User limits, doc size, updating, etc

I need some input from those of you with a LOT of Coda experience. I have an idea for a doc I built. It basically is to help people stay on track for a program that was developed by someone else. I want to present this to the program developer as an option for their users to track their progress and give the company some additional ways to interact with their clients.

I could just have each person copy the doc and make it their own. But doing this eliminates anything ever being changed in the future. If we wanted to add some things into the program then each user would have to get the new doc template and then they’d lose all their previous progress.

So I was wondering if I just made one doc and each user that logs in can only view and edit their particular records in tables how would that impact performance?

If there were 200 users or 2,000 users would it make much difference?

The other thought I had was for me to create a new doc for each user. But that would mean updating it would require me to make the same doc edits to every doc created! For 20 people that might not be bad for for 200 or 2,000 people that could be horrendous.

Basically the document is one page of information showing where they are today. Each item being tracked, weight/body measurements, water intake, food diary, etc. is on it’s own page. We want to make this simple for a user to pull up their cell phone or web browser and just see what they haven’t done yet.

I could build this in some other product like Microsoft crap…er ah, platforms. But I don’t want to spend that much time on creating it since we don’t know if it will be successful. Coda is quick and easy and I already built the entire thing in 1/2 a day. I’m just not sure how best to make something that can be changed and updated as we go. The company ads new challenges all the time and it would be great to be able to add these to the front page so the client only has one place to go to track everything in the program.

So…those of you who do custom work and have made big documents, lots of users, please share things to consider.

Some thoughts I have.

If I made a document for each user I could do a CrossDoc and pull all that data for the company to see stats and to be able to share things like…way to go people y’all have lost a total of X pounds this week!

If it were one doc per user. If I wanted to change the main page and add in other things I woiuld assume I could make the new challenge into a page template and have each user just add that template. But if I wanted to change that main page to include the new template information could I make a template of the new page and when they copied that template and deleted the old first page would all the things being pulled work?


You have consumed X ounces of water today.

X is being pulled from a table on another page for water.

So if you make a new template page for that and in your document all the table names, etc. are all the same and you import this new template page will it get X from the water table? Or will it show up as broken until you go in and fix it?

I don’t want a maintenance nightmare and these are mostly women over 40 many with very limited computer skills.

Is there a way to make something in Coda or should I just go back to an actual web/database development platform? Am I trying to force Coda beyond it’s limits?


I have a year and a half in coda and in my experience you are indeed pushing beyond Coda’s limits for a couple reasons:

  1. Coda currently has no way of restricting access either in terms of editing permissions or view permissions within a document to different users.
  2. While Coda added templates recently and it’s a great step forward, AFAIK there is no way to propagate template changes to documents that use the template.

I believe Coda has hinted at work in these areas, so there is hope that some support is coming, which would be awesome for many people and use cases.

A thing about a single document however, if in your case it is ok for users to have access to other users’ data, then you could create all sorts of filtered pages and table views that only show content for that user. Just keep in mind the full dataset is still available in the document if they view hidden pages, or use the API, etc.

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Thank you. That was the kind of answer I was looking for.

What about the number of users? Any idea on those limits?

I’m not sure, our use cases are low numbers of users (<10), and I don’t recall much about that here although I think I’ve read of people here with hundreds of users in their docs.

Sheer number of rows, columns, and formulas is a concern, so I recommend building a quick prototype with lots of fake data and simulating users with fake emails somehow if you can to test out your max targets.

Great idea. Thank you.

Hi Susan,

I asked a Codan earlier about the number of users Coda can handle, and his response was that there are customers that have a thousand and more concurrent users.

And I think that “concurrent” is an important word there, It is also going to depend on what the content of the doc is. If there are many calculation intensive columns, that needs to get recalculated every time a table is accessed, it is going to be a very different result than if it is a blog where people only read articles.

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That’s great to hear! Yes, I expect formulas would greatly slow the results. But I think it’s worth my time to do a test run with some users and see how it goes. Coda keeps making improvements so it can only get better, right? :blush:

Thank you for the input.

Susan M Davis

Hey Susan, I’m currently building/maintaining something that seems to function similar to what youre describing. This doc is mainly a work process management doc, its helping our team move from 2 different softwares and a couple of spreadsheets into one doc but every view and table is filtered with the user() formula so users only see rows that pertain to them. 7 users so cant speak to the 10+ concurrent users situation.

Here ss something I’ve noticed. You can filter each view per user but each additional filter (i.e. a user wanting to filter their weigh in data to look at a date a year ago) would affect everyone’s view. So, if I see the weight view table filtered for just my results and I would then filter the dates for June of last year, that would change the view for everyone using the doc.

Havent found a work around for this but the benefit of coda to me is gathering all the data in one place but im struggling with this issue at the moment.

Thanks for that input. I don’t think my users would be changing things, mostly women over 40 who are non technical. I think my bigger problem is them changing something by accident. So I have to keep it simple for them I

Using buttons so they never want to click on anything else.

Susan M Davis

Hi @Juan_Rey1 there are workarounds for this by creating filter tables that contain each user’s filter preferences. I use this extensively. It does require a one-time setup, e.g. by offering users a button to register themselves in the filter tables, or by entering it manually (admin). This is because there is no way in an automation to iterate all users on the doc, or to trigger when a new user joins the doc. Other than the annoyances of setup and the registration, after that it works quite well.

You can search the forums for a few examples of this method, one great one by Paul.

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