28 November 2013
Update: Sometimes blogging really pays off. Not 15 minutes after posting this article, someone on Twitter tipped me about a solution—In some recent release of Ulysses, they added the ability to add “external sources”. Using this feature, which is unfortunately only accessible via the small plus icon in the lower left of the screen, you can choose any folder as a document repository, and that works just fine with my Dropbox Notes folder.
Like many people these days, I have a “Notes” folder in Dropbox that acts as the central document repository for a variety of writing and editing workflows on my Mac, iPhone and iPad mini.
For long-form writing on the iPad, I use iA Writer, which reads from and writes to my Notes folder in Dropbox. For creating quick notes on the go using my iPhone, I use Simplenote, which synchronizes with nvALT (Notational Velocity ALT) running on my Mac. nvALT, in turns, keeps everything in sync with my Dropbox Notes folder.
While nvALT, on the Mac, is great for creating quick notes and searching my Notes folder, it’s not a particularly great environment for authoring in Markdown. For that, I prefer to use Ulysses III.
Ulysses is a great environment for authoring in Markdown. In addition to a quiet “focus” mode that’s common among writing apps these days, the killer feature of Ulysses for me are convenient visual controls for constructing those Markdown structures people like me tend to forget, like links and inline images. And those same controls result in a document that’s far easier to read, as meta-text like URLs are hidden from view.
But as much as I love Ulysses, it has one short-coming that, for me, is almost a show-stopper—it doesn’t support Dropbox as a document repository. So to work in Ulysses, I have to copy and paste text from a document in nvALT into a document in Ulysses, which introduces the risk that when I later move to the iPad to work, I won’t be working on the latest version
So my wish list for Ulysses contains only one item—Dropbox integration. And if—heck, let’s be optimistic and say, “when”—that happens, it’ll become one of the core apps running on my Mac.