The Ulysses to Byword to WordPress workflow

A workflow for publishing posts created in Ulysses to WordPress, with Hazel and Byword filling in the gaps. Bring on publish-to-WordPress from Ulysses!

This post, as the title suggests, describes a workflow that involves Markdown writing apps Ulysses and Byword, and the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress. There are two other things you’ll need to make it work: Hazel, an automated organiser for Mac – it’s not essential, but it helps – and the WP-Markdown plugin already installed on your WP site. If you’d prefer not to read the detail, jump to ‘The workflow in a nutshell’, below.

The workflow in detail

This workflow involves more steps than should be necessary because Ulysses doesn’t have a ‘publish to WordPress’ facility.

But I like writing in Ulysses, so I figured I could have the best of both worlds while I was waiting; in particular, I like Ulysses’ grouping feature for notes. Every time I start a new post, I create a group. The first note in the group is my draft, a second contains notes, and a third contains links and other research material. Other than Scrivener, which I prefer for longer-form writing, I can’t think of an app that allows you to group material in this manner.

When I’m done writing a post in Ulysses, I save (⌘6, select ‘Save to’) the Ulysses document to the ‘Writer’ folder in Dropbox, adding ‘-[Wordius]’ to the end of the filename. That little snippet added to the filename is a trigger for Hazel to perform the action shown in the screenshot below. It’s a simple action; all it does is spot new documents added to the ‘Writer’ folder whose filenames end in ‘-[Wordius]’ and open them in Byword. That’s why I said earlier that Hazel is not essential in this workflow; you could simply save a document out of Ulysses then open it in Byword. But I like the automation provided by Hazel, so I have included it here.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 1

As mentioned, Byword 2.0 for Mac, released last week, offers that all-important publish-to-WordPress functionality. With the document you created in Ulysses now open in Byword, use the ⌃⌥⌘P key combination to bring up the publishing dialog, below.

Byword’s publishing dialog (screenshot 2)
Byword’s publishing dialog (screenshot 2)

Fill in the fields as you see fit – I usually set the status to ‘draft’ and ignore ‘Custom URL’ and ‘Custom fields’ – and click ‘Publish’.

I like to perform any final checks, add images from my media library, and preview posts before committing to publication. That’s all there is to it, but, to wrap up, here’s a basic outline of the steps involved in this workflow.

The workflow in a nutshell

  1. Create the Hazel action shown in screenshot 1 above, choosing a filename modifier to suit your needs.
  2. Write a post in Ulysses then save it to the folder specified in the Hazel action at 1, remembering to add your modifier to the end of the filename.
  3. The post will open automatically in Byword. Use the ⌃⌥⌘P key combination to bring up Byword’s publishing dialog (screenshot 2). Fill in the fields – I usually set the status to ‘draft’ and ignore ‘Custom URL’ and ‘Custom fields’ – and click ‘Publish’.
  4. Head over to WordPress and check out your handiwork. I always set the post status to ‘Draft’ in Byword, which gives me the opportunity to preview my work prior to publication.
  5. Share your post far and wide!

Call me old fashioned, but I still do most of my writing sat on a chair, in front of a desk, on top of which sits a keyboard and computer. I don’t often use my iPad for writing, but, for anyone who does, I’m sure there’s a workflow somewhere.