All web developers seem to have a slightly different workflow. Last week I set out on a journey to increase my web development productivity. I’m currently using OS X Leopard 10.5.4 on a iMac 2.1GHz G5.
‘Coda‘, made by panic, is a ftp+text editor all in one. At first glance it appeared to be everything that I needed. It includes a built ftp client, css editor, subversion, Subetha Engine (which allows multiple people to edit a file collaboratively), and of course the editor. So I downloaded the 2 week trial and much to my surprise I was very impressed. The user interface is very nice and intuitive. New windows are opened up in tabs along the top (which I like but know others who hate that). Like most of these programs your remote/local file structure appears on the left side and the editor on the right. I got used to it very quickly. In fact my trial ran out 2 days ago and I have been struggling without it. The only downside is the $79 price tag, which is not a whole lot if this is what you do all day. I am a huge fan of open source, so I ventured off to find a free alternative. This is when I stumbled across the Smultron + Cyberduck marriage.
Note: If you’ve been trying to use coda with a mediatemple server and having problems with files not saving, make sure you’re using sftp. I’m not sure why this makes a difference but it it did for me. Files should upload quickly once you switch it over.
- Well designed interface
- Very intuitive
- ftp built in
- Collaborative editing of files
- High price tag
- Not as feature rich as something like ‘Textmate‘ for in depth web development
Smultron + Cyberduck
Smultron, made by Peter Borg, is a very simple but well designed text editor. It doesn’t have built in ftp so you will still need to use Cyberduck. I’m assuming most of you reading this will be well aware of Cyberduck, the free open source ftp client. Smultron fully integrates with Cyberduck allowing one click editing of any of your remote files from Cyberduck. Just use Cmd+s to save and your files are uploaded straight to your server. These two programs behave similar to Coda in this sense. The only downside being that you will have to use two programs to accomplish the same task. Smultron is a fairly basic editor and definitely doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles Coda has, but for the average coder it will do just fine. Remember this is the free solution so if your willing to put up with this you can pocket that $79 and take your wife/girlfriend out for dinner.
Smultron Cyberduck Pros:
- Open Source
- Easy to use
- Does what its supposed to best, edit text
Sumltron Cyberduck Cons:
- File structure does not appear within Smultron
- Cyberduck is prone to crashing (at least on my computer)
Well I’ve been fairly even with both sides at the moment. I’d have to say that if money wasn’t an issue I would definitely go with Coda. It’s ease of use and the fact that it’s an all in one package is very attractive. I like seeing my file structure along the left hand side, something that Smultron lacks (you have to go to Cyberduck to see this). Having said that I will continue to use my Smultron Cyberduck combo until I can convince my wife to skip a date night and put the money towards Coda.
What does your workflow look like? Let me know if you have better solutions. I would love to hear from people who have used Textmate, CSSedit, TextWrangler, or any other OS X friendly text editors or ftp clients.