Nothing brightens up a Saturday morning hangover like toys I'm not supposed to have in my inbox. An anonymous tipster (thanks Mike!) dished me a copy of Panic Software's new developer workflow application Coda today. If you remember I was just a little bit hot and bothered about this yesterday. The app is supposed to officially debut Monday but I don't see why I can't give you guys my own first impressions with a full on exclusive review.
I do web development pretty much every day and have never been a real fan of the all inclusive, live editing types of tools. Honestly tools like Dreamweaver really makes me cringe. So like many others I normally have a separate application for text editing, FTP, shell, and of course a few browsers open. I have to tell you, I've taken the red pill now and doing away with all of these separate tools actually seems possible with Coda.
So in case you haven't already guessed, from within Coda you can use FTP, terminal, preview, a CSS editor, and of course live edit your remote files on the fly. When I first launched Coda it sucked in all of my details from Transmit (another Panic app) with a quick import. From there I was met with a jaw droppingly gorgeous live preview of my website, where I could enter my remote/local, FTP, and shell details.
I guarantee you will be impressed by the user interface in Coda. I never used to be impressed by jazzy special effects, simplicity, and elegance in my applications, but Panic really delivers on this front. If this type of thing gives you wood, prepare to be really dazzled when working with this tool.
But the real bread and butter of an app like this is its live editing feature. Some of the other workflow apps I've used really don't handle the remote editing of files that elegantly. When you live in Bangkok and your working on servers in the US, trust me, you will feel the latency. After working with Coda all day doing just this type of work, I can say I am very satisfied, and even a bit surprised. As with Transmit a connection loss is transparent to the user, meaning you never know you got disconnected.
Okay here is something I really like about the editor. I hit command+f and from the top of the file I'm using shimmies out a find/replace text bar. I really like stuff like that at my fingertips. You really get the impression with Coda that the guys at Panic build apps that they themselves would use. The editor is certainly not as robust as something like BBedit, but I seriously don't think it has to be.
Coda also comes packed with a CSS editing tool. I'm not a real fan of these but I actually found myself using it quite a bit. One thing I can say is that if you are a newbie with CSS, Coda might just be your best friend. Stashed off in one of the tabs is a books section which was outfitted with the PHP manual and 3 others. I didn't see an option to add your own books, or how this could even be done, but having all of my dev literature in one place is a pretty remarkable concept.
I think the really great thing about Coda is its tabbed layout that allows me to switch from editing a file, to my terminal, to a quick preview of my work. I am a bit of a slob and will often have a dozen files open for editing at once, and Coda handled my bad habits surpisingly well. I can honestly say that from quick edits to even intensive work, Coda adapts and scales like a champ.
FTP functions like it does in Transmit, which is just fine. Coming from *nix the only real gripe I have (and it's legit damnit!) is the complete lack of a quick path edit line. Without it browsing directories is way more cumbersome than it has to be. But seriously, this my only real complaint, and this is a brand spanking new application.
Salivating yet? If you do any design you should be. Okay, I know what you're thinking Ëœthis approach has been made before with dozens of other apps, and it tries to do too much, and it ends up being cumbersome in the end.' My first impression of Coda is that it is really powerful, yet extremely elegant, and I am being honest when I say I will be using it for my webdev work from now on. It really gels with my worfflow and I would be surprised if I am not more productive using it.
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.
UPDATE: Coda has just been officially let loose in the wild. You can grab a 14 day trial here or jump right into a license for $79.00. From the looks of their buy page that price may go up to $99 in the near future. Congratulations to the Panic crew for a timely and slick release. Great work!
I nearly shat when I first saw this.
Just tell me my motd screen is not r0X0rz.
The CSS editing tool.
This is the editor’s preference pane.
The terminal preference pane.
Be sure to subscribe to our full page feeds for more up to the minute Mac app reviews, previews, and giveaways.