I write hundreds of words every day on my phone. At first it was just emails and text messages, but now it’s also Slack conversations, notes and countless of messages of various sizes and shapes in all sorts of messaging apps. And yet, there’s one thing I’ve refrained from doing so far — writing TechCrunch posts on my phone. But this is also changing.
Earlier this week, small indie development shop The Soulmen released Ulysses for iPhone. Ulysses is a popular writing app on OS X and iPad. I’ve played with the app on my Mac in the past. But I couldn’t really consider using it seriously because there was one missing element — an iPhone app.
Ulysses is a Markdown text editor for small and big projects. It works quite well for anything between a blog post and a novel. And Ulysses is also the kind of apps we need on iOS. It’s an expensive $25 app that provides nearly all the features of its desktop equivalent. In other words, it’s a serious app to do serious work with a clear business model. And of course, everything stays in sync between the different versions of the apps.
And this is key to understanding how Ulysses stands out. I can now start a draft on my phone, edit it on my iPad, give it a final look on my Mac and publish it on this website. I’ve already written a handful of drafts in Simplenote on my iPhone in the past. But this is a much more streamlined process.
Ulysses is a polished iOS app that lets you write, organize and export your writing in different formats. It’s a well-designed, versatile app that is worth trying if you write every day. It competes with many other apps, such as Editorial and 1Writer on iOS, and Scrivener on OS X.
I wanted to take Ulysses one step further and make it work seamlessly with our CMS — WordPress. I started with Ulysses for OS X. With a few clicks, I can now run a Ruby script that sends my draft to our backend so that I just have to review it, tweak a few options and publish it.
But what about iOS? You can’t do that on iOS right? Feeling inspired by iOS automation wizard Federico Viticci, I tried to recreate my OS X script on iOS. And sure enough, automation app Workflow lets you do that just fine. I can now post to WordPress from Ulysses and auto-fill the headline, tags and excerpt using this workflow. Another workflow lets me upload images to WordPress from iOS.
I’ve already written a few posts using this process and it’s been even more useful than I expected. I already spend so much time typing on my iPhone that I can type nearly as fast on my iPhone as on my Mac. But in many cases, it’s much more convenient to write on my phone. In fact, this post was written on my phone.