Another app (Ulysses) moves to a subscription based model

Ch
ChrisRosser
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Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:24 am Post

ChrisRosser wrote:
ChrisRosser wrote:
Cinder6 wrote:Come again?




Try to locate where on your file system Ulysses stores your files and you'll know what I mean. I found them buried in ~/Library in a confusing mass after I got creative with searching in Finder and grep on the Command Line.

Compare that to the approach highlighted in the iA article I linked to. Their point was that such schemes, along with content locked in databases, binary formats and package formats are contrary to the benefits of plain text. I'm reviewing Ulysses and it resonated with me because even though Ulysses uses plain text (sort of), it feels to me much less transparent than even Scrivener's package/rtf format.

I can see an interact with Scrivener projects on the FS. I can do the same with plain markdown documents in dropbox. I cannot do that with Ulysses, which obscures data in an iCloud library
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Ci
Cinder6
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Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:24 am Post

Ah, I see. To be fair to them (much as I'm upset with them right now), it's easy to export your data. You can drag sheets or entire groups into a Finder window, and it'll make a copy of them right there. They'll be in .ulysses format, but that's just a file bundle (similar to .scriv) that contains your stuff in plaintext.

sc
scshrugged
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Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:46 pm Post

This post isn't about whether I think subscriptions (or Ulysses' implementation of same) are good or bad. It's part of the overall learning opportunity this event became for me. I kind of knew; but not really.

I had read Max Seeleman's following claim around the time it was originally made but being that I'm not a coder, I didn't have the necessary knowledge to judge its accuracy nor did I have the ability to evaluate the scope of the job. I also didn't know the people involved with this.

All that's still true. But after searching for developer reactions and non reactions, searching for Ulysses reputation as coders qua coders and asking someone who codes in a different environment, I can accept the claim. (As coders -- Ulysses' team is well respected, including by their direct competitors.)

The amount of work required to change their model was immense:

Adding subscription to Ulysses took us 7 months, with 1 man-year engineering, 1.5 man-years total effort. It’s 22k lines of production code.

https://twitter.com/macguru17/status/897050119983550464

It's something to keep in mind while awaiting or after installing the next version of a must have app, or while searching for a new one. Writers can probably relate to the immense, unseen work's relationship to their very own finished creation.
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landyvlad
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Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:35 am Post

The subscription model thing is something I dislike, but at the same time can see why it would be necessary for some businesses to move that way.

A recent high profile instance was that of photobucket. That they moved to a subscription model isn't the real issue, but rather the abysmal way they went about it. No warning, disabled third party links for existing subscribers, no grand-fathering etc... leaving many internet forums bare of pictures !

By contrast:

I read the Ulysses guy's blog, where he provided an extended rationale for why they are making the change, and where he offered a reasonable (IMHO) free use period of up to 18 months for existing users.

This has been handled MUCH better.

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ChrisRosser
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Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:36 am Post

I finally published my review of Ulysses on my blog. I've had some great responses but my goodness, once it hit social media there's a lot of bitterness directed toward Ulysses for the business model switch. I almost regret posting it! I was trying to review it on its merits and compare it to the way Scrivener's helped me write for ten years!

Crikey, lot of angry people :D
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sc
scshrugged
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Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:21 pm Post

ChrisRosser wrote:I finally published my review of Ulysses on my blog. I've had some great responses but my goodness, once it hit social media there's a lot of bitterness directed toward Ulysses for the business model switch. I almost regret posting it! I was trying to review it on its merits and compare it to the way Scrivener's helped me write for ten years!

Crikey, lot of angry people :D

Very well-written and thoughtful. It's written in such a way so as to be attractive to a diverse audience. It's here: http://chrisrosser.net/posts/2017/09/01 ... ses-review
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Ch
ChrisRosser
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Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:12 pm Post

scshrugged wrote:
ChrisRosser wrote:I finally published my review of Ulysses on my blog. I've had some great responses but my goodness, once it hit social media there's a lot of bitterness directed toward Ulysses for the business model switch. I almost regret posting it! I was trying to review it on its merits and compare it to the way Scrivener's helped me write for ten years!

