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s someone who heard about Notion, Coda and Airtable long before I heard about NoCode and the entire movement around it, it feels strange to include these tools here. These sets of products don't have a specific category but define a class all for themselves. They have been called everything from documentation apps to productivity software to collaboration software, to next-generation spreadsheet app, to modular productivity app and many more names. 

Of these tools, I believe Airtable is easier to understand, and a lot of articles are already available about it. So in this article, we concentrate on Notion and Coda, and we believe there are differences between the same. These are just opinions of the authors here at NoCode Journal, and we have played with both tools but are not the experts in either. I understand there are legions of fans on both sides, so please read the below as primarily a primer for someone who might be exploring these two tools for the first time.


Notion

Notion is a San Francisco based collaboration, product management, and task management tool founded by Chris Prucha, Ivan Zhao, Jessica Lam, Simon Last in 2016.  Notion has raised 10 Million USD in total funding to date. It defines itself as a break away from today's tools blending business workflows into an all-in-one workspace. A user can customize their workspace from dozens of LEGO-style building blocks. A user can solve their problems their way, bounded only by their imagination.

Notion is also famous for simplicity, layout tools, and embedding content from other sites or apps, and it already has more than a million users. From the reviews, if we are speaking in terms of speed, Notion has it. If you're a beginner, no need to worry about it because you can easily navigate and create stuff without going through an extended tutorial, also,you can identify if this fits your purpose since they have the option for Work, Start-Ups, Students, and Educators.

 If you are worried about how to organize both from your business and individual task, for sure, this tool is for you. The templates are also categorized based on your needs, and it is interactive since you have drag and drop functionality to fill the pages. Currently, they are accessible through your Android and iOS phones, Mac, Windows, and Web Clipper. The advantage of Web Clipper is you can save pages from the Web to this tool if you have installed Chrome or Firefox browsers. Notion is best for a Cloud-based and on-premise project management system, so if you are a current user of Evernote, you could instantly import your notes into Notion. 

New Updates from Notion as of March 2020:

  • Underline formatting - The formatting menu has a new addition, underline. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + U to underline any text and combine underline with any other text styling option.
  • Math equations such as +, - x and ÷ - this tool can be used for notes, homework, technical documentation, or any project that needs a fraction or equation.
  • Better multi-column support for inline databases - you can now  tuck databases inside toggles or columns, or create beautiful dashboards with different views of the same database.
  • Page mentions (@-mentions) and external hyperlinks are now a bit more polished and eye-catching.
  • You now have the option to enable email notification when you’re mentioned in your workspace. Note: If the app was open on your computer or mobile device at the time, you'd receive a push notification instead of an email.
  • Nested database filters - combine “and” or logic and nest filter groups up to three layers deep. Here are a few filters you can create now that weren't possible before:
  • Tasks where Team = Engineering AND (Priority = Medium OR High)
  • Notes where (Type = Standup OR Weekly Sync) AND were created within a week
  • Projects where Effort = Low AND (Impact = High OR Medium)
  • Insert emoji to make it lively. Try these shortcuts in your team docs.
  • Better emoji support on Windows and Android
  • If you are paying $5 per month to add more content, now add unlimited content for free. 
  • Personal Pro Plan - this new plan includes: No limit on individual file uploads (5MB is the limit for free), Unlimited guest collaborators on any page (the limit is 5 on the free plan), Version history up to 30 days, and API access (coming soon). This plan costs $5 per month paid monthly, or $4 per month paid annually. If you were paying for our Personal Plan before you are now automatically upgraded to Pro!
  • You can now give editing access to anyone by sending them the link. People will need a Notion account to make edits, but Notion simplified the sign-up process for anyone who will receive your link. This is perfectly useful for crowdsourced projects, classroom collaboration, or just simply sharing a grocery list with a loved one.
  • For Team and Enterprise users, you can invite more teammates to join your workspace with a secret link. Navigate into the Members section of Settings & Members in your sidebar:
  • Notion refreshed the design and the wording to make it a bit easier to share your pages. Check out the Share menu now!
  • There are a bunch new templates for writing, planning and organizing. 
  • To Android and iOS users, it is now 2x faster start up time on mobile. Notion has simpler design and full width pages on iPad and Android tablet. 
  • For iPad, the app is more responsive to different screen widths by dragging up from your dock.
  • With your current template, you can filter linked databases within a database template for a more automated workflow.
  • Notion added Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Cyrillic characters in the Serif and Mono styles.
  • Embed a Miro board into any Notion page. This is best use for a collaborative, online whiteboard for distributed & remote teams. 
  • Embed an Abstract project into any Notion page. Abstract offers version control for design teams using Sketch or Adobe XD (beta). This is best used Version control, Design collaboration and Designer - Developer handoff. 
  • Limit inline tables, lists, galleries, and timelines to only show 10, 25, 50, or 100 rows at first, then click to load more.
  • You have ultimate control over which properties are shown in your database pages.
  • You can expand or restrict permissions for any sub-page. 
  • Getting the visibility you need into your team's plans, projects, and tasks across days, weeks, quarters, and beyond PLUS editing deadlines is just a drag & drop away. 
  • You can add a caption to any code block. Perfect for blog posts, detailed documentation, or just keeping your code snippets labeled and organized.
  • It shows a new and unique rollup formatting option
  • Better inline links easier to use, and less finicky overall
  • Create new pages into your URL bar by typing notion.new 
  • Automating user and group provisioning with Notion's SCIM API (System for Cross-domain Identity Management) enables organizations to create, manage and remove members and groups in Notion through an identity provider (like Okta or Rippling) or your own app.
  • New widgets for iOS 14, pick a style and customize however you want.
  • Now all proposals, specs, and guidelines are in one place. 
  • If you are using a Mac with Apple's new M1 processor, notion.so/desktop, download a new version of our desktop app, optimized for Apple Silicon. 
  • Certified Notion Consultants are Notion experts because they're certified for their tactical skills and informed strategies, which often pair Notion with other powerful tools. Whatever problem you bring as a team, company, individual, they can solve it. 
  • Notion’s Confluence importer moves all your work (even thousands of pages!) into Notion with just a few clicks. 
  • Notion started testing a private beta of the API with a small number of users, and a limited scope of features. 
  • There's fine-grained controls for your dark mode preference across desktop and mobile.
  • In the new-and-improved SHARED section, you decide which pages stay in your sidebar. Everything else can be searched and sorted, pinned and unpinned in the new View all popover menu 👇
  • When exporting any Notion page as a PDF, there's a new option that helps you increase or decrease the text size as needed.
  • Customize your Android home screen with instant shortcuts to the Notion dashboards, notes, and workflows you need. 

