Coda’s programmable document editor comes out of beta, launches iOS app

Coda, which is coming out of its limited beta today, wants to reinvent how you think about documents and spreadsheets. That’s about as tough a challenge as you can set yourself, given how ingrained tools like Word, Excel and their equivalents from the likes of Google, Zoho and others are. Coda’s secret weapon is that […]

Coda, which is coming out of its limited beta today, wants to reinvent how you think about documents and spreadsheets. That’s about as tough a challenge as you can set yourself, given how ingrained tools like Word, Excel and their equivalents from the likes of Google, Zoho and others are. Coda’s secret weapon is that it combines text and spreadsheet functionality into a single document, with the ability to build some basic programming into them and add features from third-party services as a bonus.

In addition to opening up the service to anyone, Coda also today launched its new mobile app for iOS (with Android following at some point in the future).

“It’s the best of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, applications — all brought into one new surface,” Coda founder and CEO (and former head of product for YouTube Shishir Mehrotra told me. “But the phrase we like to use is that Coda allows anyone to make a doc as powerful as an app.”

You’re not going to use Coda, which was founded in 2017 and received funding from VC heavyweights like Greylock, Khosla Ventures and NEA, as a full-blown low code/no code service. It’s still a bit too limited for that. But you can use it to build your own custom inventory system, for example, or to build a basic CRM or to-do app that fits your specific needs. Or you could just use it as an online text editor and then slowly add features like third-party integrations with the likes of Slack or Figma as needed. All of that is easy enough for anybody who has ever used a function in Excel or Google Sheets.

So far, about 10,000 people have used the service during its private beta. Mehrotra tells me that about 15 percent of them are from the Bay Area and that a good amount of them simply use the service as a basic document editor.

The new iOS app, unsurprisingly, mostly focuses on consuming content and using the functions that you have built in the web app. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to build a whole new experience on your phone, after all. In the demos I’ve seen, Coda nicely transforms cells and their functions into usable tables and cards on the iPhone.

Document editor Coda adds third-party integrations with G Suite, Slack, Twilio and more

Coda, the smart collaborative document editor that breaks down the barriers between documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, is today launching one of its most important updates since its launch in 2017. With this update, users will be able to pull in data from third-party sources and send out messages to their teams on Slack or by […]

Coda, the smart collaborative document editor that breaks down the barriers between documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, is today launching one of its most important updates since its launch in 2017. With this update, users will be able to pull in data from third-party sources and send out messages to their teams on Slack or by SMS and email. With this, the company’s take on building living documents that are essentially small apps is now really taking shape.

“Coda is a new type of documents,” Coda co-founder and CEO Shishir Mehrotra told me. “It combines the best of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, applications into a new surface. The goal is to allow anybody to build a doc as powerful as an app.” That means you can use your inventory spreadsheet to build a small inventory management app, for example, that lives entirely in a tabbed Coda document. Mehrotra noted that many businesses essentially run on documents and spreadsheets, but they don’t have the ability to use that data to its full extent.

One part of these new integrations, which Coda calls “Coda Packs,” is that you now have the ability to extend your spreadsheets with data that you typically would have had to pull in by hand — something few people are likely to do. That may be stock, sports or weather data, but also open GitHub requests, Intercom tickets and data from your Google Calendar. But there also is a second set of integrations that now let you push out information to Slack and Twilio . In addition to these, Coda supports Figma, Greenhouse, Instagram, YouTube, Walmart Shopping and Wikipedia.

What’s cool here is that Coda lets you build buttons that can combine dozens of different actions. Maybe you have a spreadsheet about an upcoming event with the phone numbers of a dozen friends and want to text them all a reminder? You can now build a button that talks to Twilio and sends an SMS to all of those who haven’t RSVPed yet. And with the weather integrations, you can tell them what the temperature will be.

I’m typically rather skeptical when I see a company that tries to reimagine a well-established concept like a text editor or spreadsheet. And who knows if Coda will be a commercial success. But I can see how the overall concept makes sense (especially thanks to the ability to add a formula anywhere in a document). It’s worth noting, though, that Microsoft is also moving in this direction with the ability to pull third-party data into Excel (though mostly under the guise of artificial intelligence). What Microsoft doesn’t really do as smoothly as Coda is combine all the different document types in one.