I spent 48 hours with Nova, a new native IDE for MacOS released by Panic on September 14th.
Two days ago I downloaded the free trial of Nova, installed the TypeScript extension, snagged a theme, opened a TypeScript project and started coding.
Nova is fast. Files open with haste. Find in Project... delivers search results fast. There's no visible slowdown editing large files. When I open multiple text editor panes and terminals Nova doesn't skip a beat. The native IDE just works. Not everything is straight out of MacOS. According to Panic, their engineers coded the text editor from scratch after discovering some bugs in Apple’s text layout engine and ended up with a more performant experience.
Nova's text editor is delightful. There’s multiline editing, intuitive autocompletion, code hints. The TypeScript extension features some refactoring functionality for all those code smells. Panic found some novel uses for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar including running your npm script at the press of a button, as if typing npm run start took too long.
The design is clean and intuitive, very familiar to anyone using MacOS. Finding stuff is easy. When I click on the whimsical iconography there’s subtle user feedback. I open a dialog and find myself staring into the depths of outer space. Nova is honestly a little weird. Panic is the same company that released a handheld game device with a hand crank... because they could. It's part of the charm.
At $99 ($49 yearly subscription after the first year), Nova is reasonably priced. If you have a serial number from Panic’s legacy IDE Coda, the initial price drops to $79. Nova is a ground up rewrite of Coda.
If you’re looking for an alternative to VS Code, download the free trial of Nova. You may be surprised how a native IDE can really improve developer experience.
Disclaimer: I’m not paid by or affiliated with Panic.