Coda

Coda is another San Francisco based document management and productivity tool founded by Alex DeNeui and Shishir Mehrotra in 2014. Coda has raised 60 Million USD in total funding to date. Coda has made it their mission to rip the document down to the studs and build a new set of building blocks that would empower people to make docs as powerful as apps. 

Coda, just like Notion but a newer version, is known for giving shape to your data, charts, and API supported by Zapier. The environment and features of this NoCode tool are new. It is like Google Docs and Excel, except you can build apps with it. As a beginner, this tool is easy to start using since it customizes views and builds blocks like tables that act like databases. You can also create buttons that take action to create their unique solutions and makes you more productive since everything is in one place. Coda is also known for its quick templates gallery, fast loading, tons of cool features. The unique feature is connecting your documents with Packs. Packs are integration and plugins such as Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Shopify, and a lot more that you could push updates automatically. Just like Notion, it has a lot of templates that you could use, and you could freely explore their features and could access in iOS, Android, and Web as well.

 New Updates from Notion as of March 2020:

Transform your doc with new Publishing updates:

  • You can now edit your published doc URL. In your published doc, you should be able to click ‘Edit Doc’ in the upper right corner to navigate to the editable version. 
  • Copy Doc button - this new button generates a copy of doc.
  • You can earn Coda credit from your published doc and for sign ups triggered from your docs. 
  • Teams on Team and Enterprise Coda plans can quickly build tables and tools using their G Suite directory, which includes names, emails and profile images.
  • Coda integration with Zoom, this helps you to create, manage and review your videoconference meetings and webinars.
  • It is now a more flexible setting for admins to control who can be a Doc Maker in paid workspaces.
  • You can monitor  users who copy your docs don’t inherit the people selection options from your tables and @-references.
  • Pages and subpages can have the same name within the same doc.
  • Use the ‘@’ command to mention people, pages, tables and rows. You can also drag a page or subpage from the page list into your typing surface to mention it.
  •  You can connect Coda Account to your Google contacts for fast and easy sharing.
  • Add icons to the folder in your workspace. 
  • For packages delivery service, quickly insert tables for edEx, UPSm USPS or all three to track package status and other details. 
  • You can open the same doc in more than one browser tab.
  • Coda now shows an icon in your share button to show you at a glance who currently has access to a doc.
  • View your docs and add interactivity with collapsible headers, tables and views.
  • This Unsplash Pack converts any words into beautiful free images & pictures from the internet’s source of freely usable images.
  • Your published document can be given a customized and unique URL. 
  • You have the ability to control whether or not your document is made available for search engine indexing, increasing its discoverability.
  • Connect your documents to Google Drive to easily view all your files, docs and assets in one place.
  •  Coda increased its TimeZone coverage to be more comprehensive and inclusive.
  • You can now see who is currently active (or has been active in the last 24 hours) in a doc from the doc list.
  • New users for existing organizations on Coda will now see the full list of docs that are available to them.
  • New shortcuts to help you stay in your flow as you navigate within and beyond your pages. 
  • Header rows now remain visible as you scroll through grouped tables, ensuring your valuable context remains available.
  • We’ve made visual updates to tables to make it easier and more intuitive to select, add, expand and rearrange content in tables.
  • Users may “Pin” docs within a team folder so that the docs show at the top of the folder for everyone who accesses it
  • We’ve taken our API out of Beta and into broad availability.
  • A faster, cleaner and more discrete printing option from Coda.
  • You may now indicate your preferred pronouns on your Coda Maker Profile. 
  • Use Coda to review and analyze results from Typeform forms, or to generate an index of all of your forms.
  • We’ve made updates to how images load, canvas formulas calculate and the Coda UI renders to make docs load faster and with improved context.
  • You can now upload a custom profile picture to give yourself a distinct identity in the Doc Gallery and when working in Coda with your teammates and collaborators.
  • We’ve indexed more of your docs’ contents to make it easier to search for them in your doc list and in the Doc Gallery.
  • Download an entire page as a PDF, directly from the Coda.
  • A new, more intuitive layout for cards, with richer features and improved interactions.
