Coda, which wants to turn docs into apps, is now generally available

By Harry McCracken

Last October, I wrote about Coda, a startup dedicated to a goal that few companies have ever achieved: establishing a new category of productivity software. Its service looks a bit like a word processor; slices and dices data like a spreadsheet or word processor; and is so programmable that the end result can feel more like an app than a document. And though building a rich experience using Coda takes work, it offers “Packs”–bits of ready-made functionality that can do things like send text messages via Twilio or pull in driving directions from Google Maps–to speed the process.

When I wrote about Coda, it had been in the works for more than four years and was still in a closed beta–which was a sign of just how ambitious an undertaking it was. Today, it’s coming out of beta with version 1.0, the first that anyone can sign up to use. It’s also launching an iPhone app that takes Coda docs designed on a bigger screen and intelligently reformats them with usability on a smartphone-sized screen in mind.

During Coda’s beta, companies ranging from Spotify and Uber to a small-town granola baker in Virginia have used the service to build docs tailored to their own particular business needs. But as with any platform for creativity, most of its possibilities will only turn into realities now that it’s open to all comers. It’ll be fun to see where it goes.


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