Optimising Formula window, add Bookmarks and right panel options

#1

Hey there!
I have a bunch of ideas to optimise Codas’ workflow.

Actually I find that the formulas dialog window can be sometimes annoying. I would like an option to have a more permanent window, to try out formulas without having to close the formula window. Also, I don’t really like that the formula window is in front of the data.
Here are some propositions :

Formulas cells

I also would like a summary on the right side of the screen. I feel that the comment space could be powered with other kinds of features.
One of the most important feature I would like to see in Coda would be a bookmarks and summary feature. As I do not want to scroll down for hours on a section containing many informations, I would love to be able to bookmark titles and tables.
Then we’d add a summary (and other stuff if needed) in the right panel like this :

Summary

What does the community thinks about this?
Thanks!

5 Likes
#2

I totally feel the same about the formula window.

Regarding the content on the right, I am not sure, if you already have large table it would mean less space to see you data. On the other hand this could be a collapsible panel.

1 Like
#3

@Paul-Julien_VAUTHIER there is already a collapsible panel for comments only. We could use it for other purposes than only comments.

2 Likes
#4

@tomavatars Regarding the formula dialog window, I agree it does sometimes get in the way of the data but the same is true in Excel. Perhaps there just needs to be a smarter way of positioning the formula window on the canvas. By putting the formula dialog box at the top of the doc, it starts to feel more and more like Excel (not saying that’s bad). I actually think the formula dialog box is a waste of space in Excel since I rarely check that box for the formula but rather look inside the actual cell.

#5

I agree with @Al_Chen about positioning the formula bar which once you setup a table is rarely used. Although it would be very useful to see the result of a long formula in real time.

#6

I agree that the formula window could be better.

For me, I think the issues would be solved if I could:

  1. Drag the corner of the formula window out to make space for larger, more complex formulas. Visually it could be done with “draggable dots” similar to the ones on the left of a row in a table.
  2. The ability to move the formula window to anywhere on the canvas so that it doesn’t obscure the data or the names of the columns you’re referencing.
  3. Ability to Alt-Enter in the formula window to add new lines and give a better overview on parts of a complex formula. I can’t count the number of time’s I’ve had a parentheses to many or too few because the formula starts getting difficult to read.
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#7

These are awesome ideas. Can’t believe Microsoft hasn’t thought about allowing users to customize the dimensions of the formula bar while you’re editing the formula.

Building off of the woes of writing a complex formula and not knowing where you are with parentheses, it would be cool if there was a “beautify” formula code option where Coda automatically adds new lines and indents based how nested your formula is. I’m thinking of tools like JSON Beautify or the beautify query feature in most MySQL editors.

1 Like
#8

Ad 2.:
Actually I like the idea of moving it around, but I also think it can get annoying because you always have to look where it is (nanoseconds, but still time :D) and also on smaller viewports, it could be all the time in front of something, so you have to move it around and around . (I have that issue with the Color Picker in Apples Keynote/Pages). I guess a “stick to top/bottom/side” functionality like @tomavatars mentioned would be more handy to me.

Ad 1 & 3 and @Al_Chen
Oh yeah, that’d be great. If I have complex formulas, I have to copy it into a text editor, so I can beautify it on my own and get an overview of what I have done or find missing semicolons and close brackets. A more flexible formula window would already help, and a beautify-system would totally rock it!

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#9

On moving the window: What if the default for the formula window was that it always opened where you click to edit (but remembers the size of the window)? That would mean you always know where the window turns up.

If you’d like to move it, that state would only be remembered for that “editing session”, so you can still uncover obstructed data etc.

I think the milliseconds needed to move the mouse cursor to a formula window somewhere not directly connected to the place I clicked (like a sidebar) is a pain when using the formula window in Excel. And as @Al_Chen mentioned above, it’s sort of a waste of space…

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#10

Another idea for the formula window is to make it float. When you’re editing a formula in Coda or Excel, unless you build it right on the first time, you’re still stuck in “edit formula mode” and you need to consult your data to make sure you are referencing the right values/columns/cells. If you have a long nested formula, sometimes I’ll just slap on some parentheses to “get out” of editing the formula even though the formula may be incorrect. This doesn’t always work because sometimes Excel throws an error and you need to fix the formula to make sure it works.

In Excel, you can press F2 to give yourself the freedom to browse the sheets in your file to consult the proper column or cell reference you need while still in edit formula mode. Perhaps the answer is just a key to toggle between editing your formula and browsing your doc while you’re actively writing out your formula.

1 Like