Workflow with Coda 1.0

Screenshot of the Coda 1.0 web site at

Alright, we like the guys at Panic. I use Transmit on a daily basis. The other guys around here use Cyberduck (because it is free), but that have been eyeing up Transmit lately because I seem to have fewer issues than they do.

Anyhow, Coda 1.0 was announced and released publicly yesterday. Coda is a an all-in-one web development environment that would replace your text editor, ftp client, terminal window and web browser and bundle it all into one application that  lets you keep your window clutter down and you working rather than command + tabbing (or dock clicking) back and forth from app to app.

My initial reaction was lukewarm as I heard about Coda and what it does. I mean, how hard is it really to keep 4 or 5 web development apps open. I’ve been doing it for 11 years now, so why will this make any difference? But I like Transmit and Cabel designs very nice interfaces, so I figured it would be worth the download.

Well, after about 45 minutes of poking around the app, it became clear that this little tool from Panic is likely to be a game changer for a whole lot of people. See if this sounds familiar in your web development process:

  • launch FTP client, get latest files from server
  • open up editor (BBEdit and Textmate see about a 50/50 split for me)
  • make some changes to a file or two or 80
  • switch back to your FTP client (or drag to Transmit’s dock if you use docksend) and upload your changes
  • open up your web browser (Safari, Firefox, Camino, Opera, et al...) and preview the site
  • bounce back to your text editor, make some changes
  • open up an image editor just to look at files in the site (you are still going to need an image editor of some type to make the files, but Coda lets you see them clearly without ever leaving the development window)
  • over to FTP, upload those changes
  • back to the browser and refresh to view your changes
  • pop Terminal open and SSH to your server when you need to some heavy lifting
  • rinse and repeat all day long

This is how I have been doing things for the last 11 years. So what about Coda would change this? Like I said, after about 45 minutes, it became clear that Coda WILL change this for many people. Everything is one application. I can put files to the server. I can edit. I can preview image files without having to open an image editor. As I do loads of CSS around here, having the ability to get the dimensions of an image I am looking at, right below my open style-sheet is worth the $79 price tag alone for me.

A screen shot of Coda 1.0 in action with split view showing style sheet and image file as well as the sharing pane.

We have installed Coda on all 4 MacBook Pros here at Visual Lizard and have all committed to working with it for 14 days (the evaluation period) and so far this morning, I keep hearing "wow" and "did you know it does this?" and "nice, I can see what you are coding" (via the SubEthaEdit editing engine). I have already purchased it and I’m betting before the end of the week, we will have 3 more licenses running here in the office. This application must have hit the guys at Panic in one of those bolt-of-lighting type of moments as you realize that there has to be a better way to do something and BANG, there is the answer in front of you. Congratulations on Coda guys.

For the rest of you out there, if you haven’t used Coda yet and you develop web sites, seriously, get it. Try it out. I know it’s only been out a day since this writing, but really... get it.

Cabel, Steven, here is a small list of things we hope get added to the development wish list (we will keep this updated as we go for you):

  • Sharing - display site / url / or something that lets everyone else know which file someone is actually working in. Given that most folks these days do A LOT of development on top of a Framework or CMS or both, file names tend to be the same. Some indicator that lets you know what site or FTP location someone is working in would be awesome.
  • SVN / CVS support of some kind (because I am sure everyone else on the planet is asking you for)
  • Ability to re-order split view panes so you can put files you are working on above or before the web browser window.

Congratulations on producing both an amazing looking and incredibly useful product. Our thanks!

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