Coda 2: It’s Here and It’s Awesome

April 23, 2007. That was the day Panic initially released Coda. The idea of Coda was revolutionary: one app, one window for the entire web development workflow. And they did it right too. They won the 2007 Apple Design Award for Best User Experience. Before Coda there were tools like TextMate, BBEdit and MacRabbit’s Espresso and CSS Edit. Yes, there was even Dreamweaver if you like spending a lot of money on a tool largely considered inferior (it does have its place). But Coda was truly a revolutionary new web development experience.

Before Coda, developing websites required a number of different tools. You need a text editor for writing code. You need an FTP application for uploading and downloading files from your server. You need a web browser to preview your work. You often need a database utility to modify your database. And you would often need a terminal application to connect to your server over SSH and make changes. Coda rolled most of the tools needed for these things into a single interface and application.

And now Coda 2 builds upon that success.

Initial Impressions

Upon opening Coda 2 for the first time I was pleased to see that, though obviously different, there was something fairly familiar, if slicker looking. The sites that I currently had set up in Coda 1 were all right there, waiting for me and ready to go. One really nice touch though, and one I have personally wanted for years, was the ability to organize sites into groups. I immediately did a preliminary organization. It works very simply and is quite discoverable, especially if you have ever used an iOS device. Drag a site icon onto another site icon and a group is instantly created.

01 coda groups

Coda 2 Sites with Groups

The slider at the bottom allows you to control the size of the site icons and folders. As an added bonus, if you slide the controller all the way over the left, you will get a list view, something that was not available in the original Coda. It’s another nice touch.

One thing though that pained me right away was seeing those horrible vertical window control buttons lifted straight from the initial release of iTunes 10.

02 non standard vertical controls

vertical window controls

I have complained about this before and I will do so now for Coda as well. I believe this to be a horrible breach of UI aesthetics and muscle memory. I think we can all legitimately complain about how horribly broken the functionality of OS X’s green zoom button is and how it never behaves in the way you expect it to, and we can bemoan the way minimizing works in OS X. But at least for most apps we know where those buttons are located.

As with the initial release of iTunes 10, so it is now for Coda. Muscle memory is broken. When I want to minimize or zoom the Coda window it takes me a little extra time to find the buttons. It’s nit-picky but annoying. I use those buttons often enough that it bugged me quite a bit. And it’s not a matter of re-training my muscle memory because Coda 2 is the only app with the buttons like this. I’m lobbying for them to go back where they belong. Window controls belong on the top left horizontal plane of a window in OS X. I do not believe any exceptions are called for.

You would think I didn’t have anything to write about the way I’m carrying on about this minor annoyance, so it’s time I moved on because there’s a lot to cover.

File Management

Users of Panic’s Transmit will feel right at home upon opening a site in Coda 2. Though Coda does not completely displace Transmit if you need advanced FTP functions, it is certainly a workable solution and I think I will find myself using Transmit far less than I did before.

The initial view is a split view of local files on the left and remote files on the right. You will feel right at home if your work flow is to edit locally and then publish to server.

03 split file view

Coda’s Transmit-like split file view

As an ExpressionEngine web developer, I am almost always working on templates in the directory structure of the FTP server and not on local files so I switched off the split view and went straight to remote view. Aside from the fact that files have their own tab instead of a dedicated sidebar, this works as before. Double clicking a file either locally, or on the remote server will open the file up in a tab ready to be edited.

I actually like files having their own dedicated tab far better. I prefer it to the sidebar approach because there’s now more horizontal room for my code.

Fear not though, ease of file access is not gone. Coda 2 includes what they call an active path bar. What this means is while you are editing, the path to the file you are working on is displayed in the path bar. Clicking any segment on the path bar will pop up a list of files for you to open, or even move around or manipulate in other ways. It’s actually quite brilliant in my opinion. I’m fairly confident I will wonder how I ever got along without it.

04 file path bar pop over

path bar pop over file management

Tabs and Split Views

Tabs are another big improvement. In Coda 1, somehow tabs never looked right to me. I sometimes had a hard time seeing which tab was active, or which file belonged to which tab. Coda 2 introduces thumbnail tabs. I find this much more visually appealing and have had no trouble determining which tab is active at any given time. And it’s easier to identify which file belongs to which tab.

There are actually 3 modes for tabs: large icons, small icons, and text only (more like tabs in the previous version).

05 tabs

all three tab types pictured here

(Note that in text only tab view the window control buttons are oriented the proper way! I’ll have to think about running Coda 2 in this mode.)

On the tab bar you will also find a “plus” button from which you can do four things. You can start a new blank document, open a new SSH session, open a reference book, or start a MySQL session.

06 new tab functions

new tab functions

Split Views

One thing that has always been unique to Coda is the ability to split a tab view in half vertically or horizontally. I prefer to split my windows vertically, though Coda will split horizontally if that’s your thing. Spliting the window has received a bit of a makeover. When you click the split button, you are given a menu of options. It’s pretty much the same things you could do before (minus the CSS panel, which I’ll get to shortly).