Crikey, lot of angry people :D

Very well-written and thoughtful. It's written in such a way so as to be attractive to a diverse audience. It's here: http://chrisrosser.net/posts/2017/09/01 ... ses-review


Very kind, thank you
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Ti
Timotheus
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Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:23 am Post

The guys of Ulysses have clearly thought over very well their decision, and Max Seeleman’s explanation is very clear and very well written. Yet I think they have made a fundamental mistake, which could cost them dearly.

It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of users hate the subscription model, and that they will try to trash each and every application adopting that model.

This being so, the central question should be: how indispensable is my application to the majority of its users? Can they permit themselves to trash it? In my opinion, only in a few cases, the answer to this last question can (or could) be “no”. Scrivener is a ‘must have’ for those who do serious research in the humanities and in the social sciences (well, yes, of course you can do without it, but then you’re damaging your work and needlessly complicating your life); Bookends and Sente are, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are, Devonthink is: all these applications have very few serious serious competitors in their specific field. Only similar applications might therefore consider a move towards a subscription model; but even for them, it would be a serious risk.

But Ulysses doesn’t belong to this category. It is a beautiful and very agreeable application, which certainly has a great potential; but it is indispensable to few. For the majority of their users, it’s an application they use besides (and after) other applications. And Ulysses nowadays has many competitors, especially in the markdown field, which are also substantially cheaper.

For serious problems there are no easy solutions. But in my opinion, it would have been better (after cutting the costs wherever possible, of course) to adopt the Papyrus (or Tinderbox) model. Which implies: high(er) price but great value for money; very regular substantial updates, which are not cheap, but which you are completely free to acquire or not. If not, then you continue using the previous version, without the newest features, but also without being rudely cut off from the application as such, which is experienced as a smash in the face, and therefore to be absolutely avoided. And yes, in this case the costs for the user would probably be higher than with the subscription model. That is true. But that’s not the point. The point is: can I convince the vast majority of my users to follow me on the path I have chosen? And in my opinion, this is easier with the Papyrus/Tinderbox model than with the subscription model. People want to be free: that is a very fundamental characteristic of human nature that should never be underestimated.

And in the specific case of Ulysses, I would have trashed the one library model (which clearly is a deal breaker for many), and would have reintroduced the forum. Every serious application of some complexity nowadays has a forum; Ulysses has not (anymore).

But time will show, and I sincerely hope time will prove me wrong; because Ulysses is very sympathetic to me, and I wish it all the best.
X.12.6; Scrivener; Nisus; LaTeX; Bookends; Devonthink; Lightroom.

sc
scshrugged
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:31 pm Post

From 9 to 5 Mac:
. . . Introductory Pricing for Auto-Renewable Subscriptions

Soon, you’ll be able to offer new customers a discounted introductory price for your auto- renewable subscriptions on the App Store. iOS 11.2 introduces new classes (SKProductDiscount and SKProductSubscriptionPeriod) and new properties on SKProduct (subscriptionPeriod and introductoryPrice) to provide details on the introductory pricing and billing period you’ve selected for your auto-renewable subscriptions. You can use these new API additions to localize and display information about introductory pricing to your users. You’ll be able to configure introductory pricing on your in-app purchase page in iTunes Connect soon.


Apple has been improving pricing options for developers since last summer when it introduced a new revenue split for renewable subscriptions. Apple usually takes 30% of revenue generated on the App Store, but that drops to 15% on revenue from subscriptions after one year. This encourages reoccurring revenue versus one-time upfront costs. . . .

https://9to5mac.com/2017/11/06/ios-11-2 ... app-store/


As things stand today from Apple:
https://developer.apple.com/app-store/subscriptions/
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