Coda from Panic

So the measure of an app is the reviews it gets at launch or the reviews it gets later, we shall see but people are pimping for coda now…


Coda is ambitious not because of its size, because it isn’t all that big. It’s ambitious because Panic has taken into their own hands aspects of the user experience that are typically within the purview of the system itself.


Ever since I switched to a Mac, I’ve been seeking a suitable replacement/upgrade for Homesite. I limped along unsatisfied with BBEdit and am finally getting into the groove with TextMate, but the inter-app switching — especially between the editor, FTP client, and the terminal — was really getting me down.


First of all, the UI is beautiful. When first launched, Coda offers to import your Transmit favorites, which it did perfectly for me. It then “taped” each project if found in my copy of Transmit to the main window. To work on a project, just double click it and it “flips” into view. One more click logs into the project’s remote files and displays them in the left hand sidebar. Select any file to begin working on it. Super easy and fast.


At some point Coda may evolve into an app that I can use but just not now. I’m sure Panic will evolve Coda to a great app that will, some day, become indispensable.


SubEthaEdit and Coda users’ potential to work together is the result of a long-standing collaboration of Panic Inc. and TheCodingMonkeys. We are happy to welcome Coda as a new member to the Subetha Engine family and look forward to a broadening user base that will benefit everyone using SubEthaEdit and Coda.


There’s so much to write about, and too little time, but I wanted to say that Coda has won me over like no other Mac App has done before.


First, a round of applause. This is a really big application and it has Panic polish all over it. Some points of interest:
  • The custom controls in the CSS section are very well thought out and very pretty. Specifically, the segmented selector to define background repeating pattern is spot on.
  • The sites view with its “flying papers” is very snazzy though sadly only half of the imported bookmarks resulted in a pretty piece of paper with the actual site on it. Perhaps I should be allowed to override the URL it gets the picture from?
  • The ability to highlight tags/commands/functions in the editor and bring up inline documentation via the Books is a killer feature. I’ve seen editors that do it for PHP (or Cocoa), but not PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.


I haven’t yet got my head around the handling of CSS. It’s possible to create a .css text file and edit it by hand; it’s also possible to use the CSS mode to access a GUI for creating CSS using good-old point-and-click. The hows and whys of which system to use, and when, escape me for now. But as the title of this post says, this is just about first impressions.
So far I’m enjoying it. The eye candy is attractive without being too intrusive; the system of “Sites” for managing projects is nicely done, and the inclusion of entire HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP reference books is an innovative and smart idea.


The software is fully-featured enough to be used almost as a replacement for Dreamweaver—unless of course you’re hardcore addicted to the WYSIWYG interface. Otherwise, the Transmit and SubEthaEdit’s collaborative editing integration make it an extremely attractive alternative, even to those of us who are big TextMate aficionados.


We’ll see how it goes, but after a few hours working with Coda I’m already a big fan. It’s almost guaranteed to be a huge hit with other OS X developers. Be sure to check out Panic’s site on Monday to get your own copy. The copy I have expires in 14 days, and we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what this gem will cost for licensing. In the mean time here are some more screenshots for you to gush over.


It’s like buying your dream car, only to find out that the seats are kind of uncomfortable and there’s no heater. Coda comes so close to being great that its shortcomings are especially annoying. Having tried this way of working, I’m loath to return to having four apps open all the time – and yet I keep running into issues that irritate me almost enough to give it up. (quote selected by DaringFireball)

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