07 split window options

options for splitting the view

08 split window

split view — code editor on left, preview on right

Three Cheers for Code Folding

People talk. Sometimes they talk about Coda. When they do, they are often inclined to talk about its shortcomings. Among those shortcomings, someone would inevitably say, “yeah, I can tell you really like Coda by the way you wax eloquent about it, but can it do code folding?” That was the point at which you would turn red, mumble to yourself and try to steer the conversation in another direction.

Well no more, because Coda 2 includes code folding. And it seems to me to be much smarter and better than most other applications I have used. This is extremely valuable because it is easy (for me anyway) to get lost in nested divs and so on (usually when I’m trying to drill down into someone else’s code, which I seem to need to do way more than is healthy for my sanity). Code folding makes it much easier to figure out what is nested inside what.

Make no mistake, this is a huge feature.

09 code folding

code folding

The Sidebar Moved

Oh, and it got a complete remodel. They basically threw the old sidebar out and put a new one in it’s place. I’m still getting used to it being on the right instead of the left, but it’s not really a big deal. The dog has definitely learned some new tricks.

First off, on the home panel you can drag favorites up to the top in the same manner as you would drag items down to the toolbar in the iPhone music app. Here you will find clips, files and navigator among other things.

10 sidebar

the sidebar moved to the right-hand side

  • Clips
    Clips are still here and better than ever. In terms of inserting clips they pretty much work as before. For instance, I have “p” assigned to start a new paragraph tag pair. So I type “p + tab” and I get a paragraph tag pair with my cursor at the insertion point ready to type. In addition to the standard placeholder, you can also now have clips insert cutom text.
  • Files
    Yes, the file view is still available in the sidebar. While I will as I said earlier likely use the dedicated file tab, there are times when I want to see the document list in the sidebar, and Coda 2 provides.
  • Find In
    Allows you to search your files for content and optionally find and replace. Very handy
  • Hints
    As you type, this sidebar area will give you hints about the code it thinks you are typing. I didn’t find this that useful.
  • Navigator
    I never found the navigator to be all that useful in Coda 1, and Coda 2 appears to be no different for HTML. I can’t figure out what elements it decides to show and not show. So I’ll likely ignore it as I did before. For CSS however, it appears to replace the function of Coda 1’s CSS editor navigation so I will likely use it there. (More on that in a moment)
  • Places
    Sort of like the Finder sidebar. Double clicking an item here will open it in the dedicated file browser tab.
  • Publish
    If you are editing files locally, this will allow you to publish changes to the server.
  • SCM
    Source Code Management. I don’t use Source Code management so I can’t really speak to this feature
  • Shared
    Coda lets you share documents and collaborate over the local network. I’ve never used this since I usually do all my own code work but I hear it’s good.
  • Validate
    This is a wonderful feature that will let you know if you have invalid code in your markup. This is much better than going through the W3C validator all the time.

CSS — Uh Oh

One of the big features that attracted me to Coda in the beginning was the CSS editing. The split view CSS editing was fantastic. It fit me well because I don’t have every CSS function memorized, but I could see the things I wanted to do in Coda’s CSS editor, add it, type in the value or whatever, and then if I needed to, I could edit the code in the code editor. And of course Coda wrote really clean CSS. So I was a little nervous when I heard that Panic was completely revamping the way CSS works.

And to tell you the truth, I’m very disappointed. This feels like the first real let down, maybe even the only real let down in this upgrade. The new way of working with CSS is called CSS Pops. What happens is that as you type code, pop-ups present themselves and you can choose what you want. For instance within a CSS bracket you can start typing the word margin, and all the margin rules will pop up. Select one and type enter and you are immediately kicked over to enter the value where you can again choose from a pop-up or just type the value. If the rule is a color rule, you will get a color chooser pop-up. If the rule has border or thickness options of some kind, you will get a pop-up with those options.

11 css

CSS Color Chooser

12 css

CSS Border Editor

13 css

CSS Margin Editor

I type in my CSS a fair bit of the time. So I consider the CSS Pops a great feature to have added to the CSS editor. But there’s a fair number of times when I want the CSS editor from Coda 1. I want to just click in a value box and enter the margin value. Or whatever. I don’t see what possible reason they could have had for removing the revolutionary CSS editor.

In fact, I would say that the Coda CSS editor is how I really started to pick up CSS and learn it well. Because I would not know exactly how to do something, but I would see the different things I could try in the CSS editor and so I would start doing things in the CSS editor and seeing what code it spit out. It was very helpful. And that to me was the beauty of Coda 1’s CSS editor. It was great for beginners, but you could still get down into the code and do stuff. It seems to me that the pop-ups would have been a great enhancement, but they are no replacement for the CSS editor.

Thankfully, we do have the code navigator to at least let us navigate in a similar way that the former CSS editor did. Consider this my plea to Panic to bring back the beautiful, elegant, and powerful CSS editor to work alongside the CSS Pops.

