In FileMaker, the formula field is actually called a “calculation field”, and they refer to its logic as the “calculation engine”.
At the beginning — for the first 19 years of FileMaker Pro, this “calculation engine” (“formula engine” in Airtable’s terms) was restricted to ONLY the “calculation field” (“formula field”).
So, for 19 years, we only had one field type (“formula field”) that could perform formulas with the “formula engine”.
But then, they start rolling out the “formula engine” out to many other parts of the product — and it even evolved alongside a “scripting engine” (FileMaker’s version of a scripting language). So now, the “formula engine” and the “scripting engine” power all sorts of amazing things in FileMaker. You can do nearly anything in the product with both the “formula engine” and the “scripting engine”.
But keep in mind that FileMaker is a product with a 35-year history — it came out in 1985. So it took a while to get there.
So I think that in due time, we will see Airtable’s “formula engine” get rolled out to other parts of the product. We’re already seeing this now!
How exciting that we now have a brand new part of the system — the button field — that taps into this “formula engine”!
So, in my opinion, rolling out the formula field to other parts of the system is just the beginning of great new things that are in store for Airtable!
But these things happen slowly over time.