Death to the office suite!

Coda has officially made OneNote and Excel legacy systems, and their positioned well enough to acquire a significant portion of the word processing, PDF, and project management markets. With so much competition, this is a massive undertaking, but Coda’s already halfway there.

The Coda program is portable, versatile, accessible, modern, and has many use cases (not to mention being a “breathe of fresh air”). I think Coda’s requirements for being a full bodied “office suite” lie in storage (like google drive), communication (messaging), PDF flow (signing and printing different layouts), more table views (for project management), and a coda.obj file for power users.

Do you want Coda to replace your office suite entirely? Has it already? What is missing?

I do not think that Coda will replace the office suite in the near term, nor do I think that it is the intention of Coda HQ to do so. To use Coda’s slogan, it is the next step up in the evolution, filling a new niche. Spreadsheets are going to keep their niche, but a LOT of things that are currently done in spreadsheet should and will move towards Coda. (But it will also depend on the people. There is a huge installed base of people that use Excel for all their computing needs - covering calculations, list management and word processing. Those people will never change. And there are people that still prefer their paper based systems…)

As Coda, and similar tools loke Notion, grow in market share and maturity, the way we use computers to store and manage out information will fundamentally change. Spreadsheets and Word processors are very “static” and “one-dimensional” compared to the new tools. Just two trivial examples of what is possible in the “new document niche”:
Just think of, for example a spreadsheet to-do list/ issue list in a multi-user environment. Every time somebody changes the filter, the column sequence, width etc, everybody else is inconvenienced. Coda provides personal filters and multiple views that makes the information much more user friendly. Then add the ability to have canvas columns in that to-do list, or checkboxes, or whatever else somebody is going to come up with in packs. Topics can be escalated to management with the click of a check box to send it to the management view. Etc, etc
Just think of, for example, a contract, policy and procedures manual in a word-processor. It is possible in Coda to have flexible views of these that are customer or user-specific. While allowing archiving and version management that is unheard of in a word processor.
Just think of, for example publishing research. One side of the research document will have the source data that can be continuously update, and be reflected elsewhere on the summaries. But other readers can mine the data for insights from their own perspective.

I think the biggest missing piece is the formatting and laying out text - different fonts, different font sizes, better screen space utilisation. But I am certain that Coda will pleasantly surprise us soon. I also firmly believe in function preceding function. It is no use you have something pretty, hit not very functional.

Coda’s functionality is a level above everybody else, and with prettiness to match that, it will be unbeatable.

But it’s just a ramble…
Rambling Pete

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I agree, formatting is a big issue for me right now. If there were just a few more options I would never use Word again though. I think forms are another big hurtle. I love the forms, I would almost always prefer to use JotForm so I can add in logic.


Great ramble Pete.

I think my favorite takeaway was, “the way we use computers to store and manage information will fundamentally change”. Coda, elegantly pushed the boundaries of a spread sheet, and I really hope they continue to innovate. Great products, and a great company.

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As @Piet_Strydom mentioned, Coda represents much more than the “office suite”. While it certainly makes aspects of office-suite products seem out of touch with modern business requirements, Coda is actively shaping other business-oriented challenges that office tools never dare undertake.

Would you build a website using Word? Or Google Slides? Or even Google Sites?

These are terrible solutions for web publishing purposes, yet, web publishing – both public and private – is one of the most important tasks domain experts must address. I’m really good with CSS, javascript, and blistering fast web apps using React and Astro. But, I recently re-examined my business publishing needs and decided to move all of it to Coda.

Before and after

Publishing agility, update ease, and elegant presentations are achieved almost effortlessly with Coda. The alternatives represent a lot of work and skilled effort. But business requirements tend to trump technical precision and speed-to-print is one of them.

It’s not a bed of roses using Coda as a publishing platform, but I suspect I can optimize a few things to get the rendering performance a little higher. Here’s a comparative assessment from Lighthouse (old site on the left; Coda on the right - virtually the same content).


@Bill_French Yes, I fully support Coda removing any dependence I have on legacy office tools. In my opinion, Coda is inches away from pulling it off.

What I mean is, before Coda, there was Microsoft, Google, and Adobe. These legacy companies dominated their respective markets, and as a result, we suffered. Word, Sway, Acrobat, PowerPoint, Excel, Drive, OneNote, and etc. were painfully boring and tedious to work with. Today, there is Coda, which is every legacy office tool bundled together and elegantly redefined by a single Doc.

The concept of a single Doc being anything you need it to be is revolutionary. However, some of the formatting features that worked for legacy systems are still relevant today, but I think Codas’ focus was on tables [and they did a phenomenal job <3].

I think if Coda applied the same level of intricacy to web pages and word processing as they did to tables, there wouldn’t be a need for legacy office suites.

@Bill_French also, how did you keep your docs in dark mode after their published?

With certain predicates, they have already pulled it off. To make any valid assessment about the range of applicability in office suite requirements, we need more predicates. Some users and companies are 100% satisfied at this moment and have jettisoned the legacy suites.

In other cases, it’s not so easy. And as it pertains to words and web, there is a gaping hole. Words, sentences, and paragraphs are not discretely addressable. Until such time as they are, Coda cannot be the “platform” that disrupts it all.

Exactly! If it’s something Coda wants, they should just do it. Coda can fine tune their product-market-fit post-launch. Respectively, a majority of the work is complete.