I have a feeling I’ll be going back to Coda 1 here and there to use the CSS editor.

What Else?

Theres a lot more than I can cover here. Panic says there’s over 100 new features. Some of them I’m not qualified to address. I’m really horrible with databases for instance so I’ll leave the new MySQL feature to someone else to talk about.

  • The new reference books are awesome and I’m sure I’ll be making use of them.
  • Quicklook right in Coda is great, select a file, press the spacebar. It’s awesome.
  • Autocomplete improvements are all welcome in my short time with Coda 2 thus far.
  • There’s something a bit more pleasing about the syntax coloring.

Diet Coda

Just for a second, stop and revel in just how awesome that name is. Done? Okay. It really is such a great name.

Diet Coda is an iPad companion app. You can edit on the go with your iPad in this slimmed down app or you can use it with Coda’s new AirPreview feature, dedicating your iPad to previewing your work as you code. I don’t have an iPad, but this truly does seem awesome.

Upgrade Pricing

I wrote about upgrade pricing and the Mac App Store earlier this month, and I think that the way Panic is approaching the problem, while good and I applaud them for it, highlights the very problems I was talking about.

What they are doing to work around Apple’s lack of paid upgrades for apps, and still try to keep as much parity between buying straight from them, and buying from the Mac App Store, is making “upgrade pricing” available to everyone for a limited time. This really isn’t upgrade pricing, it’s discount pricing, but it’s really the only option available to them with the Mac App Store being the way it is.

So, here’s the way it all goes down. On launch day, Thursday, May 24, Coda 2 will be available at a 50% discount of $49.00 to everyone. After that first 24 hour period, Coda 2 will be available for $75.00 for a limited time (this is what they are calling “upgrade pricing for everyone”). And finally, Coda’s price will return to $99.00 after that.

If you purchased Coda 1 directly from Panic (not through the Mac App Store) after April 10, you are eligible to receive a free upgrade to Coda 2.

Worth It?

I think so. As I said, I’m sure I’ll be making trips to Coda 1 for the CSS editor, but hopefully that won’t be that often, and that‘s really the only major complaint I have. I love everything else that’s new in Coda. I plan to buy it right away.

The folks at Panic are a class act and make fine software.


Single window, all-in-one web development and design.



Add Yours
  • I disagree. This is a huge disappointment. And I am sorry to have given Panic money.

    To add insult to injury: You cannot connect to a web site with SFTP if your key requires a password. This is such an eclatant bug that reveals how unpolished and unfinished it is.

    Diet Coda – horrible name aside – is, on the other hand, better than expected.

    • Can you say why you’re disappointed? I’ve heard pretty much great things about it and I’m excited to try it out once I get home.

      And I agree with TJ- Diet Coda is a great name.

      • I must say I am a little disappointed, but that is probably due to the fact that I started looking for solutions to vendor prefixes and other css issues and found sublimetext.

        I made the move. I just tried coda and it feels, on the surface, very heavy on the UI. It reminds me of rapidwearver? or the iWeb app apple had.

        Obviously it is much more powerful then those, but there just seems so much in the way of actually getting on with writing code.

        As I am only really working on HTML(5) and CSS(3), I was looking for some great features that would make all of that easy to work with. I would also like some Sass and or LESS integration.

        I think I have maybe moved on since Coda1 and sublime has filled its boots and offered me so much more.

    • Same issue here. I basically can’t use Coda 2 since all of the servers I connect to use a custom private key with a password. It worked fine in Coda 1. Very big disappointment! Have to resort to using Coda 1 until this is fixed while my shiny new Coda 2 just sits there.

      • In the same boat, Coda 2 is completely useless for me without private keys working correctly since I can’t connect to my server.

    • What is ‘eclatant’ supposed to mean? There’s no word even remotely like it in the English language.

      • It’s a bad “translation” of ‘striking’ or ‘blatant’ from German.

    • Coda 2 is such a disappointment.

      Some of the things they tryed to implement could have been landmark, but this just does not come close to being usable IMO.

      Its a small web site development program at best, Boasting With Big Tools that don’t function great.

      Also crashed on me repeatedly.

      Coda Light – Air Preview fails to work at all.

      All in all, Compared to what Coda 1 was before Espresso came along, and How good of an App Transmit is. This is downright terrible.

      On top of it all, I find the new workflow in coda 2 to be cumbersome and clunky. Multiple places to find and navigate files is just daft.

    • Agreed Peter. At first I was super excited about all of the new features. Great concepts tucked in there. I have loved Coda and Transmit since I started coding and could hardly wait to try the new experience. What I loved about Coda 1 was how intuitive and user friendly it was. It was different than every other FTP client out there, and that is a good thing.

      Excited about the new version I downloaded the trial. I knew it would take some getting used to, with the new features and layout, so I was open-minded.

      Well, what a disappointment. My trial is about to expire and that is fine with me. The new features (folding, diet coda preview,validation,etc) are great, but the UX is DISGUSTING.

