We’ve been hearing from some users about performance issues in big Coda docs. We’ve designed Coda to be a simple tool to get started but it is also packed with capabilities that let you build very complex docs. In many cases, Coda scales well to the needs of teams of hundreds of people working in the same document. However, as docs keep growing, some of our most loyal users run into performance issues. To that end, we are currently working on a number of fixes to the performance of Coda docs and we will be releasing lots of fixes and sharing details over the next couple of months.
Today, we have some announcements about the first set of performance fixes behind the scenes as well as 2 new tools to help you optimize your docs and make them run even faster. Read on for more details.
1. Performance Improvements in Coda: Over the last few months, we’ve been working hard on an effort to improve the performance of Coda docs. The first set of performance improvements started to go out last week. You may have started to notice significant improvements in scrolling and calculation speed in some docs with big tables. We’re still working on some big improvements and will be releasing many more of them in the coming months and will share more details as we go. Watch this space for more.
2. Learn how to optimize the performance of your Coda doc: As part of this process, we’ve also talked to dozens of users who have performance issues and found that simple changes in your docs can sometimes make a huge difference to performance. Since Coda is such a powerful tool, it lets you use a large number of building blocks but so far there hasn’t been much guidance on which patterns are more optimized for scale versus others. After seeing dozens of slow docs from real users who were kind enough to share them with us, we collected a list of best practices for improving the performance of your Coda doc. We’ve published some help content that help you diagnose the root cause of performance issues in your docs as well as suggest ways to fix them.
Click here to read the collection of help articles on Improving Performance.
3. See what’s calculating in your doc: Coda has a powerful formula language that lets you perform some complex calculations. Behind the scenes, we use advanced database optimization techniques to make your formulas run faster but not all of the formulas we support can be optimized to the same extent. Most of the time, there isn’t a noticeable difference, but as your doc gets bigger, you might start to see things slow down and the “Calculating” indicator show up in your doc for long periods of time. We’ve built a tool that lets you see how long each formula in your doc is taking to calculate so you can find the formulas in your doc that are slowing things down. Most slow docs will have a few formulas that take tens of seconds and sometimes minutes or hours to calculate and slow down the whole doc. Using this tool, you can see which formulas are the bottlenecks and need to be optimized. Then with the help of the help articles above, you can learn what patterns to avoid in your formulas and how to fix them in order to optimize your doc.
In order to use this tool, you can simply click the “Calculating” indicator when it shows up. You can also get to it from the Doc Map, but keep in mind this tool is only for docs that show “Calculating” for long periods of time. For more instructions and tips for fixing other types of docs, please refer to the help articles on Improving Performance.
As we continue to make and release more performance fixes, many of these scenarios will be optimized behind the scenes so you don’t have to do them manually. However, in the meanwhile, we want to help shed some light on the most optimal patterns for big Coda docs.