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Ulysses tries to carve out its niche by going back to basics -- simple organization, distraction-free writing, and something called “semantic text editing.” The screen layout is familiar -- you’ll find a project organizer on the left, the text editor in the center, and notes and metadata on the right. We began writing right away and found navigation between text documents, notes, and synopses straightforward.
Ulysses’s bare-bones interface appeals to “back to basics” writers.
Ulysses stresses semantic text editing, where writers assign meaning to text, which then determines its formatting, rather than the other way around. Meaning is assigned through paragraph styles, inline styles, or markers. Upon export, those styles are then converted to the desired appearance depending on the export plug-in chosen.
Ulysses draws its inspiration from the LaTeX text-processing system, designed for printing complex scientific texts. Semantic editing offers amazing flexibility, and we found markers useful for managing workflow and revisions. But we failed to see how the inline markup for “emphasis” was different from just italicizing text. A novel manuscript, after all, rarely requires more than two styles: plain text and italics.
The bottom line. Ulysses 2.0 offers a basic writing environment with an uncluttered interface. If you spend too much time tinkering with styles, its unique approach could help keep your focus on writing.
Mac OS 10.5 or later
Easy to use. Uncluttered interface. Full-screen mode. Universal for Intel/PowerPC.
No templates. No e-book export.