.
New Automation Tools
The new version also adds some additional automation tools via URL callbacks. Specifically, you can now set a group title and you can read from an existing sheet. That second one is interesting. As I’m increasingly using Workflow to automate Ulysses, the ability to pull data out of the database will be useful. I need to play with this more before I can share some useful Workflows but they will be coming.
Better filters Statistics
Document management tools got a bump as well. Filters can now also be used to narrow down the library content according to negative criteria. For instance, you can look for documents that do not include the word “rutabaga”. You can also now see text statistics for groups and filters, which up until today was only available on the Mac version.
An Interesting Story about Icons
I met some of the Ulysses team last year at WWDC. We got in an extended discussion about, of all things, icons. I find the little icons in Ulysses useful as a visual guide as I’m working through my various banks of words. Here’s a screenshot of my MacSparky folder and its related icons.
I asked why can’t add my own custom icons and they gave me a very opinionated answer. Put simply, they don’t want anyone but their own design team putting graphics into Ulysses. As a compromise, however, they said they take user requests for additional icons very seriously. They explained they intended to regularly update the app with custom designed icons in response to user requests.
While this approach can work, they’ve got to make good on it. Today they did with several new and interesting icons to help customize your Ulysses groups. I will note that while they have rain clouds, they don’t have a MacSparky thunderbolt. Hopefully 2.9.