Coda 2 gives web designers a new option for coding.
Many years ago, I took a web design course as a part of my undergraduate course work. At the time, programs like Dreamweaver were still in their infancy and our instructor noted that it was a valuable tool, but insisted that we learn to code HTML by hand. We had several projects to complete to prove our knowledge of the coding and basic web design concepts. Our final project was to be a fully functional website with at least three pages, links to outside pages and a combination of images and animated gifs. From start to finish, we had to create a concept, design it and implement it to fruition. The theme I went with was based around my passion for films and filmmaking. This project was completed almost 12 years ago with a simple text editor and there are a lot more tools at a web designers disposal now. One such tool is Coda 2.
Coda 2 is a revolutionary app that combines all the tools one needs to build a website within one package. Coda 2 contains an editor, terminal, CSS, file browser and many, many features, but without the bloat that some other programs have. Some of the main functions include:
- Groundbreaking user interface
- Text editing that includes code folding, smart complete and automative closing tags
- File management including FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and S3 with a Transmit interface
- Clips with multiple placeholders, insertion points and import/export
- Sites with groups, list view and iCloud sites
- Built-in MySQL editor
Since my time coding HTML by hand, I have started using web content design software like Coda 2. It makes design a lot easier because a preview window is almost always incorporated as well as some form of code syntax checking. When I first opened Coda 2, I was expecting that, but found so much more. The major pieces of Coda 2 are Sites, Files, Books – a reference library, Terminal and MySQL.
I actually still had the files from my very first website, Movie Crazy. So, I used that as the premise of testing. I found that importing web files, such as HTML files, is incredibly easy. If they are older pieces, Coda 2 may try to update them so they are in line with newer HTML standards, but other than that, Coda 2 simply opens up the file in the code editor. You can make any changes you need and then re-upload them to your FTP site so that your website is updated as quickly as it can be.
I really like the file management system – Files – because it’s wonderful to be able to look through the endless files you end up with when designing a website without having to leave the app. Aside from the file manager, I also really like the way Coda 2 allows you to organize your projects as sites. One area that always seems to need improvement is project organization and Coda 2 dramatically improves this process.
Another feature I really like Code Folding. This is a newer feature for Coda 2 and means to help coders tuck sections of code away to free up screen real estate. It can become very cumbersome depending on the depth of your project if you don’t have this function available.
AirPreview is also a great feature I’d like to point out. Diet Coda is a companion app for Coda 2. When you download Diet Coda for iPad and pair it with Coda 2 on your desktop, you can then have your iPad be a live preview window as you continue to work on desktop with Coda 2. Diet Coda will automatically update any changes you make to your designs and show it in your preview window on your iPad.
Coda 2 is the best web design editor I’ve ever used. It’s easy to use and has some wonderful features that I’ve never seen with other editors. I’ve barely touched on just a few of the main features of Coda 2 in this review. Because of the size, scope and depth of this program, I would have to write a thesis in order to cover it all. Coda 2 is available for download in the Mac App Store for $74.99. For more information, visit panic.com/coda.