  • Two new formulas for the statisticians among us: StandardDeviation() and StandardDeviationPopulation.
  • A new setting for chart views, that allows you to determine whether or not to aggregate y-axis values. This is especially helpful for bubble and scatter charts.
  • More image formatting options, and easier access to tools for managing the layout and grouping of your cards.
  • Connect the Slack integration in your Coda settings to unlock comment notifications from Coda in Slack, easier sharing and @-mentioning to your Slack directory in Coda, and improved sharing and previews of docs directly in Slack.
  • You can now import your Notion pages to Coda, unlocking API-supported capabilities, third-party packs, and publishing to docgallery.com for all your work.
  • In addition to a new shape, you can now choose from the full set of icons for your buttons, and size them as small, medium, or large.
  • Connect Coda to GitLab to manage merge requests, track issues, review commits and keep an eye on projects in your docs.
  • We’ve implemented a series of changes to improve the median doc load time by 25%
  • Quickly add sessions from published docs to your Google Analytics reporting.
  • A new set of reports for Publishers to understand the performance of docs they publish to the world.
  • Enterprise admins can now control which third-party Packs are accessible to users in their workspace.
  • A new way for enterprise admins to manage users and access customizable activity reports.
  • The new WithName() formula empowers you to reuse logic and create nested loops in your formulas.
  • We’ve updated the color palette within Coda to make base colors bolder and higher contrast for easier viewing across devices.
  • An update to the conditional formatting menu now allows you to add a rule to apply to ‘All Rows’ in order to format your entire table, and more quickly & easily delete individual conditional formatting rules.
  • In addition to custom color schemes, you can now quickly select some of the most common color combinations from the conditional formatting menu.
  • Set a column’s text styling and text colors from the top formatting menu, and quickly configure conditional formats if desired.
  • You can now set custom colors for charts.
  • You can now upload and embed attachments. Say hello to docs with PDFs, gifs, images, videos, and more ー all in one place.
  • A new way to collect data to be reviewed, analyzed, and managed in Coda
  • Makers can update URLs for published forms to pre-fill some or all of their fields.
  • Quickly duplicate a column with its settings and values, or just with its settings. 
  • Search doc titles, page titles and doc text directly from the Google Chrome URL bar with our updated Chrome Extension.
  • See your current page’s title, alongside doc title, in your browser tab
  • Toggle the width of the left panel on timeline charts to show as little or as much text as you’d like.
  • A new option to expand timeline charts beyond the standard page width for improved visual customization.
  • Add dependencies to show when tasks require another to be completed in your timeline charts.
  • The duplicate page action enables you to create buttons on your pages and in your tables that duplicate pages and subpages.
  • Use a textbox to interact with and filter your data.
  • Add reactions to tables and pages to quickly get feedback, and add more interactivity to your docs.
  • We’ve further optimized data encoding and column types to reduce median doc load time an additional 15%.
  • Attach PDFs to your Coda docs and, if desired, display them full size on the page.
  • A new option to trigger a zap when a row is updated in Coda (not just when a new row is added)
  • Optimizations to a host of column types and controls to make them take up less space so their docs load faster. Among the optimized columns and controls this round: buttons, reactions, checkboxes, sliders, scales, files, images, and formulas.
  • Coda now supports dark mode. 
  • Select a random item from a list.
  • Generate a random number within your min and max bounds.
  • Reverse the values in a list.
  • A new option to add a “Results” column when using the duplicate page action in a table, so that you can keep track of all your duplicates.
  • You can now reorder data in detail views with left navigation via drag-and-drop.
  • An additional new location to manage the visibility of your table title.
  • Rename table title from table options menu.
  • Quickly transform any table into a kanban board, or add one directly by typing /board on any page.

There are a lot of recommendable to-do lists, project management platforms, or productivity apps like Notion and Coda. But these NoCode tools have the same aim to be helpful not just in organizing but useful for the user every day. Both have a variety of templates and keyboard shortcuts to choose from based on what you need to sort out. The aim is to manage a page with add-ons and come up with a solution based on your needs.  It is all about choosing what's the best productivity tool that works for you.


Posted 
Jul 13, 2020
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