My Markdown Workflow: From Ulysses, Bookends and Mellel to WordPress.

Here is the setup for all my writings in Markdown including basic academic texts. I use Ulysses, Bookends and Mellel as writing tools and almost exclusively WordPress as place for publication. Of course, there are other options. I tried many of them but this combo feels best for me, because it not only meets my very particular needs but I actually managed to get it to work. I do not go at all into detailed pros and cons of the different pieces of software, except emphasising that I avoid Microsoft Word. I concentrate here only on how to get from writing the text with Markdown syntax to publishing it successfully on my own website. (The current situation confronts with many inconsistencies amongst different applications and markup flavours. My setup is the best I have at the moment.)
The environment in which I work is exclusively Apple based and tries to use most recent hardware and software versions. This means for the moment: OS 10.15, iMac Pro 2020, iPad Pro 2020. Ulysses is version 22.2, Bookends 13.5.5 and Mellel 5.07. WordPress 5.7.2 with PhP 7.4 and Elegant Themes’ Divi at 4.9.5.

1. Ulysses offers a limited, but for me totally sufficient amount of markup commands. This includes the most basic commands for academic writing like BlockQuote, Footnote and Citation. (However, I do resent it’s replacement of commonly accepted tags with proprietary ones and find it unnecessary and confusing: Image, Video, Footnote and Citation are thus not following well established Markdown protocols.)

2. In Ulysses – Preferences – Markup I changed citation tags to {} .

3. In Bookends – Preferences – General – Word processor I chose Mellel as word processor.

4. In the Ulysses text editor I place the pointer where the citation should be.

5. In the Ulysses menu Markup I pick citation and Ulysses places one single citation tag { in the text.

6. In Bookends I copy the relevant citation and paste it right after the citation tag in the Ulysses text. The citation from Bookends is surrounded by 2 citations tags {…} but the citation in my text has now one more at the beginning which stems from Ulysses. This is one of the inconsistencies: For me the problem is solved by closing this citation with a second closing citation tag }. However, I have to use the keyboard command option-9. Repeating the Ulysses command citation from the Markup menu does not achieve the same.

7. Export this document from Ulysses as “Text Rich Text”.

8. Open this document with Mellel.

9. In Mellel chose Edit – Bibliography – Convert Text to Citations, which converts the citations and after that Mellel can scan the text.

10. In Mellel chose Edit – Bibliography – Scan Document.

11. This text can now be saved in different formats and exported, in my case, as RTF file and by copy – paste to the text editor in the Divi Builder in my WordPress website.

12. Yes, rather clumsy but it does work.

And the proof of the pudding is in the eating:

That is what it looks like after having successfully finished the procedure I describe above: Citation is neat and correct and so is the bibliography at the end.

“In this paragraph I want to cite a book by Ehrenzweig, “The Hidden Order of Art”, (Ehrenzweig, 1967). I followed the procedure I described above.

Ehrenzweig, A. (1967). The Hidden Order of Art. London: Phoenix Press.”

See also: https://christophhering.ch/project/academic-writing-and-ulysses/

Addendum: When using iA Writer another excellent markdown writing app I found out that iA Writer by sticking to the established Markdown protocol does the job without requiring any extra steps. Citations are simply copied in from Bookends and their conversion works flawlessly after exportation as Word File – to Mellel or Microsoft Word if you use it. My hope ist that Ulysses will learn from iA Writer so that I can stick to Ulysses. 

 

 

 

 

 

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