Hey there, Medium, nice to meet you!

Marcus Fehn
Building Ulysses
Published in
4 min readOct 8, 2015
Excuse the meta-ness, but I couldn’t help myself…

When Max and I discussed strategies this summer, there was one idea we wanted to pursue as soon as possible: Medium integration. It was a project we had in the back of our minds for some months now, and the time finally seemed right to push it forward. Of course, we had a lot of important issues on our list, all of which included a certain deadline, so we decided to tackle Medium after updating for iOS 9 and 10.11, after preparing for NaNoWriMo, after Ulysses on iPhone — but then, yeah, really asap!

Our main idea was to ask Medium, if they’d be interested in some sort of exclusive collaboration, where they’d allow us to offer basic publishing options from Ulysses to the network. We believed that this was in both parties’ best interests: Medium didn’t have an offline tool, and we wanted to add publishing capabilities since day one.

And Medium seemed like a great fit to get started with publishing, not least because of what looked like closely matching design principles and goals. Ulysses was built to let you write anything — and literally so. It’s for students and bloggers as well as for novelists, and if you got a story to tell, chances are Ulysses will perfectly suit your needs. Medium, on the other hand, is for getting your stories online, pretty much hassle-free, in what’s probably best described as a democratized publishing environment.

So we decided to “do this” and “go for it” and “make it happen” et cetera, but, as you know, only after we finished the “afters”.

Now imagine our excitement, when Medium approached us, about a month ago, asking if we were interested in being among the first to implement their new publishing API.

Dear Max,
Medium, the network for sharing stories and ideas, is building an external API for publishing posts to our site, and we’re planning on partnering with a select number of developers to launch this new capability. Our site has a lot of writers who are vocal fans of our sleek aesthetic, so I think Ulysses’ great desktop experience would hold a lot of crossover appeal.
Would your team be interested in receiving early access to build on our API?

Interested? Was that a joke? Interested?!? We were stoked, to be honest. Flattered, also.

We immediately sat down, talked, switched priorities, reshuffled timelines, pulled into high gear and — most importantly — worked closely with the nice folks at Medium to integrate a simple publishing solution into our Mac app.

Get a token.

And so I hereby proudly announce the imminent release of Ulysses for Mac 2.2, which will allow direct creation of drafts on Medium. Yes!

If you’re wondering how it all works, let me tell you: It’s dead simple. You obviously need a Medium account and Ulysses for Mac (say what). You then need to create an “Integration Token” within your Medium settings — this will act as a key for Ulysses to upload your stories.

  • Write a story in Ulysses.
  • Open “Quick Export › Medium”.
  • Publish your draft.

You may wonder why we don’t allow you to really publish from Ulysses, as in “publish a story, not just a draft”. For one, Medium’s API has just been released, and we wanted to stay on the safe side. We don’t want you to accidentially publish something you didn’t intend to, or in a state you didn’t mean to make available to the public. Plus, some of Medium’s advanced options, such as pull quotes and fancy header images, are not available yet, so we figured you might love to tinker around a bit, before you really commit your piece.

Lastly… we all make mistakes, and right now there’s no way for us to allow updating your stories from within Ulysses. So again, we figured it would be best to do drafts, since you can have as many drafts as you like, mistakes and all. Plus, this will only get better in the future, so there’s room for anticipation and excitement at your end, too.

So here we are. As a matter of fact, this story has been published with Ulysses for Mac, so yes, it works, it’s no longer an idea, and there’s just one tiny, tiny “after” left to tackle…

Ulysses for Mac 2.2, featuring direct publishing of drafts to Medium, is currently awaiting review by Apple’s Mac App Store team. It should be available any day now, and I really can’t wait to see it out in the wild.

To quote katie zhu:

not just for selfish reasons, but because of the creative potential we can unlock together — tapping into the authors, bloggers, and journalists who are creating amazing things in Ulysses today, and giving them a frictionless way to put their stories and ideas out in the world

Hi there, Medium, nice to meet you! Here’s to the start of a fruitful relationship!

Cheers, have fun!
Marcus Fehn
Co-Founder & Creative Director
The Soulmen

Marcus Fehn
Building Ulysses

Co-founder of the Soulmen, designer @ulyssesapp