      It is counter intuitive, repetitive, inefficient and difficult to navigate. Panic are you listening? You generally make great MAC software. Mac users care about their UX, thats why they are mac users.

      IMHO, its not worth $75 – $99 for a few new features and 10 steps back in interface design.

      Take it back to the drawing board and I’ll gladly purchase Coda 2.5 for twice the price.

      +1 on the widow line.

  • looks kinda bloated for me. it has 70% of features that i don’t need to use. i’m sticking with my smultron.

  • Yes, indeed the guys from Panic really are great, and do have solid and also visually pleasing software.
    The first thing I did when I got up was to buy and download Coda2. It’s really heavenly awesome. What a kick-ass job they’ve done, incredible !
    The only thing I also dislike is the vertical window control button set.
    The rest is pure awesomeness !

    TJ Draper, it was hilarious the way you said: “I prefer to split my WIDOWS vertically” :)) !

    • Ugh! Hate that. I can’t modify articles after they are published. I’ll see if I can get that fixed.

  • TJ, you can change the position of the sidebar in your prefs, btw. (General/Sidebar Position)

    • Yeah, I realize that. But defaults matter so I try to stick with them at least for a little while. And like I said, it’s not a huge deal just have to get used to it.

  • Guys a Panic worked really hard on this and it shows, there are a few issues with it, but that is normal with a major release such as this and taking into account they aren’t a huge team like Adobe. I love the new features some more than others, The clips are great, the custom code completion is awesome! one of the things I absolutely love! I don’t use code folding so not much of an advantage for me, but the design is pretty solid apart from the vertical buttons, but if you drag it and make it to text size that repositions it to the right way, also resizing to text i think makes it look nicer and easier to use! all in all I think they did a great job with Coda 2!

  • I’ve looked a coda time and again; perhaps it’s time for another peek, though I’ve always gone off another way. I don’t really care about glitz and style, so long as I get to do things my way. So as to the vertical window controls…

    As usual, the real point has been missed. It is not about the tradition of a horizontal layout; it’s about why that became a tradition of OS interface design, whether those controls are on the left or on the right, depending on the OS.

    There’s one very obvious reason among others… it keeps it out of the screen realestate zone designated “traditionally” for tools and tool bars. No, it’s not very wide, but it is such a dumb interface design “decorator’s” choice instead of “designer/developer” choice that it’s hard to imagine how it came up at all. Coda didn’t think it through either… and neither did this reviewer.

    Still, I have a reason to peek at Coda once more, though the glitz and prettyiness (meaning conformity) don’t mean much to me.

  • I think it’s awesome. I originally used Coda, then switched to Espresso 2 and now I’m going to switch back to Coda 2. The UI is just awesome and the built in FTP and MySQL editor just makes everything simpler – literally the only other app I’d have to use is Photoshop! Obviously it’s early days as I’ve only had it a few hours, but so far so good for me.

  • Well, I for one am happy to see some improvements. I expect that any issues encountered can and will eventually be resolved. Love the AirPreview feature with Diet Coda.

    But Diet Coda… That’s pretty eye rolling worthy!

  • Have to agree with Peter been waiting 2 years for this not heaps impressed my code folding doesn’t even seem to work properly hope they do some major fixes soon.

    • That’s the real issue, in my opinion. We’re not talking about a new piece of software where we gloss over the rough edges because it’s a great start. Instead, we’re talking about a piece of software that took two years (!?) to develop and arrives FIVE years after the release of the previous version. And it feels like a beta.

      Why was the css editor removed? Holy yikes.

  • Actually, Espresso came after Coda :)

    If you need a css help, just try CSSEdit, I always liked it better than Coda for CSS. I never liked how one couldn’t enter values on one side and have the code at the same time, which CSSEdit allow. Much better to learn in my opinion.
    So the new way in Coda 2 is to please me. Not in the way, and there to help if you have a blank ( or a sudden lazy )

    • “Actually, Espresso came after Coda :)”

      Really? huh. I loose track of time.

      “I never liked how one couldn’t enter values on one side and have the code at the same time, which CSSEdit allow.”

      Actually this is exactly how Coda 1 works. That is the way I always worked in Coda 1. You just have to split the window vertically (or horizontally if you prefer) and switch one of the splits to CSS and keep the other in edit mode. Any change you make in the code is reflected in the CSS editor and changes you make in the editor is reflected in the code. This is precisely what I’m going to miss so much.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to purchase an app in my life as I was this week when I heard the news Coda 2 was eminent.  I even took a nap last night after work in anticipation for a midnight release and an hour or two of getting a feel for the upgrades.  So when it popped up in the Mac App Store early, I was on it and downloading within seconds.  Everything went smoothly, it all looked pretty (per usual for Panic), and then I set out to see the CSS Live Editing feature they mention on their site.  And then I kept looking, and looking, and checking Twitter for help, and looking at the Google page for Coda, and then back to Twitter.  I don’t seem to be the only one having this issue.
    I think most people assume live editing of CSS would be similar to CSSEdit or the Web Developer extension.  I change the color of the background in the code and the background changes simultaneously in preview window.  I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and placing the blame on me being somewhat clueless on how to work with the upgrade.  I just can’t imagine that you would release such software nowadays without such a feature.   I hope I didn’t just go from using Coda 1 + CSSEdit to Coda 2 + CSSEdit.  I could have spent that money on records, or with $25 more, Espresso 2.

