Coda 1.0.1 Review

If people were perfect, website development would be much easier. There’d be a clear, linear workflow from design to coding to deployment. Unfortunately, we make errors and change our minds so, in reality, the workflow goes back and forth between those stations.

As a developer, that can mean juggling multiple applications: code editors, FTP applications, a couple of browsers for testing and the terminal window in the background. Coda bundles the functionality of those tools into one. And the result is pretty impressive.

With site management, connection tools and live preview window to the fore, Coda feels like a developer’s version of Macromedia Contribute; the content management tool for non-technical types. It’s ideal for updating existing sites without the hassle of re-editing and uploading your local copy.

Coda caters to more demanding users, too. There’s a terminal window for local and remote command line access, for example, and a library of reference texts built in.

In addition to site and file management integration, the software’s code and CSS features reward closer inspection. Once you’ve established a connection in the ‘Sites’ section, clicking the Remote tab gives you a hierarchical list of files on your server. A double click opens a selected file in the Edit view. This is a clean, colour-coded and line-numbered text editor with autocompletion features – ideal for tidying code or adding new content.

The editor recognises the file type you’ve opened and adjusts its features accordingly. There’s support for XHMTL, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and several more standards. Built-in validation tools check your code as you type or highlight errors in existing documents.

For many coders, the built-in CSS tools will be the cake under the icing though. With visual or text editing for CSS styles, you can change the entire look of a page while it’s still live on the server. As layouts become increasingly CSS heavy, this enables you to quickly prototype pages or tweak site styles without the
hassle of local editing.

OUR VERDICT

Coda’s workflow integration and speed is peerless. You can navigate to a page, tweak it, and commit your edits to the server before some tools could even start up. A valuable addition to your web-development arsenal.

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