Access to bases on mobile devices while offline


#62

I would like to predominantly work offline .

I would collect field data in remote locations on ipad and help clients implement similar solutions. I am using other platforms that enable this for now. Airtable remains a test bed.

Collaborate with 5 per base.

Conflicts are ok if there is a smooth interface for addressing them.

There would be zaps related to records being created.


#63

+1
Hi, I use Airtable since two weeks and I am greatly impressed after years of frustrated use of other Apps. The only thing I miss is temporary offline access.

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
Reading. Creating new records. Editing. 1. In my work in the field with collegues with an international charity Organisation in Latin America and Europe. 2. Private, with Friends for hiking and Outdoor activities (Shared Travel diary).

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
I use it with 2 collaborators, Potentially up to 12.

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Mostly for 8-10 Hours, sometimes for 2-3 days. Mostly, I’d like to be able to create records and edit. No need to change forma, filters or structures.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually? tolerant. I (the User) should be informed that edits of different Records may cause conflicts.

There is a question you didn’t asked: How tolerant would collaborators be if a Record is temporally “read only”? I think, very tolerant. An Option that the owner or Write Access-collaborators can set a record in “offline edit-Mode” would reduce significantly the Airtable CEO’s nightmare of Sync conflicts.

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile? Mobile on both iPad and android phone.


#64

As cool and seductive as Airtable is, the FIRST question I asked myself was “can this app work offline?”
Google brought me to this thread. LOL

Simple example:

  1. Create a “Team Directory” with phone numbers of all involved.
  2. You want to CALL someone, but have NO Internet.
  3. Game OVER for AirTable

#65

I need this too. I am often in areas with poor connection or in a notspot. The more I am using it, the more I rely on it and consequently the bigger the problem is when I don’t have access to it.

It really is key to me.


#66

I need AT for inspections where the database set up is not going to change but would need to update records with data from the field.
I would be using it with one or two collaborators at most.
I need to use it offline for about an hour or two each day.
I would not be tolerant resolving conflicts at all.
I’m thinking of, as others have suggested, an offline mode that would sync changes one reconnected. Again only records updating with NO changes to structure or relationships is what I need.
Hope this helps!


#67

Hey @Katherine_Duh, thanks for giving us the chance to help with our stories!
Keep up the good work.

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
I use airtable to organize pretty much everything at work (non-profit social entrepreneur)

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
Alone for now / 3 collaborators when I manage to convince them to sign up…

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
I’d like to create and edit records just like I do when I’m connected (including formulas :smiling_imp:)

For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline?
Since I don’t collaborate much on airtable, I don’t have any preference.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
As much as you guys need to get it working :slight_smile:

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
I spend a decent amount of time in trains and areas with a poor connection, so mobile and desktop would be great! But I can settle for desktop.


#68

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
Mostly read only, but with the ability to add new base entries as needed.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
With collaborators, but they have “Edit only” access

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
No need to change formatting, just want to add new db entries. I would even be happy if attachments weren’t part of offline mode

For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline?
Up to a week

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
As much as you guys need to get it working

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
Mobile


#69

Second in on the requirements with one important exception:
I can do well without the ability to change database structures (including field types, drop-down list contents etc.).


#70

I concur. No offline ability = no travel functionality = no airtable use = other apps fill the void :-(…


#71

It is almost a year since this thread started — May I ask where you are with the topic now?

I just created an account for Airtable, because it looks really superb. I don’t like any of the other collaboration tools (Slack included), and this looks to let me work the way I would like to.

As soon as I started to set up the database, I noticed I was working in a browser, and immediately looked for the standalone app mode so I don’t have to always have the browser on and connected to the internet, at which point this topic raised in my mind.

I read the thread, and mostly noticed (besides the technical difficulties, which, as a former programmer, I understand quite well) that the thread is a year old. So - what is the Aug 2017 state, please?

I am working on a fairly complex book + Kickstarter + video library collaborative project, and want to keep track of the parts and allow my colleagues to discuss and contribute as we go. There will be between 3 and 5 key collaborators with access to this db, as I see it. Timeframe is about 6-10 months.

I often find myself working in coffee shops or in locations (Argentina, Colombia, France, Italy, Florida, Washington DC) where there is no internet. But those are the moments when I am working hard on this project. So I need some form of offline work.

I would not need to change the db structure when offline, only add and modify records.
I can collaboratively merge with the others, if we need to. I will be lead author.

I like the suggestion way up high by Howie on Sept 16 about opening the browser, loading the db, turning wifi off, editing away, reconnecting later, and Airtable already handles that! Awesome - I will definitely use that in the next month while I am in the US, at least to try it out.

