Process for maintaining a standard Base/Interface configuration across dozens of copies.

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

We maintain an Airtable base for each of our clients, as a central knowledgebase for the work we complete with them.

The challenge we have is that we are always finding ways to improve the base/interface design, and there's no easy way of pushing these updates to every existing customer, resulting in inconsistent implementations.

The more obvious answer is for all customers to be on the same base. Still, we use multiple interfaces on top for each customer, which then isn't very scaleable or user-friendly for admins having to navigate to the right interface. The other issue here is that we consider this an asset we can hand back to the client when parting ways, so having to unpick just their data when this happens is another potential hurdle.

We could build our own custom software to replace interfaces, but we love the Interface design and feature set and don't want to have to invest unnecessarily.  

Our current update process involves waiting to make a bunch of updates on one customer's base, and then when there's a sufficient difference, we create a duplicate of that base to become the template and then create copies for every customer and manually copy their table data into the new version.

We also track Airtable record IDs in our ClickUp task management platform meaning we have to go through and update the ids manually as these change when we copy table data over to the new base.

As you can imagine this is an extremely time-consuming and error-prone process. We use 'Make' heavily for automation so I'm wondering if there's an approach we could take to automate this swap-over process for every customer when updating the base/interface configuration.

Has anyone tackled a similar problem before or have any ideas on how to approach this?


1 Reply 1

There is no easy way to reproduce changes from one base into other bases. 

Can you say more about why you wait until there are significant changes and then duplicate the template? Is there a reason why you don’t manually make the updates to all the individual bases?

By duplicating the template and copying over the data, you loose all record history and comments. You loose the original created by and created time info.

If you manually make the changes to the individual bases, you retain record history and comments, and ids stay the same for third party integrations.

When making manual changes, it is also easier if you make smaller changes more frequently, which means that there will be less variation in schemas. Of course, it will be harder to be completely sure that the schema are parallel. That’s a trade off.