Access to bases on mobile devices while offline


#144

Any progress on this topic? Here is my information!

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
I use Airtable for inventory management. I add my inventory to the table but most of the time I am at a warehouse where there is no internetconnection. As a workaround I use my phones wifi hotspot but it is not ideal.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
I use it alone but my bookkeeper will check my sales every quarter

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Reading and adding items to the table would be sufficient. Store it on a local device and upload it once connected to the internet.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
Will not be a problem since Im the only one adding items to it.

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


#145

FANTASTIC answer! Thank you for the detailed explanation. Now we know!


#146

There are some alternate solutions depending on your needs.

What type of data do you want to update or entry mechanism?

Here are some ideas of integrations:

  1. When you schedule a meeting, have it automatically create an entry in a table.
  2. When you update a row in a spreadsheet (such as Google Sheets, which is available off-line), add or update a row
  3. When you add a file into DropBox, create a new entry.

All of the above entries can be done in their original tools in Off-Line mode.

So if you use a Google spreadsheet and keep the entries listed there, they can automatically update your AirTable Base and Table without an Internet connection.

My tests with Zapier are a bit mixed in terms of update time. My Google sheets updates happened immediately while my DropBox updates took about 5 minutes to refresh - however, for those of us that are looking for a great way to handle immediate updates, this might be the solution. Keep in mind - this is part of Zapier’s integration - by default, they only check every five minutes.

Consider Google Forms or other tools with useful offline viewers for data.

Yari - the example you gave about using it for inventory management would be perfect in this regard, as long as you didn’t mind having the data in a Google spreadsheet as well.


#147

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
In remote Indigenous communities in the far north of Australia, where we can lose internet connectivity for hours (sometimes days).

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
With collaborators.

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Read-only would be sufficient.
The ability to add rows would be nice.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
If adding rows was supported, we’d be happy to manually eliminate duplicates in case two people added the same data in different instances.

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


#148

Hi,
We are looking into a database solution for our inspection company. Airtable looks promising however offline access is a must otherwise we would be better off using third party google sheets applications. Very troubling that management have been absent from this thread for so long and there is no official update as to the progress of this feature, especially with the amount of business they are losing. For every person that posts there would be three that can’t be bothered and just write it off.

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
Inputting data to forms (including photos / attachments) from mobile devices. Inspection reports, daily logs etc. Offline access for adding to different sheets. Editing of existing information not necessary, only adding new lines and potentially editing the content created offline.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
With collaborators.

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Add new lines of data to existing forms.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
If the time/device/user/location of the conflicts were displayed it would be quite easy to sort out. I can’t imagine there would be too many conflicts the way we would use it.

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
Mobile device (iOS and Android).

Just re-iterating nearly every comment in the last year, it’s a real pity that this topic hasn’t been followed up by management with an official update.

Cheers


#149

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
Creating records and inputting data to forms (including photos / attachments) from mobile devices. Offline access for adding to different sheets. Editing of existing information not necessary, but would be really nice and would require being able to edit records created while offline

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
With collaborators.

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Add new lines of data to existing tables/forms and edit those new records ideally

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
If the time/device/user/location of the conflicts were displayed it would be quite easy to sort out, and even so, with create only conflicts would be limited.

Happy to process 5-10 conflicks a day

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
Mobile device (iOS and Android).


#150

Katherine,

Our custom built solution syncs some pretty complex finance data and attachments around the world and we don’t have to worry about resolving conflicts. The way we manage this is to effectively assign someone as the master database admin who can make structural changes to the data and layout of the master database. Other users can either only enter new data records and push them up to the server. Or, they can pull down existing records after ‘checking them out’. This acts as a record lock like in a traditional database design. It’s more of a push / pull process than a true sync, but along with only letting users edit their own records, then you don’t have to worry about conflict management and works perfect for offline access.

Once records are ‘pushed’ up to the server, database admin can ‘lock’ a set of records once they’ve been reconciled, effectively taking them out of ownership of the local user.

