I’ve been an enthusiastic user of Coda for some years now. And I was very very pleased to read a few weeks ago that Panic was making Coda 2 and releasing it soon, too. I even added it to my iCal calendar to buy on release day. Which I did.

Coda 2 – Spiffy interface, lots of new things in the background. Epic fail in the front-end. At least for me. So much so, that I went back to Coda 1.7.5.

So what’s good about it? Well, code completion is neat and fast. And general editing of files is good, as expected. Overall it’s not all bad. But the new interface is just not for me. And this is not a “I need to get used to it” kinda thing. I’ve tried for 2 weeks. It just doesn’t work for me.

What’s wrong then?

For starters, the simple sidebar Coda 1 has, is completely re-done and now has a tabbed/buttoned approach. Meaning a lot of switching between different views to get things done.

In Coda 1.7 you have the files tab, and if you changed and saved files, those files got marked and a “publish” button appeared in the bottom. You could upload the changed files with 1 click.
In Coda 2, the changed files are in a new tab. So I need to switch tabs, press publish, and switch back. Not very user-friendly.

In Coda 1.7 in the bottom of the files list you could have an extra section, sort of like bookmarks inside the file to quickly go to functions and noteworthy items in the file.
Coda 2 has this in a separate tab, forcing me to switch back and forth over and over again.

It’s just very inconvenient and time-wasting for the way I work. And often I have many file with many functions inside open. So I’ve waste a ton of time clicking between tabs.

File switching is cumbersome and slow. Not so much because the app is slow but because Panic removed the trusty tab bar along the top of the document. Coda 2 has a sort of button bar along the top with all files as a tile.
This works largely the same as the old tab bar. But all names are shortened. So if all my files start with ‘adrotate-’, that’s all I would see. Not knowing which file is which. Also showing tiles of the files that contain just code is silly and space wasting. You can set it to show text only. But the font is so damn small. And then there is the shortened file names…

The original tab bar, which worked perfectly fine got replaced with a useless breadcrumb bar. This is supposed to let you navigate to “nearby files”. So if you have index.php open and in that folder are a bunch of other files you can click on the file in the breadcrumb and see a pop-up list to select another file and open that.
I used it maybe twice, the pop-up is pretty, but too slow for ‘one-click’ file changing, since it requires 2 clicks to open a file. And well, I have the sidebar listing my files already.

The built-in PHP book is very handy and well formatted. But why does searching in it take so long… It’s faster to open Safari, go to www.PHP.net and look it up there.

The MySQL Editor is nice, but limited, therefore not very useful. And I kept going to Sequel Pro for some reason. So that didn’t see much use. And uploading folders still included the .DS_Store files and such, which clearly should be omitted. So for new setups of websites I still have to use Cyberduck to get a clean install.

Then it was suddenly 2 weeks later (today) and I got tired of being annoyed with this interface so I upgraded from Coda 2 to Coda 1.7.5. And all was good again :).

Conclusion:

I’m sure Coda 2 will work wonders for many developers. I’m sure they have put a lot of thought in this new interface. And it’s a bold move for sure. Since most editors use a more traditional interface with real tabs and simpler (dumber?) controls. However, that’s what i like, that’s what I’ve used over the last 15 or so years. This new interface is not for me. Hate is a strong word, but I refuse to use it. It slows me down. Sadly.
Also, aside from the .0 bugs I think this is a well-developed application offering great features.

Perhaps it will improve. I’ve been Googling around a bit and I read that there are quite a few people who are disappointed with this new interface. So perhaps a “classic view” will be added at some point. And I sure hope so. Because well, I spent like €49 on this app. It would be a waste to not be ‘able’ to use it.

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Written by Arnan de Gans

The creator of the popular AdRotate for WordPress plugin. Created the OmniKassa plugin for WooCommerce. Original author or WP-Events for WordPress. Owner of AJdG Solutions and entrepreneur.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Kurt Zenisek

    I too miss the notification at the bottom of the file list when there’s files to publish, but I’ve grown accustomed to Ctrl+Cmd+P to quickly publish pending changes. That did carry over to Coda 2 & is now my go-to.

    My biggest annoyance with Coda 2 is toggling the Find & Replace bar. Coda 1.x had it so I could Cmd+F, find something, and Shift+Cmd+F to hide it & get back to work (just like how Find is toggled in Safari). Coda 2 changed this so Cmd+F shows the Find & Replace bar, but Shift+Cmd+F now shows the cross-file Find & Replace (something that used to be unified with the Find & Replace bar). So now, I have to switch over to my mouse and click the X to close the Find bar any time after I needed to locate something… so it either wastes my time to close it, or wastes screen real-estate by staying open. I haven’t found a keyboard shortcut if it did change to something else (Cmd+period was my second guess in case it matches Chrome’s close-find shortcut).

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