Coda Deserves Kudos

Coda, the new all-in-one web development application from Panic, promises a lot. So much, in fact, that I doubted it could deliver. Combining my text editor, file browser/organizer, terminal, SFTP, and reference all into one is a tall order.
To their credit, Panic doesn’t claim to have the best of every individual function, only that they’ve combined these functions into a unified, elegant interface. And they’re right. Coda is a masterpiece.
As a recent “switcher� to Mac, I’ve yet to find a coding/development style that suits me. I don’t (yet) run a local webserver, so my process was fraught with code, upload, test, repeat. I used a combination of Fetch and Textmate to accomplish the bulk of my work.
Coda greatly simplifies the “code, upload, test, repeat� process by combining the upload process into the file organizer and text editor. It’s quite a simple idea – when you edit a file in Coda, it gets marked as edited and ready for upload. Clicking on an icon next to that file sends it up to your testing server.
There is one workflow process that I haven’t seen anyone master either on Mac or PC. When you’re running a small or medium-size website (1-5 people involved), you’re often at the point where you are working with a testing server, but working fast enough that you want to push changes to the live server quickly after testing. Here, Coda doesn’t necessarily shine, but does perform better than traditional methods. I created two sites with nearly identical properties, save for the remote address and host. This works decently, but I have to manually mark files for upload to get them to the live site.
What’s needed in this marketplace is a way to move files from “testing� to “live.� I’m sure there are better ways to do this using versioning systems and some server voodoo, but for small, growing sites with limited IT expertise (read: me and a few other DIYers.), it would be nice to be able to do this locally.
But I digress. The bottom line is this – I’ve used Coda for a few days and I’m completely hooked. There wasn’t a single moment where I wanted to be back in Textmate (though I love it!). Kudos to Panic for seeing a hole in the marketplace and changing the game a bit. Bravo.

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