Creating tables through the API / webhooks / scripts

Topic Labels: Automations
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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

So I just purchased Airtable for our business use case.

I am devastated to understand there is no support for creating new tables automatically.

The only way to do this is to have a custom app script, however this would need to be triggered manually and will not run in the background…

Why does the automation scripting not contain the required functionality that the blocks SDK does? Why is this feature limited to only reading table metadata, if blocks SDK can do it - why can’t the automation scripts?

This is so disappointing… I CANNOT BELIEVE the standard API does not have a create table endpoint, where you can define the fields automatically. How are we supposed to develop an automated solution if we constantly have to manually press buttons to create new tables…

And upon searching the community pages - there is not one response from the airtables team that shows they will work on this feature or when.

What a waste of money upgrading to the pro plan to see inside the automation scripts is nothing useful.

The reason why I am angry is because of the lack of transparency in the docs.

5 Replies 5

Hey @Thomaso.

The documentation does seem to pretty clearly designate the method as being something that can only be leveraged in apps.

While there are some things that are inconvenient about development within the Airtable platform, I don’t think that it’s fair to try and drag it through the mud for that exclusively.

I’m curious what your use case is for wanting to utilize an automation to create entire tables.

The thing is, you are right, I did drag it through the mud, but only because I am so impressed by everything about Airtables. It’s a fantastic platform, it has everything we need to build a comprehensive solution and the UI is outstanding - better than any other platform I’ve tried for speed and efficiency.

Because it was so good, I just simply assumed that it would be possible with the ability to to it in a blocks script - it just seems odd that you cant do it from an automation. And then when you search the documentation for answers, there is not an official response from the development team of when they will update it, and its a big request from alot of different people not just me. When you email sales and mention “creating tables with the API” its like you get spam filtered and ignored. That’s why I’m annoyed, the lack of response to this issue - not the overall platform.

Use case: automatically processing hundreds of clients data, with new clients data being added every day automatically. I can make it work in google sheets, but I want it to work in Airtable. I also need a spreadhsheet, database hybrid that can handle 50,000 rows.

Re. Sales

Yeah, you’re almost guaranteed not to get a response from reaching out to sales for this.
Self-serve accounts aren’t something they’re concerned with; the sales team is meant to accommodate the onboarding of enterprise accounts.

Re. Product Development

I’m skeptical that there is ever any intention of allowing self-serve accounts the ability to automate the creation of new tables.
I’d be pretty surprised if they did.

If Airtable offered the ability to automate programmatically creating tables, I wouldn’t dare touch it out of fear that an automation might fire unpredictably in testing or get caught in a loop after business hours.
It’s an immense amount of risk.
I don’t think a single developer on my team would even entertain the idea of automating table creation.

Re. Use Case

I’m curious as to how you’re thinking about base design if you’re quickly rolling through like fifty thousand records per base at a rate where you need to automate the creation of tables, especially if you don’t want to click the three buttons required to duplicate a table without all of its data.

If your base/workspace architecture is planned and has scale in mind with its design, you should very easily be able to accommodate client data.

Having client records in excess of fifty thousand is insane for a use-case that isn’t looking for an enterprise account or other solution. Suppose you’re dealing with that amount of sheer data and are using Airtable as a marketing and research tool or a CRM platform. In that case, you should be planning to enter an enterprise agreement with Airtable or look to another relational database like Salesforce.

For creating tables, all we need to do is use the API to create single tables at a time with specified templates fields from our own web app. I suppose you could have multiple templates for each, however its not optimal.

The use case is essentially for storing data only, with the for clients to make minor changes to the data before exporting it. It wouldn’t be needing to traverse through 50,000 rows every day for multiple clients, simply storing a maximum of 50,000 rows over the course of a year.

The thing is, we are considering an enterprise solution for this - and this was mentioned to the sales team, thanks for the salesforce hint - will dive deeper into it.

For your use case, have you considered keeping your data in a cloud-based solution?
If I were in your position, with your requirements, I would just host that data in an S3 bucket.

Presumably, your company is already hosting your web application in the cloud. If this type of data storage is the crux of your business, I would recommend looking at S3, GCS, or Blob.

Since it’s only really around 50,000 records, then your cost management won’t be unpredictable and you will have an immense amount of flexibility in development tools native to the platform.