As long as each record belongs to one user, there aren’t any data integrity issues and you can download a full view of all the data as any user (depending on permissions), but you can only edit what belongs to you.

For single users, you get everything. You just have to remember to ‘push’ the data back up when you get a connection, but this can be done automatically.

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
Use case 1: Collect data including health statistics from villages in rural Asia where there is zero connectivity for days at a time. Push this back up to a central command and control clinic to analyse and summarise.
Use case 2: Collect finance data from team on the move in rural areas including expenditure. Push back up to central server once connection allows.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
Collaborators

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
Add new records to a defined layout
View existing data that belongs to user
Read-only data from other users

For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline?
Hours, days, weeks. The reality is that if it’s offline, it’s offline, it’s not about seconds, or minutes, it’s just the data is sitting on my offline device until I next have connectivity.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
No tolerance. I don’t feel that it’s needed if you have clear record ownership.

Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
Primarily mobile devices (Tablets and Phone) but in reality, if I loose connection on the desktop in the jungles due to the sat phone going down, I don’t want to stop working.


#151

An offline version would make this program perfect for me… I would be willing to pay a little extra for that ability.

  • How would you want to use Airtable offline?
    `I am currently a PhD student, who has been looking for a way to organize my research notes. Most of my professors tell me to create a spreadsheet. I hate trying to make a spreadsheet do what a database does much better. Yet, having not found an existing database program that really does what I want it to (and is affordable to a student with a family…) has been frustrating. I thought about creating one in MS Access, but I work MAC at home, and PC at the office. Plus, who has time to deal with Access?
    I just want to be able to have an offline version of my database for travel and/or when my work wifi gets spotty. Sometimes, it is also helpful for my productivity to unplug from internet (no emails, social media, endless web browsing to distract me!)

  • Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
    I primarily use Airtable alone. being able to use offline + collaborate would be helpful, but not necessary.

  • How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
    I would like to 1) view records and 2) add records. I don’t need to manipulate the structure.

  • For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline?
    A few hours, maybe a day or two.

  • How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
    I would be just fine to manage conflicts manually.

  • Would you primarily be using offline mode on desktop or mobile?
    I am ok with picking one over the other. I could work primarily offline or primarily online on my desktop. (I don’t even need mobile offline editing, if that makes it easier.


#152

Everthing about Airtable works for our application and is it so well put together. I was able to put together a nice database in minutes. But lack of offline capabilities makes all the great work by Airtable completely useless for us. This is so disappointing.

I looked at Airtable originally over 70 weeks ago, and reluctantly rejected it outright because of this. I am again looking at it now, and very little progress seems to have been made in this area, despite so many would be paying upgraders crying out for it, then and now!

Despite alot of buzz about tech in agriculture, actually we are really struggling to find any simple app that can allow us to record simple crop observations and photos while in remote areas. That missing capability means that we can’t adopt this as a database for all stock management, complaints, crop knowledge and development, customer and supplier communications etc. This is because all of these things are intertwined with our product (which is a crop in a remote field somewhere) that we have to understand with data.

How would you want to use Airtable offline?
We are trying to record observations of crops in agricultural locations.

Do you use Airtable alone, or with collaborators?
With a small number of collaborators assigned to data relevant within geographical areas - data conflict not likely

How much do you need to be able to do in Airtable while offline?
To read/update records, save data, photographs while operating in the field. Database structure does not need to be changed offline. Data admin can be done in an office with wifi.

For how long do you need to be able to use Airtable offline?
Hours at most, not days.

How tolerant would you be of having to resolve merge conflicts manually?
Generally not tolerant, would prefer a system that was able to manage that itself. Possibly if they were flagged.
As stated above, not likely in our situation.

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


#153

Airtable Offline would also be a big benefit in Legal. We’ve been testing the legal case analysis template but our attorney’s are scared to bring something into the courtroom that requires a connection due to possiblity of loosing connection in a courtroom.