No recent updates pages? No page comments? How are you collaborating?

Hi all!

I am using Coda.io for the first time for a project. There are only two people very actively working in Coda. All is done within one Doc.

However, there is no such information as “latest modified pages” or anything like that. There is also no opportunity to workaround that with page comments to notify the other person about a change on that particular page.

I wonder how you are doing with collaboration? Or are you using Coda solely for yourself?

@ Coda paid plan / single doc creator.

Markus

Hi @Markus, thanks for posting!

Ben mentioned a formula here to Get notified of any/all changes/edits, but it won’t tell you exactly what was updated. Here’s a discussion about How to see a changelog but there’s no current option to see all latest modified docs.

Here’s a suggestion you can upvote:

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Hi @steph

Thanks, as I a come from Atlassian Confluence I can definitely see how essential this feature is. I am not even talking about Doc level, actually referring to Page level.

Of course Confluence misses millions of features that Coda has, but I noticed that this is such a huge miss from Coda.

Even if I work just by myself, if I have > 100 pages in a Doc it would be good to see my last edited or last opened pages.

If I work with others and collaborate on a Doc (lets say > 50 pages) it’s impossible to have ANY idea whatsoever what others are doing in this Doc.

Our workaround:
I went back to the 90s and sent an email and told others what I did including the 15 page links I worked on.

I noticed that there is also no information about creation date, page creator, etc. - that is all actually very very valuable information when more people are working and collaborating on a Doc.

I really would wonder if no one else misses this basic feature. If not, then I probably have a completely different use case in mind than what Coda was designed for.

But looking at the Coda website, I can find myself in the use cases - startup, knowledge base, product management / development, …

5 Likes

i too would love to see these kinds of features built-in to coda docs - but coda’s power lies in it’s ability to add functionality to documents.

my clients are in regulated industries where strict document management practices are required for certain kinds of collaborative documents, even the specifications we use for developing formulas and buttons in spreadsheets and coda docs themselves!

regulators like the FAA, FDA, SEC, GAP, … etc. require auditable controls on certain classes of documents.

so we developed a “controlled document template” for these. it uses a table to record who and when the following things occured (and the reasons for the changes)…

  • create a new page or section
  • check-out a page for editing (marks page as such)
  • check-in modified page
  • delete page or section
  • sign-off approval for a page
  • mark a page as ready for approval, listing approver roles required

it places buttons on every new page to be used to trigger these procedures and will ‘highlight’ any page that does not use the right procedure.

comments are also used for collaboration, but they are always cobsidered ‘outside’ the document. like post-it notes - useful, but not binding.

the template depends on users following the procedures. so it could be circumvented on purpose or by accident. but in a controlled environment, nobody would dream of committing such a crime :wink: and it can be set to record the text of each page for these events - so even the strictest auditors are happy with it.

and, of course, further functionality can be added - that’s the magic of using coda!

the template was developed under contract so i must check with some folks before i can publish it here. which must await the resumption of work after this holiday break.

edit

i should point out, in case anyone is interested (shamless commercial plug), that we are extending this “controlled document” capability to the blockchain. a pack that will turn the final, approved, signed-off, document into an “NFT” on the Ethereum blockchain. but i wont be publishing that code here :wink:

max

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I do not know Coda that well, but it sounds a bit like modifying a dishwasher so that you can use it for laundry - it might work but it’s a bit fragile. It for sure is impressive what is possible, but then if the use case is so different from the application’s purpose I would look somewhere else.

What I described is pretty standard in Confluence, but then Confluence misses so many features that Coda has … it’s always the same, however, I don’t believe that this “feature” will make it natively to Coda in the next years, so I adapt my workflow or change the application

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You just mentioned part of the issue and I think you’re underestimating just how much data is required to log changes at the level you’re mentioning. Confluence has far fewer features but it has a changelog and Coda has far more features but no changelog. This should spark the question of how difficult it might be to add this feature and if adding it might hinder the ability to add other features. Confluence and Coda are also built on different foundations, so implementing something in one is not like implementing it in the other.

That’s a tradeoff at the moment, and while a changelog seems like a simple feature, it actually requires a great deal of engineering and data with a laundry list of decisions to be made. At what granularity are changes logged? Does a table change count as a page change, and if so, do views of that table on different pages also get listed as having changed? If rows that are filtered out of a view but have had changes, are those listed on that page? Do changes in calculations count? Those are a few of the hundreds of questions to be answered.

If you’re mostly talking about changes in text, our new canvas column type that was announced at Block Party might help and will let you know when that cell in the table has changed. This is scheduled to be launched in Q1 2022. We’re also exploring ways to make commenting more powerful.

These are things that we regularly discuss and research, and while it’s not a project yet, I wouldn’t say that it won’t be a project in the future.

3 Likes

Thanks Ben for explaining … it is true, Confluence works more like a “file system” compared to Coda. Where a file (= Confluence page) has a creator, creator date, modified date … I understand that this is a completely different level at Coda (especially with the new upcoming feature that allows to nest information in tables).

Perhaps it will be possible if you consider only the page level itself (not tracking what was changed, but only that something got modified c.f. file). But I get it with all those features to link data and views its getting complicated to even conceptualize it (not even talking about implementing it)

2 Likes

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