Ulysses is a Mac app, and this is how it describes itself:
Ulysses lets you focus when you need to concentrate. It keeps all your texts neatly stuffed in its intuitive library. With a few clicks, Ulysses can create beautiful documents from your manuscripts: PDFs, web pages, even iBooks-ready ePubs. With its simple, clutter-free interface, it will turn work hours into fun time. And mere thoughts into powerful stories.
If you love to write, and write a lot, you’ll love Ulysses III.
I use Ulysses to write and to keep notes and information in one place. I used to use nvALT – and the main reason that I changed to Ulysses is that I was carried away by a review of its features.
(Will I ever learn…)
There is no way to send anything direct to WordPress from Ulysses.
That feature is promised for a future version, but at the moment it can’t be done.
So you might ask, what’s the point of using Ulysses with the intent of publishing to WordPress?
Well it is the distraction-free page and the fact that you can use Markdown syntax.
You then copy and paste into a WordPress post.
Of course, WordPress has to be able to recognise Markdown markup, which it can if it is set up to recognise it.
This is how to set up your WordPress.com site so that it recognises Markdown.
Markdown lets you compose posts and comments with links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. Markdown is used by writers and bloggers who want a quick and easy way to write rich text, without having to take their hands off the keyboard, and without learning a lot of complicated codes and shortcuts.
You can use Markdown on your WordPress.com blog for posts, pages and comments. This document will detail how to enable Markdown on your blog, and how to write with it.
To enable Markdown for posts and pages, go to Settings → Writing in your dashboard, and check the box labeled Use Markdown for posts and pages
When writing with Markdown, make sure you always use the Text editor and not the Visual editor. Using the Visual editor may cause unexpected results with Markdown.
So with that said, let’s try some more text styling:
Here is an unordered list:
– another item
– and a third item
And here is something that is important, so it is in bold and something I want to emphasize, so I am putting it in italics.
With the Markdown markup I can style text with just a couple of asterisks and underlines instead of having to use the html markup with ’em’ and ‘b’ in brackets.
The appeal of Markdown is that it is very quick to use. It is quicker and with practise it becomes a lot quicker, which helps maintain the flow of writing.
It was invented by John Gruber of Daring Fireball and there are lots of applications that use it.
Here is what a page from Ulysses looks like… with the Markdown Cheatsheet open at the side for easy reference.
That brings me to the second application for Mac, which is Byword. It is another distraction-free writing tool.
And it is a lovely writing tool. It shows the Markdown markup beautifully and I find it quite seductive. It encourages me to write.
It doesn’t have the capability to lay pages out as a collection in an easy-to-view way like Ulysses does.
But articles written with Byword can be posted direct to WordPress.
Here’s a glimpse of what the Byword page looks like.
Markdown For Self-Hosted WordPress Sites
Whereas WordPress.com has Markdown built in and just needs to be activated, that isn’t true with self-hosted version of WordPress.
Don’t ask me why.
But it is very easy to set up with a plugin. And one of the plugins that you may well already have if you are running a self-hosted WordPress site, is JetPack, which is made by Automattic who make WordPress.
It’s just a question of ticking a box in the plugin to activate Markdown.