    • From what I’ve noticed, if you’re using a separate CSS file (which most of us would be), you have to save the CSS file before it will show you the changes. Which, as you mentioned, is NOT what I expected at all. There are several things that have very much disappointed me about this release.

      • That’s so clunky and extremely disappointing. None of the reviews seem to cover this either.

        I’m a brand loyalty guy too which makes it worse. I expected more, and for them to up the game to be honest. Mama always warned me about high expectations.

        The refresh when editing HTML is choppy too.

        Buyer’s remorse always tastes bitter.

    • “I hope I didn’t just go from using Coda 1 + CSSEdit to Coda 2 + CSSEdit. I could have spent that money on records, or with $25 more, Espresso 2.”

      I’m thinking exactly the same thing.

  • I wanna like the new Coda so bad. I’ve been super excited the last few days waiting on it to release. Now that it’s here, I’ve found so many bugs and things they don’t work like they should and things that don’t do what I wish they would.

    Why can’t I work on my css file in the left pane and preview the html document in the right and see the updates? Disappointed that there isn’t a vertical/column select, no multiple cursors, the gradient popup just stopped working. It doesn’t generate the code at all.

    As I said, I was super excited and had my money waiting to purchase it. Now, I’m kinda hesitant to do it.

    • Perhaps with Coda 3, which will probably be released in 2017, we’ll get basic features like that.

      I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I’m really disappointed with Coda 2. I was planning on upgrading, but now I’m wondering if I should instead be switching to Espresso 2. Working with remote files seems like a hassle in Espresso 2, but so much of Coda 2 is equally wonky.

    • You can do what you are describing. I came across the same thing and was shocked that it didn’t work. Then I figured out that I had to make a new window with the html version on the right and a separate window on the left with the css. I wanted one window like it should be, but this will have to work for now I guess.

    • Actually, I accidentally found that you can do column/vertical selects and edits. If you hold down the option key when you select multiple lines it will (IMO incorrectly) select the entire line of all of the rows. You can even option-shift click them to remove any you don’t want, or option-shift click to select individual rows. Once these rows are selected you can click normally on any of the lines to get the position you want (for example I was removing // from the beginning of about 5 lines) and make your edit. At that point it will edit all of the selected lines at that cursor point. It works, albeit a bit wonky, but the feature is there. I think the biggest issue I see right now is the lack of documentation on how all of these things work.

  • I really would like to see a comparison of Coda 2 and Espresso 2. I’m long over due to upgrade.

    • Agreed.

      My method is to write HTML in Coda, and then the CSS in CSSEdit so I can see it change “on the fly”, as I type it. I’m visual, and I imagine most designers would be. I’ve always longed for a true all-in-one app, which Espresso 2 provided, but I was really holding out to see what Panic had in store because, well, they’re Panic! Right now, and I’m not sure it’s entirely fair after 2 hours of comparison, Espresso 2 fits my needs in a much batter way.

      • Where is this CSSEdit I keep reading about? I only see Espresso on their website. I realize that has CSSEdit built in, but it’s also $80

      • CSSEdit doesn’t exist anymore. Its features were folded into Espresso 2.

  • I also have to disagree… when I started coding a few years ago, Coda was my go-to editor as well. So, I really tried to love Coda 2, after having installed the demo this morning.

    Don’t get me wrong, Panic did a great job on the UI and they also added a few awesome features, that I like, but the most essential part – the editing of text – seems almost crippled in comparison to alternatives like Sublime Text 2.

    Originally, I had planned to purchase the complete package including Coda Diet, but I won’t buy anything in the end.

  • I think Panic have done a fantastic job on Coda 2, it feels a hell of a lot more usable, finding files is easier, the gradient colour picker is fantastic, and I love how I can group my sites now.

    I think what the problem people have is, because it was so long getting to this point, people had over a year or so of Coda 1 working perfectly and bug free. So now that a new version is out and they’re having to deal with bugs, it’s more of a problem. I personally haven’t experienced any bugs yet, but I’m sure I will over the next couple of days. Also like people say, it has literally just been released today, of course there will be bugs, but Panic are pretty quick at fixing these sort of things. I would expect an update within the next couple of days.

  • I would be more impressed if they improved on what they had in version 1 UI-wise instead of revamping the application as a whole. The new UI looks so ugly and in your face that there’s so much stuff trying to grab your attention, and not very well thought out. Keeping it simple would have been best, but instead they bloated it with so many visuals that they are more a hindrance to what the main purpose of the app is: coding.

