First impressions: BBEdit 9 versus Coda 1.5



It’s the grudge-match of the century (well, of the month… at least if you’re a web designer and are sick of iPod coverage): BBEdit 9, the old warhorse that’s been around for 17 years, versus the young pup from Panic Software, Coda 1.5. I’ve been using both over the past week, and my first impressions are below. Over the next 60, I’ll be using both apps for my web-design workflow (not programming nor copywriting) to see how the new versions measure up in that space and how much they can reduce my reliance on other software. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview, in brand-new, patented “yay” and “yuck” categories…

BBEdit 9

Yay: Non-modal windows for search finally don’t suck( ® etc.), speeding up find and replace massively. Being able to directly edit in results windows is great. Code-folding is now much easier to deal with using the keyboard. Projects work fairly well, providing a rapid way of caning through loads of files when editing. Document stats (live word count, line count and character count) are really good.

Yuck: Text completion just feels wrong: although it’s beneficial to writers as well as coders (due to including words rather than just code), it feels awkward, sluggish and not particularly accurate—it just doesn’t seem to ‘get’ what I want to input. The interface, while better than it was a few versions back, is starting to feel old. The preferences make me want to cry. Speed differences with large files don’t appear pronounced (or, frankly, in existence).

Coda 1.5

Yay: It’s like someone stuck a rocket up Coda’s bottom—the app feels so much faster than version 1.0, which I found borderline unusable. Coda’s speed bump has suddenly made its auto-complete very lovely indeed. The Clips window’s been sorted out, and you can now group clips; with tab triggers, you can easily add huge chunks of code or single elements. Multi-file search and replace is lovely.

Yuck: Still no custom shortcuts for invoking Clips from the keyboard. (C’mon, Panic! This is one area everyone else—even Dreamweaver—runs rings round you.) No code-folding. CSSEdit’s CSS tools still make Coda’s look a bit rubbish.


I’d rather like someone to smush these two apps together. Either that or improve BBEdit’s text-completion, workflow, and interface, or add to Coda code-folding, and keyboard shortcuts to its clips. Still, here’s to the next two months, where I’ll figure out which one’s really worth your time, web designer chums.


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