AMA Custom Blocks Contest Edition #1 - Getting Started with the Airtable Product Team (Live on Wednesday 6/10)

Topic Labels: Custom Extensions
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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Do you have an idea for the Custom Blocks contest but don’t know where to start or which examples are most relevant to your idea? We’re hosting a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in this thread on Wednesday (6/10) at 11am PT.

Michelle Valentine and Kasra Kyanzadeh from our product team will be available to answer any questions about getting started and turning your ideas into reality.

The top 3 upvoted questions will win a $40 Amazon gift card. You can even start posting your questions now, and we’ll be answering questions live from 11am - 11:30am PT on Wednesday. See you there!

34 Replies 34
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Hello Airtable team!

As more of a back-end developer, my lack of experience with React has proven my biggest hurdle to overcome, despite Airtable’s excellent documentation and React’s Getting Started guide. I’ve had some success with writing individual components and perfoming single “demo” tasks/actions, but I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with trying to combine several of the pieces together.

Besides the examples you provide (Name Quiz and Flashcard have been helpful to dig through), do you have any recommendations on how best to structure a project? Is it better to start with a bunch of individual blocks, each performing a single task? Or do you find it is easier to get a project skeleton in place that can be expanded upon?

I know with the Scripting Blocks, I’ve taken a more “bunch of individual blocks” approach, but I’d be curious to hear any recommendations/tips you have for working with Custom Blocks.

Thanks in advance. Looking forward to reading the full AMA on Wednesday!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Can you explain if OAuth is available for custom blocks?

I’m aware that OAuth is not possible within iframes as a security measure. But I noticed there are other blocks such as the Miro block which looks like it is achieving OAuth within an iframe.

If its not officially supported is there a safe work around? I was thinking maybe a localhost server could perform the OAuth and then I think there is the ability to whitelist addresses so maybe the Airtable project could be whitelisted?

Thanks for the AMA!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Ah ya, I’m happy for this opportunity.

I am an Android and IoT developer. Mostly I use Java with Android Studio as IDE. Usually my workflow is to get an example online and do a development loop (modifying to meet my needs, compiling the codes, and fixing bugs).

So far, I haven’t found instructions, examples or free one-stop services for creating or generating native Android code using Airtable or third parties that support it. Maybe there is any and I haven’t searched far enough.

Are there any recommended sites where I can start studying?

Sorry if I ask too much but one should try it, right? :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you in advance. Hoping to observe the full AMA session tomorrow!

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi Airtables team,

I’m new in developing with React and although the awesome examples are helpful, they are not quite the same caliber as the available blocks in an Airtables base. Can you please add more of those blocks to the examples page? (Such as the 3D space block and batch update block :grinning_face_with_big_eyes: ) It would help tremendously in developing innovative and creative blocks because it helps us see how we can create complex blocks.

Thank you so much for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing what amazing blocks others have created!

If I create a custom block that gets installed into multiple bases across multiple Airtable accounts, and I update the source-code for that block and push the updates to the GitHub repo, will all installed instances of the block automatically pick up the source-code updates (perhaps on the next page refresh or something)?

Asked another way…
Do installed custom blocks automatically pull the latest code from the master branch of their source repo when they load?

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Thanks @Michelle_Valentine,

I’d want to add that the community forum has been quite helpful in the journey on bringing my block idea to life. A lot of questions I had have been already answered by many people building/working on blocks. Most of it all felt just a community search away. :raised_hands:t6:

I have a question and a comment :100: :

  1. I’m using a 3rd party API Key in my block that is intended to remain same for all users using the block. What is the best place to store the API Key? What are the guidelines for storing a common API key in general.

  2. Thank you for having some examples out there. They’ve helped in general especially covering some caveats/exceptions of how rendering happens while using the Cursor component. Once the block is in a more matured state (which I would be in say a week or so), I would love to have a quick review or a show and tell with the team to understand areas the block can improve on.

@Jeremy_Oglesby Short answer : you’ll have to add multiple remotes and then carry out a block release. Here’s a documentation I’ve found:

Also, I am not an Airtable spokesperson, so do wait for a confirmation from the team.

Thank you, @Harshit_Juneja. So it looks like then, if somebody releases my block to their base by using my block as a template and copying it into their own repo, the connection is entirely severed.

I can’t help but wonder how Airtable is going to manage visibility of existing custom blocks for users, and if they will in any way facilitate the communication/relationship between a block creator and public users of their custom blocks.

The way it’s set up now, with multiple remotes hosting the same source code, seems fine for use of a custom block within a single organization. But I can’t quite see how it extends gracefully to sharing of blocks outside an organization.

Perhaps it’s just my inexperience preventing me from understanding the model here.

I may be missing both: a) you’re current/intended workflow; and b) features/limitations of how custom blocks work, but from my understanding, there isn’t really a “connection” with code in GitHub to begin with. Unless there is a CI/CD pipeline in play that executes block release on a code push, you/the user would need to pull changes locally and do block run or block release.

The way I see it, both of these scenarios are the same/similar. As long as the user outside the “organization” has access to the GitHub repo, they can git pull the latest changes and do the block run/block release dance on their local machines the same way you would within the organization.

The thinking would be like this (very rough) sketch

Scanned Documents

where both you and the outside organization can deploy the latest code, given both have access to the GitHub repo. And, if you had access to the block IDs, you could add them to the list of remotes and deploy from your end as well!