    • Very well said! Less is definitely more when it comes to design. The Panic people are apparently skilled at UI widgets and general stuff that falls into the “gee whiz” category. Perhaps they should partner with a company skilled at developing timesaving functionality? The real name of the game is coding and getting results. UI whiz bangs just get in the damned way!

  • Coda 2 looks awesome, but i cannot use it, because i cannot connect to 99% oh my Servers and FTPs… i dont know why, because it works well with coda1 and transmit.
    I hope they fix it soon…

  • Fair review, TJ!

    Having spent a bit of time with Coda 2, I too have to admit that I’m underwhelmed, like some of the other commenters have admitted. It was a long time coming and, honestly, doesn’t seem to be as polished or streamlined as I had hoped it would be.

    I think the positive comments that can be made are all more or less to the effect that it’s better than Coda 1 which, really, isn’t saying too much — that’s the whole point of releasing a V2. What I find harder to give it credit for is being any better than the competition. Espresso has been laughing at Coda 1 for a while now, and my hope was that Coda 2 would bring a wealth of riches that would motivate Espresso to update too…progress through competition.

    Instead, Espresso remains in the clear — as far as my own workflow is concerned, everything I can do in Coda 2 I can still do in Espresso, and often much better. Now that CSSEdit is integrated into Espresso, CSS editing is a joy, code folding has been there for ages and works perfectly, CodeSense & spellcheck are great, X-Ray is very useful for verifying that tweaks are targeting what you need them to, the architecture is very easily expandable via ‘sugars’, and the interface is clean and uncluttered. Its integrated FTP features aren’t as robust, but I don’t need them to be in my coding environment (again, this is just based on my own workflow). I just need to be able to upload/sync to a server, and I can do that just fine in Espresso. I’m a very happy customer of Panic’s for Transmit, which I wouldn’t replace for any other client.

    If I’m being honest, I think some of the interface choices they’ve made are very jarring, distracting, and ugly, which is sad because others — like the active path bar — are strokes of genius.

    I really was hoping that Coda would usher in a new era for web design environments, but it doesn’t seem to have done so. At least not yet; maybe with some refinements down the road.

    In the meantime, I’m happy to stick to Espresso for most web work, SublimeText2 for raw coding (the best thing ever to happen to anything), and Transmit for serious server wrangling.

    Anyway, thanks for the good review, TJ :)

    • Nicely put, I couldn’t agree more. I was a Coda 1 user and then switched to Espresso +CSSEdit and then Espresso 2 and I have never looked back. I was anticipating Coda 2, perhaps it would being in some serious competition to Espresso or maybe even make me switch back to Coda but no, Espresso for me still comes out on top and is the better app. The workflow, the editor, css editing, the interface, live preview, etc are all better in Espresso 2. Not to say that Coda 2 doesn’t has it’s couple of niceties but they are really minor.

      The interface for Coda 2 I found tedious to work in, Coda 1 was far more straightforward and intuitive to use. It looks bloated, having eye candy for eye candy’s sake and the relationship between the document tabs on top and the “path bar” is confusing and not easily evident. The replacement of the visual CSS editor for the pop ups is a huge step backwards imo. The pop up for gradients auto-generates the syntax but only for webkit, not for mozilla. Odd thing since Espresso 2 does this.

      A shame that it turned out like this given how long they had been working on it.

      It is back to Espresso 2 for me, now that their app is in the clear, I can’t wait to see what they will bring to the table with Espresso 3.

  • Shortcuts are missing!!

    For people that use the keyboard intensively instead of the mouse Coda 2 is a nightmare. If you have two files split horizontally, there’s not shortcut to toggle between the two of them. You have to click with mouse, arg! That’s simple functionality that is missing.

  • I bought Sublime Text 2 a few weeks ago and was worried I had made a wrong decision when I heard about this release. After this review, I am no longer worried. I think I made the right choice for me.

    I have Panic’s Transmit and love it and liked Coda 1 but I feel Sublime and its addons will work better for the way I work. The advantage Coda has is its FTP client. If Sublime were to ever get FTP added… the advantage would be gone in my opinion.

    I do think the scalding Panic gets from their window control buttons is a bit overzealous. They aren’t perfect but, since I have become used to them with all other OSX apps, it’s not a big deal. I say get over it and move on.

  • Just purchased both apps :) Always loved Coda and nice to see this big update :)

  • I bought Diet Coda immediately. It’s pretty great, though the lack of WebDAV support is a bit puzzling, since it’s always been supported in Coda. It means I can’t work on one of my sites (but that won’t matter for long, as I’m moving away from WebDAV anyway).

    As for Coda 2, I really want to like it, but I’m not yet sure if the editor is gonna cut it as a replacement for BBEdit. So far it’s not looking good. Code folding doesn’t work properly on most of the documents I’ve tried it on so far. It isn’t correctly parsing longer HTML documents (I’ll have to find time to reduce it to something I can turn in as a bug report). BBEdit folds the same sections in those documents just fine.

