added on Saturday, May 05, 2007 9:04 am
Panic released a new web development tool named Coda yesterday. One might think that there is no room in this market for another tool. But maybe time will tell that there IS room, right between the “Text Editors” Textmate and “BBEdit” and the “Visual Apps” Dreamweaver/Golive.
The first look on Coda was a pleasant surprise, that is why I will post my experiences as I start working with it:
- Great interface design! Well, this is Panic, right? Along with the Iconfactory and Delicious, these are the wizards of Mac Apps for years now. But still, the first impression is a really nice one. Not bloated, everything seems to be in the right place.
- Look at those nice site icons! Coda seems to generate them with web kit. Gorgeous.
- Syntax coloring and the “site drawer” on the left reminds me a lot of the way Textmate works. Seeing this “borrowing” from a one-man-software-company does not make me feel good. On the other hand: It really works and Panic might have just come to similar solutions for the same challenges.
- Previewing right inside Coda is great! Works well with my Headdressed local sites, complete with php interpretation etc.
- Code completion works like a charm. Much better than in Textmate.
- Beautiful transitions overall.
- To upload files you first mark them for publishing, then you upload them all by clicking one button. Neat.
- “Books” is documentation on HTML, CSS and PHP integrated in Coda. Handy, but only works when you are online.
- Find and replace are done perfectly. Very visual in a top bar, with buttons to browse through the matches. Features wildcards and Regular Expressions.
- This seems to bring up the question, if Coda is a substitute for Textmate, which I hold dear for more than two years now. On the one hand, Coda seems to be much easier to grasp. On the other Textmate is much much more flexible and powerful (with all the third-party bundles), but at the price of less intuitiveness. You can open files from Coda for editing in Textmate with the context menu of the files in the side bar. Maybe it is a good idea to code with Coda and switch to Textmate if the additional power is really needed.
UPDATE 25 Apr
- It’s not too intuitive (and took me some seconds to find out) that open files are represented with tabs below the “Edit” and “Preview” buttons. You switch between the views of the same file by clicking the button above the file tab. I feel it should be the other way round. But it’s not a big deal when you figured it out.
- This is a big one: You can split the screen and have an index.html on top and the linked css on the bottom. But it seems you cannot do it by just clicking files, as this always changes both views. Here is how you can do it: Split the screen and then drag the file from the file bar on the left onto the window half where you want it to open. Then you can also switch between edit and CSS mode.
- You can change the URL of the preview, so you can for example pipe a php through the local apache etc. Switch between code and preview keeps this URL. Unfortunately closing the file does not. Only the remote URL is saved in the sites, but not a local testing URL. Not optimal, but still previewing is fast and flexible.
UPDATE 5 MAY The update to version 1.0.1 adds a “Local Testing URL” setting for every site. Dear Panic, thank you very much for listening!
- Compared with Textmate font rendering in Coda is a tad more blurry. The coding font is customizable, the colors as well. There is this handy switch “invert colors”. In fact this only inverts dark to light and vice versa, but keeps the color hue. Neat! I wonder when the first color themes will be downloadable, there are import and export buttons…
UPDATE 26 Apr
- Discovered that if you work locally on a file and you preview it through the file protocol, changes in the code are reflected immediately without the need to reload the page. Very nice for changing little bits in CSS for example. Unfortunately this does not work anymore if you have to preview through http, for php etc. So you have to press reload for every test. I wish there was a “local testing URL” that is saved and used with the site.
- Maintaining files locally and on a hosted webserver is working wonderfully. Every file that is changed locally gets an upload-button on the right, automatically. Progress is monitored on the bottom of the file drawer. Nice.
UPDATE MAY 5
- The new update to version 1.0.1 also solves some issues with uploading to sub- and sub-sub-folders. I have’nt tested in detail, but I still have uploads to wrong folders sometimes…
Stay tuned. I will post more as I go deeper into Coda.