Emulate Coda.io as a Desktop app

For anyone looking to use the app in an environment closer to a typical Desktop app rather than with a browser, here’s how.

  1. Install Google Chrome if you haven’t already (other browsers don’t support this feature yet)
  2. Follow this Google support guide to add a shortcut to the coda.io/docs website as an app (in a nutshell: go to coda.io/docs > open the Chrome shish kebab menu > More Tools > Create Shortcut > name it “Coda” > Ok)
  3. You will now have an app shortcut somewhere to launch the Coda.io website in a new Chrome window at the “/docs” route
  4. Open a regular Chrome tab and go to chrome://apps/ (paste this in the URL bar and hit enter)
  5. Find the Coda app (should have the icon we know and love), right click on it, and select the “Open as Window” option (a little check-mark should appear beside it)
  6. Open the emulated desktop app with the shortcut Chrome created (on macOS the default path to this shortcut was home/Applications/Chrome Apps, but you should be able to find it by searching your filesystem for “Coda” regardless of your OS), and pin it to your app tray/taskbar for future use

The result (ignore the hour :roll_eyes:):


Screen Shot 2021-02-07 at 3.43.39 AM

Advantages:

  • looks and feels exactly the same as Coda in the browser (have been using it exclusively like this for about a week any have not noticed any differences)
  • genuinely feels like a desktop app
  • doesn’t have the browser UI clutter (URL bar, menus, etc.)
  • you can still use any extensions you have installed with Chrome (e.g. Dark Reader for dark mode)
  • you can still backtrack through the navigation history the same way you would in a browser
  • you can still refresh the page
  • no need to keep track of a separate browser window or tab for Coda

Downsides:

  • if you don’t usually use Chrome as your browser, then launching the Coda.io emulated desktop app also launches the Chrome app. The Chrome app being launched likely does not affect performance more than it should (I think it just indicates that a Chromium instance has been launched to host the Coda.io website in the emulated desktop app) since a browser window is not actually launched, but it does cause the Chrome app to show up in your app tray along with the Coda.io app icon.
  • you can’t have multiple tabs open in the app. You can still open links in new tabs but this will launch a new Chrome window.

(pro-tip this can be done for any of your favourite web-apps!)

1 Like

Cool trick. Thank you. :smiley:

1 Like