I'm very interested in buying Coda 2 (a web development IDE) when it comes out on the 24th. My concern is that the App Store version will have less features than the non-App Store version. Will Apple's new sandboxing policies be likely to limit the use of an application like Coda? Is there any reason to not buy direct from the developer?

  • We can't speculate on such things (the features that will or won't be in either version). Your best bet is to wait for the release and see the differences. Panic, in my opinion has always be a pretty open straightforward company, if there are differences, they'll say it. May 23, 2012 at 7:44

8 Answers 8


As you can read on the FAQ page of Coda, there is indeed a difference:

Should I buy from you directly, or from the Mac App Store?

It's largely a matter of personal preference. Please refer to the pricing FAQ above to see which way gets you the best price.

At the moment, there is only one difference between the two versions: the Mac App Store version will support iCloud syncing of Sites and Clips, and the direct version will not. This is a restriction imposed by Apple.

Apple often changes the conditions for Mac App Store eligibility, and it's possible we may have to modify or remove features from the Mac App Store version in the future. It's our intent to keep them as close to identical as Apple will let us.

So there you have your answer.

So, if you like to sync with iCloud, you should buy from the Mac App Store.
If you like to have a 50% discount, buy from Panic directly!

I would go for the 50% discount. :)

  • 2
    Just to clarify - there is no pricing difference at launch between an upgrade price, the mac app store price and the direct download and pay Panic price. In this case (no upgrade) Panic has mentioned that both methods will be priced the same.
    – bmike
    May 24, 2012 at 11:17

I would buy directly from Panic (and have):

  1. All the profit goes to them (no 30% Apple cut).
  2. The App Store does not allow for upgrade pricing (discounts on upgraded licenses).

It is the last one that most concerns me. I bought Cornerstone (svn client) from Zennaware directly for those reasons. They do give upgrade pricing, so it is well worth it.

Edit: Turns out that panic does offer upgrade pricing, so thats a big point in favor of skipping the app store.

I just keep a dedicated folder in my email (and password keeper) for the license details, in case I have to reinstall.


This is a nice general problem to have and shows how many options developers are trying to see what strikes the best balance for them.

There are some real headaches involved on the developer and back end (store side) if Apple ever allows upgrade pricing so I wouldn't make any purchase assuming that a change there will come soon or ever.

I would always engage the developer (Panic in your case) to see what they say about the merits of a direct download and the app store model. As other answerers have pointed out - the App store places many restrictions on an application in terms of needing to be signed (for gatekeeper), not being able to run with administrator permissions, and having to live with sandboxing security constraints. On the other hand, the Mac App Store apps will be able to use iCloud document syncing exclusively, and over time more exclusive benefits may come to make those apps preferable to you.

The best solution I've seen is MarsEdit where you can either buy the program directly from the author's website or the store for the same price. However, in the interest of getting some bug fixes to end users before Apple can review them, the app store version of the app also enables you to run the downloaded versions of the apps without needing a separate license.

Not all developers have done this level of interoperability so do your research before assuming you can switch back or forth. To date, I don't know of any app that has allowed previous purchasers to convert to the paid app other than by announcing a short sale period where the app is offered for a discount or for free to all who wish to buy on the App Store.

Panic's model of pre-announcing the sale and pre-announcing the discounted prices and durations allows new users to benefit from a reduced price as well as accommodate users that may be in an "upgrade" scenario without being able to integrate this upgrade pricing while maintaining the full price point for non-upgraders.

In the end - it's about how you prefer to have your software licensed. The standard Mac App Store model is sometimes more lenient in the number of personal copies, but not as flexible for negotiating a bulk or upgrade special pricing at an arbitrary purchase time.


i chose to buy direct but i have not yet been able to install. the email and links Panic has sent to not seem to function at all. So Im stuck sitting here while app store downloads work fine.

Emailed support, no response.


Well, I bought from the App Store because you may choose after paying:

It says in the FAQ that after buying the MAS version you can switch do the "Direct" version by asking it to the support. BUT YOU CAN'T DO THE OPPOSITE.

PS - When I bought there was no 50% discount :( So you may want to consider that.


I would buy it straight from panic. That way, when updates are released you will be able to download them immediately without having to wait for the app store to approve the purchase.

More importantly, more of your money will be going directly to Panic instead of Apple. More money to Panic means more time and resources they can spend making Coda 2 better. Support the developer you like, not apple. Lastly, you can check for updates everytime you use Coda through the app instead of having to load up MAS to see when updates are released or subscribing to Panic's mailing list/visiting a version site like macupdate. This opinion might be a bit biased as I hate the mac app store, but the fact that you will get updates sooner and more of the money goes directly to Panic makes it a no brainer for me but this is the beauty of a developer who offers two methods of purchasing.


I bought on AppStore the first day and now I really want to update to 2.0.1 (v2 is not stable), the new version is available since the 4th but not on AppStore.

In my opinion, this is a big problem, if one day Apple make this own code editor, this is too long to validate app!

More here : http://www.panic.com/blog/2012/06/update-on-coda-2-0-1-mac-app-store-version/

Edit : now (21 th june) 2.0.1 available on AppStore


My Personal Take on it is, buy/download it directly. Its always nice to have that copy floating around for use later when its needed for whatever random reason, although you could just require it from the app store the same way. But the draw back to that is, you never know when apple is gonna say we don't want this product here anymore. Like its done with handfuls of apps in the past.

Also from the app store or directly I think you can use icloud regardless. I dont use icloud with coda as Ive to many sites to worry about that take up gigs upon gigs of space. but I remember when I bought Coda directly I was given the option to set it up with iCloud.

and theres my 2 cents..

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