    The loss of the old visual CSS navigator/editor is hard to understand. I’m not a big fan of the ‘pops’ so far. I don’t need a visual CSS editor, but it was a handy way to see a visual summary of all the style rules and make quick adjustments. Trying to tweak existing CSS documents with the new ‘pops’ has not left me with a good initial impresion. I seem to have to double-click in exactly the right spot to get the pop to even show up. I don’t find them very useful, so I’ll just end up typing in all my CSS by hand — which is fine, but then begs the question of why I’d abandon a far more powerful and mature editor (BBEdit) to use Coda instead.

    Sadly the previewing feature is borderline useless for me. A lot of my sites use a PHP “shell” that contains all the stuff that’s common to all pages on the site, with an argument that tells it which page to load. There’s no way to preview any of those pages properly, since Coda assumes you’ll only ever be working with static, plain HTML files that have no dependencies other than simple JavaScript and stylesheet links. This makes Coda a poor choice for anyone doing PHP work, IMO.

    I do love the reference sidebar that explains all the details of the symbol under your cursor, and a lot of the other stuff they’ve got in here. The MySQL editor is pretty good too. It’s clear that lots of love and hard work went into this, but for me it still comes up short.

    Panic’s vision of Coda as the One App that replaces the half dozen separate apps you need for web dev is ambitious, and it’s amazing how much work has gone into this new release, but at the end of the day, all it really succeeds in doing is reminding me why I need all those separate apps for doing this kind of work, and why an integrated solution is never gonna cut it. In other words, if I did switch to Coda, I’d still be constantly switching to other apps to get my work done, because there are too many edge cases it doesn’t handle correctly (and provides no facility for workarounds).

  • I started my (serious) coding career with Coda 1, I love the simplicity and elegance. Coda 2 made me wake up at 6, after 3 hours sleep and boy it was worth it! Fu*king hell its a good application! Im not that sure about Diet Coda. Seems to me that iPad is not the platform to code on. I will use Diet Coda to fix small bugs and typos but i would never do any work on it (and thats probably what the app is for, to fix buggs and typos on your holiday)..

  • The vertical window control buttons that bother you so much, revert back to a horizontal layout if you right click on the toolbar and select the “Text only” button option.

    • I did mention that later in the article. But I like the thumbnail tabs…

      • But then you won´t see the name of the site. Sometimes I have 5 or more sites opened and I need to see the title on a short look to the upper left – I cannot understand why they did it this way.

        I bought it directly when it was released but I think I will stop working with it and give sublime text 2 a real chance. I am very unhappy with what panic has made out of a great product.

  • Sorry, but the new Coda just does not cut it. The autocomplete does not compete AT ALL with say Netbeans/Komodo (or Sublime with CodeIntel). The interface is relatively clunky (polished, but clunky), and the workflow enourages several bad practices.

    I want to like it, but I just can’t. It’s becoming a prettier version of Dreamweaver, and that makes me sad. Perhaps it’s just aimed more at the hobbiest coder who updates the occassional WordPress theme rather that doing any actual development.

    • “Perhaps it’s just aimed more at the hobbiest coder who updates the occassional WordPress theme rather that doing any actual development.”

      I think you just hit the nail on the head. Well put.

  • Love Coda 2, Love Diet Coda! Only complaint would be the web kit only CSS support.
    Otherwise though it’s a great update!

  • Just wanted to add my +1 to the hopes that the “old” but very useful visual css editor might be re-added on a somewhat near future.
    I don’t always need it, but when I do have a memory black and 5 am (and I’m not getting any younger) that option was a really useful one.
    Right now that THE reason why Espresso is still sitting right new to the shinny new coda 2.

    (Oh! and since asking is easy and (so far) free, please let the iCloud bookmarks sync expand to Diet Coda. That one was a strange missing option for such a logic feature)

  • Quick write-up on how to synchronise Coda 2’s configuration using Dropbox without needing to purchase Coda 2 from the Mac App Store, if anyone’s interested …

  • Really trying to like Coda 2, was using a combination of Forklift and Espresso but purchased Coda when I saw the 50% off offer and although it looks nice there are a few things that bug me.
    Firstly I was gutted that the CSS editor had gone, the new pop up thing is just to fiddly, I did find that when you write a class or id and hit enter between that brackets a style list pop up appears but it seems half baked and just doesn’t work very well. Really hope Panic adds it back in but don’t hold out much hope.
    Secondly the sidebar would work better if it could be split so you can have two or three things showing at once, its a pain to have to click home and then clips in order to get to the snippets and then home again and back into files to get back. Speaking of clips it would be good too be able to highlight a section of code and somehow add it to the clips list.
    I think overtime I will grow to like it but the simplicity of Espresso is drawing me back to it.

    • Ignore the bit about adding clips from the code, found that if you highlight the code and drag it to the clips section it creates a new one.

  • A really popular coding tutorial/article website called Net Tuts did an article about Coda 2. It is very much from the perspective of an experienced programmer – and though a little blunt, I agree with his findings.

    Coda 2 would be a great choice for someone just getting into the game, but those of us who are more experienced have likely already been using something that fits our needs better.

