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When it comes to web site development IDEs, Coda is one of the “must have” Mac applications.
The premise is simple: one application that handles all aspects of site development and promotion: editing browser code, cleaning up schemas and tables, wielding CSS, managing versioning and promoting changes to staging and production. If you’re stuck on syntax, just open up Coda’s handy library to find that missing parameter or HTML entity. You really need to see Coda in action to get a feel for how much it helps improve your web workflow.
Apart from the 63 improvements Panic has baked into version 1.6 there are four new features that make this great program even better. While they may have added syntax highlighting for Objective-J/Cappuccino, “smart” spell checking (so that the editor only cares about your words and not your code) and the ability to find and open files with speed and ease, the real fun comes with Coda’s new found support for plug-ins. Users of BBEdit/TextWrangler, TextMate and a host of other OS X editors can attest to the power of plug-ins. They can speed up coding dramatically and let you accomplish some tasks that would be impossible by hand.
Panic has made Coda plug-in creation even more accessible by providing a “Coda Plug-in Creator” application that lets scripters (i.e. Python, Perl, Ruby, shell — anything that works on the OS X command line) into a world that is usually left to full-on Cocoa programmers. With Coda Plug-in Creator, you can drag scripts you create outside of Coda into the builder or start coding right in the application. All input is provided to the standard input stream for the script and Coda enables all plug-ins to select which portions of the document they want to process. Similarly, plug-ins (including the scripting ones) just provide their replacement text on the standard output stream and instruct Coda what to do with it.
If you are a TextMate user or “commander”, Coda can also import commands from TextMate bundles, greatly increasing the number of available plug-ins right from the start. Cocoa developers should not fret as Panic also provides a fully documented API with examples.
This is really great news for Coda fans and should help increase Coda’s visibility among hardcore OS X web developers (and may even convince some TextMate users to switch). The application costs $99.00 and runs on OS X 10.4 & 10.5 (some features are 10.5-only, though). The Plug-in Creator is free.