February 6, 2019 weblog
Coda 1.0: Wowza, a doc, tables, tabs, buttons, and go team
Coda has come out of beta and wants to relay its refreshed 'hello world.' Its declaration of a public debut has appeared, after months (and months) in private beta.
A twin announcement about this workplace collaboration platform was made; Coda also features a new mobile app. So, Coda's tools will come via a new mobile app for iOS. (TechCrunch said it will be with Android at some point in the future.)
Harry McCracken, Fast Company, summarized the happenings at Coda. "...it's coming out of beta with version 1.0, the first that anyone can sign up to use. It's also launching an iPhone app that takes Coda docs designed on a bigger screen and intelligently reformats them with usability on a smartphone-sized screen in mind."
During the time that the platform was in beta, the Coda team expanded a small group of testers into greater numbers of people. The people have represented different job titles, backgrounds, use cases. There have been meetups and an online community. Goals: troubleshooting, and talking about new ways to use Coda. The group has already seen early users build Coda docs.
Back when they first announced the Coda beta, they said that here was a doc that blended the flexibility of word processors, the structure of spreadsheets, and the power of applications into a single canvas. "We promised this would let you make a doc as powerful as an app."
A formal description is workplace automation and organization platform, though Kyle Wiggers in VentureBeat did better: "Coda is a kind of canvas that blends spreadsheets, presentations, apps, and documents in one. A one-tap presentation mode lets you view any doc in full-screen, like a PowerPoint. And a powerful programming language allows you to quickly embed tables and graphs, or elements like calendars, buttons, and sliders."
A video on the Coda 1.0. was posted. "OK. let's start from the beginning," said the narrator. And he did mean beginnings. Back to when computers were first invented. Creating a digital document. Changing the interface from black to white. Making moves to the cloud.
Shishir Mehrotra, CEO, cofounder: "Fundamentally, documents and screenshots haven't really changed." They asked themselves: What can they build? And they started from scratch. A new set of building blocks. Tables that talk to teach other. Views, to show the same data, but in different ways. Buttons that take action.
The team set about to build unique workflows. In a blog about the launch, "yes, just like an app on your phone." But something more. He said, "you'll see how a Coda doc really is as powerful as an app."
Users new to Coda can expect tools to complement different groups' unique ways of working. It might be useful for new businesses. Or gaming groups who are participating in competitions, for example. With enhanced views, an individual gets to filter out table data not relevant and re-order tables as desired.
Coda users have included an Uber team, and a manager at Spotify. VentureBeat picked up on a Spotify user comment. Given that teams can customize views that work for their team while keeping all information consistently updated in one central place …"What's cool too is that you end up building an app, specifically made for your team, without even realizing it."
They are not saying their solution is as powerful as apps. They are saying their solution is better than apps, in that anyone can make them.
Coda "starts with a blinking cursor and a blank canvas."
VentureBeat walked its readers through what's new in Coda 1.0. "The doc interface has a fresh coat of paint. A blank canvas with a blinking cursor takes up a good portion of the screen, but there's a persistent left-hand menu carved out for sections and folders. Tables have been reworked, too—they act as databases, ranging in complexity from simple color-coded lists to complex models."
Mehrotra has been very aware of his user base, those who don't depend on the marketplace for answers but who must try to build answers for themselves. Such users range from toolmakers to group organizers. Coda is less about what it does right out of the box than what people can build on it; it's "a tapestry for ambitious creativity," commented Fast Company.
Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat, shared some background on its creators. "It's the brainchild of Microsoft and YouTube alumni Alex DeNeui and Shishir Mehrotra, who met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as undergraduates."
The Coda blog said, "As part of Coda 1.0, we're introducing a new mobile experience — with both a mobile web refresh and new iOS app — that makes your doc not just act like an app but feel like an app. We think this is a true testament of modular design: when you pull up a Coda doc up on your phone, the building blocks automatically transform to feel like a native app. Sections in your doc become the bottom tabs. Tables and buttons adjust to fit your screen. And the notifications you set up in your doc push to your phone. It's like having a team of mobile designers build a custom app based on your favorite doc."
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