Could we replace slack with Coda?

Coda has pretty much all the abilities to have a chat that functions like slack, if not better.
Our team hates slack. It’s clunky, and just another tool we have to use. Our team loves Coda.
Comments work pretty much the same as a chat, but current implementation of “group chats” or DMs using coda is a bit sketchy.
I’m guessing it’s not it’s not a lot of work for the devs since all the pieces exist, but it would be awesome if coda could also replace the headache of slack for our team. Being able to @ tasks in group conversations would also be a great workflow upgrade.

Taking this a step further into my wet dreams - Imagine if Coda had video calls. Coda AI could automatically create a row containing a meeting summary. Like - DAMN. That’s what i call the ultimate productivity tool.

I asked the exact same question last year and was told “absolutely not.”

I wonder if it would be possible to at least embed a chat feature like whatsapp or discord in a coda doc.

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The system in the comments section of Coda requires improvements. Together with notifications, it needs to work smoothly. Perhaps the problem is that comments in Coda are not very convenient, which makes users think that the application potential could replace Slack.


Hi Lear,

Welcome to the community!!

As a consultant, I always start with “It depends…”

You can build a table like the below, which will give you some features.
The first four columns are just ways of grouping the topics. The Update button will copy the most recent Action update to the Action Archive, and create a date and user() prompt in the Update column, ready for the next Action Update. The Update Archive keeps all the history.
The NS (Next Step) button will make a copy of a row, but clear out some columns like the Update and Update archive. I use this when it is necessary, for what ever reason, to split a topic.

The best feature of this, is that it is completely customizable. You can add columns as your company needs, add buttons to do things. What I have not shown is my “Cross reference” columns. They allow me to create a link to any other row in this table. It is extremely handy for us, because I have different message types. For example, one message type is a Design document, where a design template is pulled into a canvas column when a message of type Design document is created. It is there possible to cross reference messages to that row, without cluttering the design document itself.

And absolutely, you can use @ to reference any person, page or row in the doc. And Coda will enter a live hyperlink to that object.

So is it going to look like Slack? Absolutely not.
Is it going to replace Slack for all companies? Absolutely not.
But you can build something with very little effort that is tightly tied to your requirements, and it is not limited to just normal messages, you can add any “message type” you want.

Hope I was able to give you some ideas.
Rambling Pete.

Hey Piet,
Thanks for the contribution but i’m not sure how this is relevant to a chat…
This discussion is for a casual type of team chat within Coda. I’ve given my best shot at replicating this in Coda but it’s still not close to as clean as a proper chat would be.

Also direct messaging would be a bit annoying to set up like this to keep private.

Hi Tamerlan!
Of course Coda’s comments could use improvement, but i think they do a good job at what they’re built for.
I think Coda has enough built in tools and packs that with a bit of tweaking of the current system, a very high quality chat could be created. Possibly even as a view for a table that contains a sender and message column.

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I think a more practical approach (for you and for coda as a company) is to focus on making coda and slack integrate better.

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If the number of incoming messages is small, there are no particular problems. The problems start when the comment stream is vast, and you must process a lot of incoming information. Coda has issues with that. Returning to the comments archive and tracking down all the posts you may have missed is problematic.

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Hi Ariella! Thanks for your reply.
My team and I would actually much prefer to not use slack.
A one platform alternative is exactly what we need.

The problem with this approach is that users would get VERY frustrated by this approach and start using other methods of communication.

Chat tools solve unique problems that the Coda table architecture is not structured for.

I could use a screwdriver handle to hammer a nail one time if I need, but long term it’s a horrible solution.

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Why not use slack? This is key to answering this question.

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of course. I would also rather that. but coda won’t ever be able to replace slack. However, I do think there is a lot of room to improve the connections between coda and slack so that one could theoretically spend almost all of one’s time in one of the two programs instead of going back and forth. Right now I don’t find the coda and slack packs that helpful.

It also depends on why you dislike slack. I personally hate it for a lot of reasons, but one is that you can’t embed content such as a coda doc or airtable view. If that’s one of your key gripes, you might also consider a different platform like Circle that could potentially house your coda docs.

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Hi Ed thanks for the reply!
I have so many reasons i can’t list them all, i’m not sure what the craze for slack is about.
It’s n okay communication and messaging tool and I don’t see any value in it beyond that honestly. All the automations for slack work better in coda. My team’s communication would be much easier if it was all in one place where they can sync with the tasks they are communicating about.

Totally agree for your reasons, it breaks the team’s flow. Having a chat like this in coda could solve all these issues.
My reasoning is honestly, why not? Most of the system already exists in coda.
If coda added one screen for direct messages with the notifications and maybe a chat view or side panel my team would have no need for slack and we’d honestly have a much better experience.

Hey Troy thanks for the reply!
I’m curious what you mean by users getting frustrated.
I understand that not all Coda users would require a chat, but most people use it for task management and team communication. Chat is just an extension of that, and coda has all of the existing parts to make it work.

Hmm i see what you mean when it comes to comments.
I think the reason is because comments are task specific, meaning they aren’t supposed to be relevant or visible unless looking at that specific task.
That’s why i think a chat would be great, i think it could tie it all together.
Being able to embed a Coda page or task inside a chat with part of the team and directly reference what’s going in my opinion would heavily enhance productivity and clarity.


+1 Yeah, that’s a great idea! But I can’t imagine if Coda developers will be able to implement such a solution. That would be amazing.

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I’m curious to hear what you think the challenges would be.
In my mind the current comment system is basically a less optimized chat isn’t it? Minus the resolving comments, it’s just missing a container of a “chat”, and direct messages.

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The problem is not so much in the technical realization as in the initiative of developers. They may consider the implementation of such a function inexpedient. I will be glad to be wrong, of course. :sweat_smile:

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