Update (7/17/2015): With virtually magical versions of Ulysses now out for both iPad and Mac, I’m not sure why anyone would be using Daedalus. But if you are, and you’re still having problems with the syncing, here’s the line of code the Soulmen shared with me. I’m sharing it because it’s been widely requested, but I can’t be responsible, you know, if this line of code makes your iPad go up in smoke or something:
Ulysses is a powerful writing environment for the Mac.
Like Scrivener, Ulysses makes working on book-length prose easier by reducing the project to manageable chunks, each of which can be reordered and organized by dragging and dropping them into place. Each chunk can be labeled — or “tagged” — with a status or with descriptive keywords, so tracking storylines, plot points, or revision status becomes easier. When the writing is done, the text can be exported into a Word document, a PDF, or an ebook format with a click or two.
Unlike Scrivener, Ulysses gathers everything a writer writes into one place, which eliminates time wasted looking for this scrap of text or that reference file. Ulysses also offers iCloud integration, a Mac-only Dropbox-style syncing and back-up system that promises to make your documents safer and more accessible.
The Missing Mobile Component
Despite the fact that this is the 21st Century and mobile computing is a well-established fact of life, neither program has a proper iOS (or iPad-based) companion.
Scrivener can save files in plain text to a Dropbox folder, allowing the author to edit individual chunks in Byword, ia Writer, WriteRoom, or even SimpleNote and, with some teasing, breath-holding, and hope, keep changes synced across all devices.
Ulysses, by contrast, offers Daedalus Touch, a strange little iOS-only text editor that organizes work into “stacks” (folders) and “sheets” (documents). Daedalus can’t work directly with files created in Ulysses, but the Ulysses sidebar (where all an author’s texts are organized) features an optional Daedalus section. Texts written in Ulysses, when dragged and dropped in this section, appear in Daedalus (albeit in a slightly dumbed-down format), where they may be edited on the go … and texts written or edited in Daedalus appear in this section, where they may be dragged back up into Ulysses and integrated into a larger project.
The Broken Pipeline
This pipeline between Ulysses and Daedalus also depends on the magic of iCloud integration. Unfortunately, for some of us, the magic isn’t working.
About three weeks ago, for no discernable reason, texts I wrote in Ulysses and dragged into the Daedalus section stopped syncing with Daedalus, and texts I wrote in Daedalus stopped showing up in Ulysses. (The little “uploading to the cloud” icon appears in the upper right of each Deadalus sheet, but it never goes away, and the sheets never sync.)
A Lack of Support
I sought out the developers, a German crew with the unlikely name of the Soulmen, seeking support. At their website, the once-vibrant support forum has been shut down, making an email to tech support the client’s only option. Unfortunately, the support from technical support, so far, has been anything but technical. (“Have you reset your Mac? Is iCloud enabled? Have you disabled it and re-enabled it? Do you have wi-fi at your house?”)
In fact, I’m worse off for having contacted them, because, after signing out of and back into iCloud on my Mac (at the Soulmen’s direction), the Daedalus section has disappeared entirely from the Ulysses sidebar, and the option to enable Daedalus integration in the Ulysses preference pane is now greyed out and inaccessible.
After a week of email exchanges, the Soulmen told me my case would be passed along to the development team, then donned dark sunglasses, black suits, white shirts, and black ties, jumped into the Bluesmobile, and drove off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.
Not Much is Out There
Googling the problem has proven equally fruitless, due, in no small part, to the fact the Soulmen are no longer addressing support issues in a public forum that Google can index. I did come across a few archived complaints and pitiful tweets from other lost souls … but the responses they received (“Have you reset your Mac? Is iCloud enabled?”) all gave me deja-vu.
So, for the record:
- No, for at least a few of us, the Daedalus integration with Ulysses via iCloud isn’t working.
- Documents written in Daedalus show the upload icon in the upper right corner, but they never upload, and they never appear in Ulysses.
- If we can activate the Daedalus preference pane and if we have the Daedalus section in our sidebars, documents dragged there don’t show up in Deadalus. But some of us no longer have a Daedalus section in the sidebar, and, for some of us, the option to put it there has been greyed out and is no longer accessible.
- Yes, we have wi-fi. Yes, our computers are turned on. Yes, they are Macs.
- Yes, we’re running Yosemite. No, it’s not the beta.
- Yes, we’re running iOS 8. Yes, it’s the latest version. Yes, we’ve enabled iCloud. Yes, iCloud integration is working with other apps, including Pages and Numbers, and even Ulysses itself.
- Yes, we’ve deleted and reinstalled everything, and we’ve hardbooted our Macs and iPads and iPhones multiple times.
- And, yes, we still love Ulysses, and, while we’d prefer a proper iOS companion for it, we’re still hopeful that this can work, especially since we plunked down $44.99 for Ulysses and a buck more for Daedalus.
Until the Soulmen acknowledge and fix the problem, I recommend using Dropbox and a range of iOS text editors (Byword is a personal favorite) to keep things afloat. If any other Ulysses user experiencing this issue finds a fix, would you post it here, so we can all benefit from it?
Update: with virtually magical versions of Ulysses now out for both iPad and Mac, I’m not sure why anyone would be using Daedalus. But if you are, and you’re still having problems with the syncing, here’s the line of code the Soulmen shared with me. I’m sharing it because it’s been widely requested, but I can’t be responsible, you know, if this line of code makes your iPad go up in smoke or something: