Coda review

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10We rate this 7 out of 10We rate this 7 out of 10We rate this 7 out of 10We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

  • Price When Reviewed: 49 . 44

  • Pros: Excellent workflow features, including automated workspace restoration. User-friendly interface. Integrated reference books.

  • Cons: Interface sometimes slow to respond. ‘Edit’ section lacks key-binding for rapidly marking up elements.

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Although Web designers have long enjoyed all-in-one solutions provided by the likes of Dreamweaver, hand coders rarely experience such luxury. Instead, workflow suffers as users juggle multiple applications, such as text editors, CSS editors, FTP clients and browsers. Coda aims to deal with this problem, offering ‘one-window Web development’.

Unlike most direct competitors, Coda is highly project focused. Its interface provides access to several core project elements, the first of which is Sites. This section is initially used to define local and remote file directories. Users of Panic’s Transmit FTP tool can automatically import settings – a handy touch.

Once sites are defined, the Sites section provides single-click access to projects. Each time one is accessed, the set-up (FTP details, open tabs, pane splits) from when the project was last worked on is restored – a major workflow triumph.

Similar great thinking is demonstrated in Coda’s Files sidebar, which flags edited files with a clickable Upload arrow, and also provides a helpful Publish All button for uploading all changed files at once.

When it comes to working on documents, Coda is more hit and miss. The CSS section is decent, providing form- and button-based CSS-editing facilities, although hand coders will find it quicker to work on CSS in the Edit section. However, this section is Coda’s weakest element. Despite strong sharing and search-&-replace features, the editor sometimes feels a little sluggish and it lacks the kind of features TextMate users enjoy.

Coda offers only standard code-hinting and a limited Clips palette. This wouldn’t normally be an issue, but Coda is designed to bump other applications from your workflow, so it needs to compete with them. Previewing files is better, with the Preview section offering a WebKit browser, a menu to open the current document in other installed browsers, a JavaScript console, and a handy element-hierarchy path. However, its inability to preview PHP files limits its usefulness.

Overall, there’s no denying Coda’s concept is great – the workflow features are first-class, and Panic has created several useful, unique features, rather than offering gimmicks.

However, the execution in some areas – notably the text editor – is lacking. An improved text editor, a speed boost and a revamped Clips palette would undoubtedly make Panic’s creation a leading Mac Web-development application, but for
now, it might be best to hang on to your existing tools and see what Coda’s first update brings.

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