(ref: "Some Airtable user actions, such as editing a cell or creating/deleting new rows, are performed immediately on the client’s local data representation. Thus, they could theoretically be performed offline. In fact, you can do so today by disconnecting your internet connection without closing the browser tab or the iOS/Android app, making changes, then reconnecting—in absence of any conflicting changes from other clients, your offline edits should seamlessly sync.)

That proposal presupposes that I can load the db before I head to the coffee shop. Which I will try out, for fun and just in case my favorite coffee shop doesn’t have wifi (e.g. Wash DC on the weekends, many coffee shops turn off their internets).

But most of the time I won’t have the luxury to load my db freshly before leaving for the coffee shop. I might get internet every few days (e.g. in Cuba), or I might have to reboot my machine - browser window lost.

Hope that information helps you design your solution.

Back to the original question — where are you with the offline work idea at this point, Aug 2017?

thanks - Alistair Cockburn


#72

The ability to access forms and enter data via forms offline would be very useful, particularly for capturing notes or research in the field.


#73

i second you post completely !!


#74

Quick 2 cents: offline use would probably switch me from google sheets. Use sheets right now to organize my thoughts. 1 user. Sometimes 2 devices tho. Could also help me replace booking management software at my hotel in ethiopia.

Personally, I’d put up with brutal syncing problems as long as I was informed.

Subways, airplanes, and developing countries.


#75

I second (or 3rd, 4th) this :slight_smile:
I’m using AirTable for research between countries and offline use would be useful for a quick search, referencing data and previously uploaded images. At the moment, I use my devices to snap photos and upload them later, but it would definitely be nice to upload directly so it will upload later once back online. I use AirTable through my mobile devices most often but feel without the ability to work offline inhibits full usage and potential.


#76

Yes Please. This feature would be so helpful for us


#77

I have been lurking and trying airtable for over a year now but untill there is offline available its a deal breaker.


#78

@Airtable_Team no news on offline mode yet ?
Is there any chance this feature will see the light of day eventually ?
That would really be awesome !
Thank you so much.

R.


#79

How would you want to use Airtable offline? Tell us your story. Are you a world traveler, wanting to find a way to look at your elaborately designed base of sightseeing spots without having to pay exorbitant roaming charges? Are you a construction baron, sending out remote workers to to survey your newly acquired plots of land? Are you a deep sea diver on a solo expedition in the Marianas Trench, logging undiscovered species of hagfish on the ocean floor? Do you just have really terrible WiFi in the boiler room under the stairs, where the boss moved your office?
Corporate manager for a large healthcare organization – I would use it for sensitive information such as privileged legal guidance and sensitive patient information that can not be stored outside of our network.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators? (Resolving merge conflicts when someone is the sole collaborator on a database is far simpler than doing so when you have multiple collaborators, some of whom are online and some of whom are offline, and all of whom are editing different things.)
Alone.

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline? Do you just need a read-only version of the contents of your bases that you can access while offline? Or do you need to have the ability to edit the contents of records while offline? Or do you need to have the ability to change the database schemata while offline? (In order, these are: comparatively simple to implement; difficult to implement; incredibly difficult to implement.)
I need data stored offline entirely. The scheme, config, settings, etc. are OK online.

For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline? For a few minutes, as you drive through a tunnel? (Please don’t Airtable and drive.) For a few hours, as you sit in an airport terminal and refuse to pay for overpriced WiFi? For a few weeks, as you trek through the farthest reaches of frigid Nunavut?
~100% of the time I am entering or accessing information

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually? One potential way of alleviating the issues that arise with resolving merge conflicts is to force end users to make decisions on how to solve specific conflicts. This, however, comes with its own set of potential problems (e.g. being stalled by having to resolve a merge conflict when all you want to do is work, your co-workers getting mad that you merged over their data without their permission).
I’d say entirely tolerant, though I’d ideally implement controls to minimize

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile? Anecdotally, it seems like many of the people who want offline mode want it for mobile, but it would be good for us to get some clarification on that front.
Desktop


#80

I’m a single user working in rural Scotland. All I want is to be able to add and update entries when on the go, such as visiting my customers. Mobile coverage is patchy in Scotland and the last thing I need is to write things down, then have to transcribe them back at base.
A single user offline version would be useful, I don’t have any use for cloud functionality or collaboration. Even if I did conflict resolution could only be very occasional and much less effort than double entries.


#81

Not being able to have the offline mode is the only thing which keeps me from purchasing the feature. With offline mode (like google docs to solde conflicts), then airtable would definitively be THE best database available on the market.