So, about a year and a half ago we began work on a new piece of software for Mac OS X. Four months ago we had a workable product that we sent to a select few friends for feedback. Two months ago we began full scale beta testing, cranking out eight versions, each better than the last thanks to the efforts of 150 testers. Three weeks ago we began building a website for this product. Six days ago we finalized our icon. And today, the day after Panic's 10th anniversary as a company, it's done.
Introducing: Coda, one-window web development for Mac OS X.
We build websites by hand, with code, and we've long since dreamed of streamlining the experience, bringing together all of the tools that we needed into a single, elegant window. While you can certainly pair up your favorite text editor with Transmit today, and then maybe have Safari open for previews, and maybe use Terminal for running queries directly or a CSS editor for editing your style sheets, we dreamed of a place where all of that can happen in one place.
So, that's what we've built. Coda has a complete file browser (and the ability to work locally or remotely), publishing, a full-featured text editor, a WebKit-based preview, a CSS editor with visual tools, a full-featured terminal, built-in reference material, and much more.
Anyway, that's the pitch. You're probably either really excited by now, or you wish I was writing about video games again!
Steve has a lot more on his blog and will be talking a lot more about how Coda works, while I hope to talk a lot more about the "making of" Coda, specifically the design, over the coming weeks.
But before I get back to hopelessly keeping an eye on various server logs — lord help us all on this launch day — I must give a quick shout out.
This was by far the most complicated program we've ever built. I realized this when it dawned on me that I had never stopped doing design work for it. With most of our prior applications, I may spend a month or two creating a all-purpose Photoshop layout, cut up any important art, and then hand it over to the guys, possibly coming back to make a tweak every now and then. With Coda, the number of features and the scope of the project meant that even as soon as yesterday I was cranking out some interface pieces as .pdf's. (...pdf's? Yeah. More on that later.) Sure, I really enjoyed it!
But I just do the design. So it goes without saying that Coda never could have been created as quickly as it was without the incredible work of the Coda team. From Dave, who never once blinked at my crazy pieces of paper, to Ian, who created an entire visual CSS editor from scratch after our original plans fell through, to Wade, who meticulously created many features like Clips and Preview, to Will, who tirelessly re-tooled our Transmit engine to bring its speed up by orders of magnitude, and Tim, who turned mockup into standards-compliant website in record time despite me repeatedly telling him to just use tables for everything, and Noby, who localized everything into the wee early morning hours. Mike and Les kept the Panic machine running smoothly while simultaneously pitching in with ideas and testing build after build. Even just calling out a few contributions here seems like a disservice to this talented group of guys and the work they did. While working as a "large" (five person!) team brought some new challenges to Panic, I think the end result speaks for itself, and I'm very proud of it.
Coda is certainly a 1.0, and there are so (very) many features and ideas we hope to add in the future, but we're proud of this 1.0, and we can't wait to hear what you think. Our e-mail box is open. Have fun, and we hope you enjoy it!