Creating vs Implementing Script Blocks

This is not a show; rather mostly a tell.

It’s my experience (which is extremely limited given that the Script Block feature is still a newborn) that for every hour spent developing a block, plan on an equal or greater time implementing the completed block into your solution.

There are many reasons this is the case including but not limited to these points:

  • Hard-coded table and/or field references
  • Success-biased data that create testing blind-spots
  • Lack of anticipation concerning the block used in “the wild”
  • Inadequate testing cycles at scale

I’m often asked -

Hey Bill, can you whip me up a script to do that? My problem is so simple, I’ll bet it will take you a few minutes to bang this out!

Um, sure? I guess? On second thought … many of us who may be easily coaxed into the feeling that script blocks are simple little nuggets of goodness may want to rethink committing to [seemingly] effortless and enjoyable ways to kill a few hours.

Writing code is never as simple as it seems and software-driven solutions are typically more complex than first imagined. And even with this realization, I’ve decided to offer Just-in-Time Script Blocks for Airtable.

I must be insane.

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Hi @Bill.French

Great post!

Can this scripting service be used with the free version of Airtable? If so, will the fee be the same?

Thank you,
Mary

Since the scripts require the scripting block to work, I don’t think that the scripts will run in the free version once the trial runs out. When I move a base with a script to a free workspace, I cannot run the script. If I move the script back to a Pro workspace, then I can run the script again.

@kuovonne is correct. To run a script you need the block, ergo, you need to be on the paid platform.

Opinion from here down…

I have a hunch that Airtable will eventually consider certain blocks for use in the free version. In my view, if you want to demonstrate the true power of Airtable, you must allow free users access to the Script Block (and a few others). This level of openness will only serve to encourage certain users to upgrade to store more data - it will not cause the vast majority of paid users to downgrade.

The economic incentives are simple - if you can find a platform that supports deep scripting automation across a vast collection of records, you will compel lookers to become buyers. If they are denied the opportunity to see and use integrated script blocks they will not know these tools can be brought to bear to remedy their problems.

In my view, only two dimensions matter between free and paid -

  1. Storage limit.
  2. Sharing/Security.

All other dimensions are secondary and unlikely to sway buyer behaviour.

Thank you @Bill.French and @kuovonne.

I always thought that some of the blocks should be made available to those with the free plan.

It will be a good thing if Airtable does this.

Thank you,
Mary K

Hi @M_k, just wanted to give you a heads up that we’ve made the scripting block free for all customers - regardless of plan level - until September 2020. You can install it by clicking the blocks icon in the top-right hand side of your base, and then selecting the scripting block.

Best of luck trying it out!

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Hi @Jason

Thank you for letting me know. I will check it out.

Mary Kay

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