The scripting block is cool. But a lot of us use AirTable because we don’t know how to code. I’d love for someone to create an AirTable block (or feature) which would let me script automations through a Zapier-style interface. (no coding knowledge required). In my dream world, this would not only script automations within an AirTable base, but also between AirTable bases, and ALSO between AirTable and other software with API hooks.
Also: it makes me grumpy to have to pay extra for Zapier. This should be a feature within the AirTable pro plan.
Typo, you have accurately described your suggestion as a dream. Essentially you want Airtable to acquire Zapier and drop all costs associated with Zapier’s infrastructure. Indeed, you are describing a dreamscape for sure.
Let’s start with the reason Zapier and Integromat are darn near the only code-free options in town; they spent a decade perfecting no-code integrations because this is the domain of the API economy. Suggesting that this is Airtable’s duty to provide pervasive integration options is flawed because there are thousands of other products swirling around the data management universe and hundreds of thousands of ways to connect them. No single company can provide every form of integration adhesive for every possible platform, every data schema, or every data nuance.
There are many things about glu-factories such as Zapier that should make us grumpy. Security, sustainability, documenting and backing up the recipes, etc. However, the cost should not be one of them because this is simply the true cost of owning and operating a solution that interchanges data. Every person who creates a solution that has data interchange dependencies must factor in the total operational and maintenance cost. Sometimes this may require a reconsideration of (a) the underlying platform you choose, and (b) a deeper consideration of whether to make or rent your integration adhesives.
A Zapier recipe might cost $30/month to sustain, whereas, a custom script integration might cost $600 to set up and trigger. Both come with ongoing costs (servers, code, library updates, deprecation notices, security patches, etc.)
Airtable is relatively cheap. Zapier is also relatively cheap. Would you be comfortable if Airtable added this capability to the Pro Plan and then increased your rate to about 3X what it is now?
I totally agree with you that low-code/no-code automations should be built directly into Airtable (outside of the scripting block).
However, in the meantime, I would check out Integromat, which is significantly cheaper than Zapier, and can actually be used FOR FREE(!) for a vast majority of people.
Integromat is also more robust, fully-featured, easier-to-use, and more advanced than Zapier. It honestly puts Zapier to shame.
However, there are 2 (minor) downsides to Integromat:
Because Integromat is a newer platform than Zapier, it only supports approximately 300-ish apps at this time (instead of Zapier’s 2,000-ish apps). But it’s got much better functionality for all of those apps, and it even has some built-in Integromat modules that enable you to do really advanced things that you can only dream of in Zapier.
Integromat breaks if you rename fields in Airtable that your scenario depends on. You have to go back and update Integromat with your new field names. They are apparently working on fixing this in the future at some point.
Outside of that, Integromat for the win! Until Airtable builds in its own native automations!!
I’ll save you the time of responding; this is a trigger that causes me to mute this thread. I invest my time here helping people achieve results with Airtable, not debate which tool is better in a budget and requirements vacuum.
@typo There’s no need to mock other users. When this thread started, noone in the Airtable user base knew that automations would be added in about a month. All that @Bill.French could do was offer his opinion on the subject. Mocking him for that is pointless. Now that automations are available, Airtable is a better product. Let’s enjoy the benefits of this new feature and leave the gloating out, please.