There’s no doubt about it. Coda’s interface is simple, clean and fits like a glove into a Mac environment. Messy toolbars are worries of the past and nice eye candy transitions appear when connecting to, or editing, a site. All this results in an interface with focus on plain coding, which can be either good or bad depending on personal preference.
I’ve seen a lot of people on forums and blogs who think Dreamweaver is too bloated and those people are likely to feel more comfortable in Coda, since it both is and feels more lightweight. It lacks WYSIWYG editing but that’s probably OK with most developers out there as they tend to write their code by hand. It’s also worth mentioning that it has a pretty neat CSS editor to make up for it.
Personally, I find Dreamweaver’s visual editor useful when typing large portions of text directly on page, such as this one. The visual editor takes care of <br /> tags with a simple Shift+Enter combination, and inserts a new paragraph on Enter.
A nice feature in Coda is its previewing capabilities. It has an integrated web browser which makes it really simple to quickly preview your files online without opening Safari or Firefox. The browser also has an address field which makes it possible to do e.g. Google searches within the application, although this is done easiest by using the built in search bar.One-click publishing
Perhaps most important is the possibility to work directly with the server, without the need of an FTP client for file uploads. As soon as you save the file you are working on, the changes are uploaded automatically. You also have the ability to open an SSH session to your server with the built in terminal.
A year ago, I always used to work on my files locally and then upload them using an FTP-client. I rarely work that way anymore since using features like Coda’s ‘one-click publishing’ makes the job a whole lot easier. Of course, Dreamweaver has the same feature and it works just as well there too.Conclusion
Coda works well and it works pretty fast too. This application is an excellent choice for those who prioritize simplicity and a clean interface. If you, on the other hand, want an all-round web development application that has ‘everything’ and is used ‘everywhere’, Dreamweaver will still be your best bet.The bottom line
Is Panic Coda a good application? It certainly is, but it’s not industry standard. Adobe Dreamweaver is.