Ulry is Now Available on the App Store

After a long wait I can finally say that Ulry has been release to the public and can be downloaded from the App Store in this very moment.

This is without a doubt the biggest project I’ve shipped and also the second most used one (for now), it may not seem a lot but it certainly is for me.

I’ve been working on Ulry for a long time, it’s a tool that I use daily and it has served me well. Let me tell you the whole story of how it came to be.

A couple of years ago I started to be an active community member of HN and every single day I started to read a bunch of articles that I found interesting. It didn’t take long until I couldn’t keep up with the amount of cool links that are shared there, I just couldn’t read them all, so I started to use the Add To Reading List feature of Safari and that’s when it all started.

I remember that a week later the Read It Later section of the browser was filled with approximately 50 articles that were interesting to me when I saved them. Which one do I read? Why did I save this article? Why did I find this interesting? These were the questions that I kept asking myself for the majority of the links that were in there waiting to be read. The browser feature couldn’t help me at all with that, let alone the poor user interface of it.

Is there a better way? Well, kind of. I started to organize links in folders and kept them in my browser’s bookmarks section.

This lasted a couple of weeks, until I realized that in the long run I would have ended up with hundreds of links in a single folder, that’s not easy to navigate and to go through. I gave this alternative a chance but I knew way in advance that I wouldn’t have liked it. The bookmarks section to me is something that has to contain websites that you actually visit almost on a daily basis, not something to keep a read-it-later list with hundreds of articles and folders. That felt messy and I gave up trying.

Other solutions out there had bad UI/UX and had features that I did not want or needed, like suggest me what to read next. No thanks, I don’t need an algorithm to suggest me stuff that I will 99% of the time have no interest in reading. I see that a lot of the read-it-later apps also try to scrape text from the article itself so that you can totally bypass the owner’s website and a lot of them fail at it badly by presenting you broken text or even HTML-entities that were not processes correctly. I prefer to read content from the owner’s website, most of the time they have cool fonts, nicer/original interfaces and/or content that can’t be displayed on a native application.

I couldn’t find a simple but nice app that just saved links and made them easily indexable and organizable. That’s when I decided to create my own, just for me.

commit 4d5fafea6b62070bbabb9ee34f445344f6d0b2ff

Author: Mattia Righetti <---------------->
Date:   Thu Dec 23 15:05:51 2021 +0100

    Initial Commit

This is the very first commit. After many iterations of the app and many months later, I appreciate the time that I put into this project for a bunch of different reasons. Mostly because now I have a tool that I enjoy using and actually helps me manage my links. Not only that, but I got to know a bunch of persons that liked the idea and found the app useful and use it to this day.

What makes Ulry different? It does what it’s meant for, nothing else. It’s a link archiver, its feature is to save your links without too many hurdles, that’s it. Well, to be fair, it also makes it easy to search for them and organize them with categories/tags/notes but nothing more than that. If you noticed, Ulry basically answers the questions that I kept asking myself previously:

  1. Which one do I read? Pick a tag and a category that you feel you want to read and choose a link that’s in them.

  2. Why did I save this/find this interesting? Read the note that you (hopefully) attached to the link when you saved it.

Overall, it’s been a great journey and I’ve now reached a point where I feel like the app is stable, has enough features to make me like it and can be released to public.

I spent these final months over-obsessing over the fact that some more tests were needed before launching it and that maybe that feature could be a deal breaker if it made it to the first public release. I started to notice that I was over complicating stuff when there was no need for it, so I decided to just stop implementing and testing stuff, finished those little things that needed to be done before release (mostly fixing alerts text) and submitted the app for review to Apple.

"If it doesn’t ship, it doesn’t exist"

— Elad Gil

Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you that sent bug reports and sent me kind emails during the development stage. Thanks for patiently hanging around for this long. Now I’m going to take a little break before introducing new features (I’ll stick around for hotfixes though :) ). In the meantime, for those that enjoy Ulry, reviews are very welcome!

Thanks again folks!