Writing for Print vs. Writing for the Web

For release February 3, 2019

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #317

Using a Mac to compose words has changed dramatically over the years. In the beginning, everything I wrote started out in MacWrite, because it was the only word processor in town. Then, Microsoft Word became the standard for the publishing industry and everything I wrote I wrote in Word. 

It went on like that for a decade or more.

Enter the Internet

Then, the internet came along and I realized that Word was not optimal for composing longer documents for the web. Copying and pasting text composed in Word into a field on a website rarely worked as expected. Text and punctuation mysteriously disappeared at random; words ran together; formatting rarely (if ever) survived the move from a Word document to a web page.

I spent a LOT of time cleaning up work that was flawless before I copied it out of the Word file and pasted it into a field on a website. 

But I digress. While I still use Word for my “writing for print publication” workflow, my “writing for the web” workflow is completely different. 

When a piece of writing is destined for a website or online-only publication (such as The Mac Observer), these days I compose in Ulysses, a fabulous text editor and much more, which I reviewed here in May 2016.  

Word Processor vs. Text Editor

What makes a word processor like Word different from a text editor like Ulysses?

Text editors deal with pure text; word processors deal with styled text. Text editors aren’t WYSIWYG, so there are no frou-frou formatting options such as styles, rulers, tabs, or columns. Your words appear in a single font and size, with no confusing formatting toolbars, palettes, dialog boxes, or menus to distract you. 

Ulysses is more than just a text editor, though. Since it uses its own cloud-based (or disk–based) library, you don’t Open or Save files; everything you type is saved automatically and immediately and available from Ulysses built-in file system. 

Ulysses has its own built-in file system.
Ulysses has its own built-in file system.

I’m also a big fan of the iPad/iPhone version of Ulysses, which looks and behaves just like the Mac version. The thing I like best is that if you store your Ulysses library in iCloud (as I do), everything you write is synchronized among all of your devices.

So, I can begin on a writing project at my Mac, and then continue where I left off on my iPad or iPhone, since everything I’ve ever written in Ulysses is available on all my devices.  

Ulysses on my iPad syncs with Ulysses on my Mac.

I use Ulysses every day and it’s my go-to tool for most of my writing these days. If undistracted writing sounds good to you, check out the free 14-day trial versions available in the Mac and iOS App Stores.    

One Last Thing: See Me Live in Houston on February 16

I’ll be making my annual State-of-the-Apple presentation at the Houston Area Apple Users Group on Saturday, February 16. For details (it’s free), visit www.haaug.org.

Ulysses. The Soulmen GbR. $4.99/month or $39.99/year. www.ulyssesapp.com

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So, I can begin on a writing project at my Mac, and then continue where I left off on my iPad or iPhone, since everything I’ve ever written in Ulysses is available on all my devices.

So is the duplication of this paragraph the result of synchronization problems, or just sloppy proofing?