One of the first questions asked when someone learns to code is, “What editor should I use?”
It is not a question easily answered. There are purists who believe you should only code with SimpleText or TextWrangler, but there are also those who prefer the many features of Dreamweaver. For those who also need to use the command line, the debate about vi and Emacs rages on. In addition, robust GUI editors such as TextMate and Sublime Text have taken the development world by storm.
Your personal preferences, your workflow, your code, your designs, your wallet…it’s all about you, baby. And that is why the question isn’t easily answered.
As someone who considers himself a designer first with a splash of developer mixed in, I’ve found it’s good to play around with different types of tools to see what you like best. I like Dreamweaver for some things and Sublime Text for others. I’ve even been known to dabble in a plain-text editor from time to time.
Ultimately, my primary tool is Panic’s Coda.
Panic has earned a reputation for making fantastic software that works great. I first heard about Panic when I was shopping around for an FTP client, and purchased Transmit. That became the gateway to Coda, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
What I like most about Coda is its focus on one-window web development. You don’t need to have an editor window open with Terminal off to the side, a separate CSS editor, and another application or Terminal tab for version control. Coda has everything for you—it’s a Swiss Army Knife of web development bundled into one beautiful package.
If you’ve been to a conference or coffee shop lately, you’ve likely seen the proliferation of coders out in the wild with their favorite laptops. Coda’s environment makes excellent use of a laptop’s reduced screen real estate. No more tweaking and adjusting every little window just right so that you can get in your groove. Just fire up Coda and start coding.
There is no perfect editor, but there are some pretty great ones. For me, Coda is one of the best. Perhaps most importantly, it gives me an answer to the question, “Which editor should I use?”
Coding with Coda is for designers and developers with some experience under their belt. If you’re new to web development, this book isn’t for you.
It’s preferable for you to have some experience with the command line, but if not, that’s OK. In the same vein, experience with CSS is also welcome. If not, don’t worry about it. The book will show you how to use the tools, and you can use them when you’re ready.
Coda is a Mac-only editor made by Panic, a company that makes Mac- and iOS-only applications. More importantly, this book is for Macintosh users only. Coda isn’t free; as of this writing, the app is on sale for $75, normally $99. That said, the download offers a demo so you can give it a solid spin around the block before making a purchasing decision.
Coding with Coda is organized in a start-to-finish fashion. To begin, you’ll run through the basics of Coda 2 and then get started with the initial phases of building a project, or Site.
A chapter is spent on the source control management, how it integrates with Coda, and how you can use the two in your development process. You’ll learn to tinker to your heart’s delight with the many available preferences, while also getting into the more intricate aspects of using Coda for editing and document collaboration.
You’ll wrap up with an overview of constructing a page (no web app building in this book!) and then learn about some extra features to make Coda even more enjoyable to use.
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
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Thanks to the community of designers and developers in the Lawrence, Kansas, area who have helped me grow as a developer.
Thank you to tech reviewers David “my dad always told me to learn your keyboard shortcuts” Eldridge, and Wade Cosgrove from Panic for your fantastic work. Meghan Blanchette, your gentle editor’s touch is fantastic; thank you. Thanks to Brandon Edling and Ben Henick for the encouragement and to Simon St.Laurent for taking a chance on me.
Thank you to my lovely wife for putting up with me and my parents and sister for always encouraging me to find my own way.
And to my daughters: Ember, your reading ability at such a young age makes me work hard to write better. And Remi, when you would sit on my lap and demand I hover over “The leaf! The leaf!” of Coda’s beautiful green icon in my dock to magnify it, I knew I was on the right path.