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Panic reveals Coda OS X and iOS goals

Emphasis on speed and surprise with revamped app, along with iPad integration

Panic's Coda has long been a favourite of many OS X-based web designers and version 2 has arrived for Mac, along with Diet Coda – a Retina-ready iPad app for quick edits on the go that also doubles as a dedicated preview window for owners of the Mac version.

According to Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser, Panic felt it had a solid core with the original Coda, and the new release was started with three major goals in mind: adding features many people were asking for, cleaning up UI issues, and surprising people. "So we added tons of new features. We removed some weird UI metaphors, like tabs that could look like a terminal but really have a document 'behind' them – in Coda 2, every tab is exactly what it says it is. And we tried to surprise, coming up with our interesting 'visual tabs', adding unexpected things such as a MySQL editor and going extra crazy with AirPreview which lets you use your iPad as a preview window."

For Mac web designers considering the app, but who've not yet made the leap, Sasser reckons efficiency is one of the most compelling aspects of Coda 2: "The UI is designed to make your job as fast as possible. One small example is our 'Active Path Bar'. When it sits there, it shows you the path to your current file. But if you click any segment, you get a little miniature file browser of that directory. So no matter where your files are located, the other files around it are two clicks away."

Team player

Although Coda typically gels with freelancers, Sasser also pointed out that some features were specifically designed so that the app played well in team environments: "There's a 'sharing' feature, which enables multiple people to edit a document, which in smaller groups is an awesome way to collaborate – you can have someone check your code, or just hammer on the same file. It's also possible in the latest release to export clips – reusable snippets of code. We've already heard of teams creating a critical sets of clips for their workflow and distributing them."

However, probably the biggest of Panic's surprises is Diet Coda, a fully-fledged website editing tool for the iPad that also integrates with the Mac release as a preview window. We asked Sasser what the thinking was behind the app, and whether he's getting sick of the increasingly tiresome and inaccurate claim that the iPad is purely a device for consumption. "I've had a bookmark on my Desktop for years from an early review of the iPad. The guy hated it, could never conceive of the iPad being used for work, and asked, 'Would anyone ever write a website on an iPad?'. I obviously never forgot it and, wherever that guy is, I'm excited to prove him wrong," said Sasser. "When you're on the road, you want to take your iPad. Now, when your boss calls because somebody forgot the critical 'r' in 't-shirts' on the product page, you can fix it, from the beach. And it's fast. And beautiful. That's as good as it gets."

Coda 2 is available for Mac ($99) and iOS ($19.99). For today only, the apps are on sale, with a 50 per cent discount.

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