Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

26Apr/07Off

Less Whatever Than I Expected

I did have a chance to play around with Coda a little bit over the past few days. I was a little reluctant to initially take a look at it since I only learned of its release via other people talking about it giddily. Usually this is a pretty clear indication that I should stay away because a) I'm not a good litmus for software development/testing since the way I actually work would drive 99% of the universe completely insane within a matter of minutes and b) the moment I read the name of a new application that no one has even had time to actually use it the irritation begins to build. All of this is totally unfair but I reserve the right to be angry and suspicious while everyone else celebrates and hallucinates. It's my deal.

So, anyway, I fucked around with Coda for a while and decided that I actually liked it a lot despite the fact that I could never be happy using it. I'm a little hung up on discreet pieces of the development puzzle so it just won't work for me though I can see how it would work wonderfully for others. To begin with, Coda does look polished and its UI generally looks really spiffy and, as many others have already said more eloquently, Mac-like. These are selling points and attractive for most people but pretty and whatEver2.0 1.0 releases fill me with dread and mistrust. It does feel a little sluggish on startup and I don't feel bad stating that at all since my machine has 2 gigs of RAM which is decent for a laptop. Coda runs without hesitation or any noticeable pokiness afterwards but the uptake feels pretty damned slow. Again, so what?

In terms of functionality, this software kind of misses my, uh, demographic since I don't really favor the 'site' model of grouping files together. This is my own shortcoming since I tend to piece things together incrementally instead of according to a larger plan. This is a wussy way of saying that I'm extremely lazy and prone to do huge chunks of work during several day intervals and then ignore the entire mess for months on end. I tend to split up more programmatic projects into several projects and then slowly starting adding files here there to a larger project which doesn't work so well for a site oriented application like Coda. I'm not the target audience so that doesn't matter much.

What is impressive is the integration of so many different and desirable utilities into a single interface that doesn't operate under the assumption that the user is either incompetent or stupid. What makes Coda more of a winner and less of a condescending and monolithic idol to the angry and wrathful gods of (theoretical) user-directed design is the fact the design portion of this was done out of the actual needs of the developers instead of the usual 'research' that developers invest into the planning process. If you can stand the sites model and you'd actually like to be able to view the code you're working on if necessary, this might be a tool worth dropping the cash on.

On thing I'd like to see included in future versions is an image map utility. It's one of those annoying things that seems to be either poorly implemented or entirely absent from most web tools at least for the Mac stuff. It would be nice to have that functionality available as an included tool that didn't get all tangled up in invented terminology (layers?!) and leave the utility worse than useless. There seem to be a lot of people who really want Subversion support rolled in but I'm not sure I entirely agree since this is a tool for creating websites and not something like Eclipse. I do hope that plugin development takes off for Coda as much of the extraneous stuff could be appended through that rather than bulking up the client more than is necessary.

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  1. Have you ever read their story about Audion?

    http://www.panic.com/extras/audionstory/

    Pretty interesting.


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