Linked Record Field Names


#1

I’m having a bit of trouble managing complex bases that heavily rely on linked records across tables. I’m finding that, as I develop a project or a record keeping methodology I tend to change field names to help myself and my teams keep information conceptually well defined. This becomes problematic when a renamed field is a linked-record field type. Because the newly edited field names from one table do not update the linked-record field name in the related record/table, that other table can quickly become very confusing and difficult to relate to.
Of course this can be corrected by carefully managing names across tables manually - when one field name is changed, the editor carefully changes all linked-record references to it across the base - but it is starting to become a whack-a-mole problem for me.

  • Can anyone relate to this problem and/or provide insights on how to get past it?

  • Would it be a reasonable feature request that the names of linked-record fields are inextricably linked across a table either by default or by selection?


#2

I’ve had the same problem. Particularly on the learning curve of Airtable or even a new application. [If I’d known then what I know now.]


#3

Can you clarify what you mean by this?


#4

Do you mean when you change a table (not a field) name, you’d like all linked record fields that point to it to update?


#5

Thanks Howie! My preference would be that the verbiage in the 'name field’
of the parent table be inherited by linked fields in other tables, rather than the name of the parent table itself.


#6

Could you give a specific example to illustrate here? Thanks!


#7

Sure thing, I’ll keep it simple:

  • Suppose I’m building a base to help my team keep track of a kids camp and specifically allergic reactions to food.
  • I set up tables for Students, Parents, Foods, Allergies - with a linked field in the allergies table to the foods table - looks good
    but then…
  • as camp registration goes along it becomes apparent that other types of allergies are going to be a problem - I’ve got kids with dirt allergies, salt-water allergies, horse allergies etc.
  • A realistic modification to the base would be to change the name of the ‘Food’ table to ‘Allergen’
  • It would be great at this point if the linked field in allergies also updated from ‘Food’ to ‘Allergen’

Howie, to your point, the linked field currently inherits the table name, not the ‘name field’ name. I find that I often enough name the ‘name field’ in a table the same as the table itself but will, sometimes, use the ‘name field’ name as a nuance.
ie Table Name = products ; ‘Name Field’ Name = Product ID #
Thus, my preference for inheriting the ‘name field’ name rather than the table name - though I could certainly be happy with the later too.