    You can read the article here:

    • thank you for that, Nathaniel.

    • Jefferey Way is hardly an experienced programmer…

  • I’ve been a loyal Coda 1 user for over two years, and I was excited to see what Coda 2 had in store. I bought it through the App Store for iCloud support; I don’t need iCloud support now, but I figured maybe I would in the future.

    After 1 1/2 days of use, I’d give it about a 5/10.

    The new interface took me a while to get used to, but I’ve been slowly figuring it out.

    They quietly changed some things and made them a little more annoying to me, like now requiring a double click to open files instead of a single click. Likewise with the way it treats closing tags in HTML. Before, it would close a tag right away and you’d have to cursor over to fill in the content. Now it leaves them open until you type </ and I'm finding that behavior throws me off.

    The popup CSS gradient picker is USELESS! No hex or rgba values, are you kidding me?! Maybe all the rest of you just randomly pick colors, but when I make a gradient I know exactly the hex or rgba values I want, so I just type them in. The lack of color input fields (or if they're there, I can't find them) is an egregious oversight.

    Same with the lack of support for SFTP private keys with passwords. I had to remove the password to push changes to one of my sites.

    It's still early, so I'm willing to give myself some time to get more acquainted, but I expected more.

  • Let me know when Textpad comes out with a Mac release. It is the ONLY reason I have Windows running in Parallels.

  • Sublime for small projects, Dreamweaver for big ones.

    • I agree. Dreamweaver 6 has features far beyond what’s in Coda 2. For strict coding, I use a powerful editor (Vim), but may take a look at Sublime Text 2 as well.

  • Clips don’t sync correctly. When syncing clips via icloud the clips do not retain their folder group structure and always revert back to a complete flat list of all your clips, completely removing all folder groups. Have tried everything to get this to work including re-installing on both machines.

    You would think this was picked up in testing

    Hopefully they can fix this soon as syncing clips is pretty useless in its current state.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

    • I agree – this is very frustrating! Is this a bug??

  • Excluding web browsing and email management I probably used Coda 1 more than any other tool, and I was a massive evangelist turning many people on to it over the past few years. That is unlikely to continue. I patiently waited far too long for code folding, grouping for sites & clips, and a few other enhancements, just to be greeted by the release of this buggy, ill-conceived 2nd edition.

    There are some useful new features, but added at the expense of removing some important old ones. Elements of the UI are pretty, as expected, but taken as a whole the interface is messy and incoherent. Even allowing for adjustment time the UX is cumbersome to say the least. Where Coda 1 was lauded for it’s intuitive interface & workflow, v2 is anything but. Any successes that Coda 2 has will be owed largely to the legacy of Coda 1 and the cult like following of it’s existing user base. Coming at it fresh, the truth is that it just doesn’t stack up that well against the competition. Espresso & Sublime are both strong alternatives.

    In short, I’m overwhelmed by the heavy interface, and underwhelmed by my productivity using it… this is almost the exact opposite of my original reaction to Coda 1 several years ago.

    I’m also fairly unhappy about the pricing. I’ve waited a long time for v2, and Panic have my email address from multiple software purchases, yet I only found out about the 50% reduced pricing after the window had closed. That’s just not good enough – I expected more from Panic.

  • i love it it’s very very very awesomeeeeeee

  • A bunch of ported themes for Coda 2 if any of you are interested!


    • Thats really cool! Thank you.

  • I cannot fathom why Panic stopped marking revised local files with an “up arrow” icon, which in Coda 1 could be clicked to upload the local file to your server individually. It was a fantastic heads-up way to see what had been changed and would allow YOU to decide the order in which you’d like to upload those changed files.

  • I’d rather have vertical close, minimize and maximize button than getting a lot of unused whitespace. Pretty good solution.

    • Thats really cool! Thank you!

  • Coda 2’s UI feels a little bloated, and I agree on pretty much all your UI remarks.

    Eventually I think I’ll grow to love Coda 2. I remember being critical of Coda 1, back when it was released (2007 or so?)…


  • I was sorely disappointed – specifically in the “Live Preview” feature – which is actually only live on static pages… and who uses ONLY static pages anymore?!?

    The one thing I will give credit to Coda is that it inspired me to look beyond textmate and try other text editors… I’ve had Sublime Text 2 Beta on my machine for a while now, but being inspired I dove in. I LOVE Sublime Text 2! Everything that Textmate 2 is AND MORE! You should definitely check it out:

  • I find the lack of mention of SUBLIME TEXT 2 to be disturbing. This is how a text editor SHOULD BE. Splitting windows in Coda is such a PAIN in the ass. Just watch in Sublime as to how to do it.

  • I’m also a bit disappointed. first of all because of the UI. It’s somehow not fitting for me but the bigest issue for me is still the missing code formatting feature. I would love to have a software like coda instead of all the eclipse derivates and i would also spend some money but like it is now, i won’t spend 75$ for it. It’s a bummer..

  • Stop spamming your blog