July product updates

Hello Airtable Community!

We wanted to gather all of July’s product updates in one place, to make sure we keep you in the loop.

Here is a list of changes, big and small, that we introduced in July!

General Product Updates:

Automations:

  • You can now preview emails sent out by email automation actions, before testing them.
  • The “At scheduled time” automations trigger has grown more robust, and now supports:
    • Daily intervals
    • Monthly intervals
    • A “One time interval” for that special case where you’d like to build an automation that only needs to fire only once on a specific day/time.
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I’m liking these ones!

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@Rose_K I’m not opposed to these nice little tweaks & refinements to the platform (even though nobody was asking for these). However, 2 things:

#1. The new view menu comes with a variety of problems, as I discuss in this video I created a few weeks ago (and sent to support a few weeks ago):

#2. Is there any movement on tweaking & refining the parts of the product that ACTUALLY need tweaking that are causing people to leave the platform, and that people have ACTUALLY been clamoring for for years in the forums?

For example, you guys have lost 2 of my clients in July due to these issues, which has also lost me income as an Airtable consultant:

  • No ability to resize the height of column headers.
  • No ability for linked record fields to display the linked records in reverse chronological order.
  • Mobile shared/embedded views don’t allow for sorting, searching, grouping, or filtering.

There are many more issues than this, but these are the ones that caused my clients to leave the platform in July.

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I deal with this issue by using a scripting automation that sorts the linked record field by the desired child field.

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Can you share the script that you use to do this? This would be immensely useful to my client.

Scripting solves everything of course, but for these kind of features, isn’t that beyond the point of Airtable? Trying to be accessible and all… :man_shrugging:

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This is an excellent point, and I fully agree. Airtable THINKS that the answer to everything is “Use JavaScript!” But in reality, the answer for 99% of people is “Switch to a different platform.” People don’t want to learn a programming language to use a “low code” / “no code” product. That misses the whole point of Airtable.

It’s disappointing that Airtable doesn’t actually respond to what customers need & want, but that their engineers are independently handpicking their own pet projects to work on. As far as I can tell, not a single person in these forums — nor any of my customers — have ever requested any of these July changes in the last 6 years.

This is the problem with Airtable: their continued deafness, and unwillingness to listen.

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Also: don’t want to pay a consultant to write it for them :wink: I don’t know how to script, but every time I tell a potential client that “I will ask my IT partner to write a script for this or that”, they are thrown back to the reason they want to try Airtable in the first place: to not need an IT specialist every time they want something “simple” done in/on their platform… For them, it’s already difficult and challenging enough to change from Excels or another platform to a new Airtable one.

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I totally agree with this 1,000%!!

It would be amazing if @Rose_K or @Adam_Minich or @Taylor_Savage could actually become advocates for the customers who use Airtable, but sadly this has never happened.

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@Rose_K Here’s my idea for Airtable:

How about make August 2021 or September 2021 “customer appreciation month” where the Airtable engineers focus on hammering out some of the long-standing & very simple requests that the majority of people in these forums have been requesting for years?

@Taylor_Savage @Adam_Minich

This is not a free script, and I am still working out a model for making scripts like this available for purchase. Part of the problem is that there is nothing to prevent someone from sharing and copying the script with everyone, unless I put in code to verify a license every single time the automation runs, and I don’t want to add that overhead yet.

You’re exaggerating again. People have wanted better ways to manage frequently used views, and people have been confused by new records jumping around in sorted/filtered views. People may not have explicitly asked for previewing emails sent by automations, but it is a very welcome features and very helpful.

Plus, I suspect that Airtable priorities its feature development more on feedback from other sources than this community, such as usability testing and customer support interactions.

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The only conceivable explanation I can think of besides laziness is that Airtable thinks such customizability of the headers will lead to “bloated” bases due to user negligence. This is the cited reason why we cannot have dynamic row height (which still does not explain why we don’t have dynamic row height <= 6 lines). The consequence is that our bases are either bloated horizontally or incredibly cryptic due to use of abbreviations and emojis. This and the lack of formula Linked Records (or at least automatic linked records, so we don’t have to use the API or automations to set up a universal linker for every record) are two fundamental flaws of Airtable that lose it customers every day. I just don’t understand what they’re thinking.

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Once again, whenever you write a post like this, you are completely excusing their bad behaviors and are giving them a “free pass” of ignoring the community & ignoring the reasons why very real money-paying customers are trickling away from Airtable. As I said above, the new features are fine. That isn’t the problem here.

This is the question I ask everyday when I bang my head against the wall as an Airtable consultant! Lol. :joy::rofl::sweat_smile:

Read: bigger businesses on an Enterprise plan :man_shrugging:

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By the way, BOTH of these scenarios can be true at the same time. These 2 scenarios are not mutually exclusive:

  1. I am very grateful for the nice improvements in the July update. :smiley::pray:

  2. I am very frustrated with the lack of communication regarding much-needed feature requests that have been ongoing in these forums & support emails for years. (Proof of this: when is the last time an Airtable employee has ever responded in the #show-and-tell:product-suggestions category?)

Even a simple reply like: “We are never planning on increasing the 50,000 record limit” could go a long way towards easing frustrations over certain pain points.

Sad but true. Luckily, I have a few clients who are paying for enterprise, so I’ve had them submit feature requests that my smaller customers need (or needed, before they left Airtable). Not sure if it will make a difference or not, but we’ll see.

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Very controversial updates Rose! Too early in the week to be stoking the passions of our regulars!

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Lucky you. Since it’s the price x2, my SME clients aren’t persuaded yet :slight_smile:

:sweat_smile:

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Hahaha!! :rofl: I actually really liked July’s updates. Nice refinements.