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Re: Are custom frontends for Airtable feasible?

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4N
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi everyone!

I was wondering how easy/complicated it is to have a programmer build a custom frontend for an Airtable Database. 

I am still looking to build a Report tool, where workers can create a Report for the day and choose from a number of project specific Tasks and document how long they worked on each task for that day. 
Each project specific task also has an underlaying task template and is part of a project specific task List at the same time. Basically its a bunch of tables linked with each other and then in the End I can see how long each task has been worked on etc. 

I already build the structure in Airtable and you can add contents but its obviously not userfriendly at all with the standard airtable interface. 

Now if I hire someone to build a custom frontend build for this, is that something thats doable relatively easy or is it just going to be a giant pain in the ass for whoever builds it? 
There is some extra stuff too. For example each report has a start and end time and thus a number of hours worked. Now the hours specified in the tasks worked cannot be greater than the number of hours worked from the report. So there is some very basic logic required here. 
And there are options to upload receipts within all this and some other stuff like uploading photos, writing notes etc. 

Can anyone roughly tell me if this is even worth pursuing in Airtable or are there obstacles that I am not aware of that make all this impossible? 

I basically really like the idea of using airtable for this, because building the Data structure for this worked like a charm. I just need a way for end users to also get the data in there. 

Thanks 🙂 

Edit: I attached a rough visualisation of the Tables and their relations

15 Replies 15
4N
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Interesting. I played around with noloco for a bit and it looks like it can actually solve my Problem too. 
Since I can just have user Accounts (Wanted that anyways), the User can just login, open their reports and then add their work hours. Since the data is edited live, I dont need to worry about any multistep forms anymore, which is actually really nice! 

The only thing that currently concerns me is that the live app feels very slow. Especially updating a formula that is being calculated from data I just added takes minutes. 
I suppose its because the data is not synced with Airtable at a very fast rate, but this feels almost unusable (which would be a shame). 

Is this generally a known problem? 
Looks like they offer their own database aswell, now I'm wondering if I can just use their database and abandom airtable altogether. My guess is it would be quicker but offer less options. Will do some more research. Anyone have experience with their database tho? 

 

I think once you start discussing the other databases you might want to move to another forum such as

https://air.tableforums.com or their slack channel. 

 

4N
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Yea it looks like it wont be an option anyways because it does not offer lookup fields in Databases. 

Shame the synchronisation is so slow with Airtable. But I guess thats gonna be the case with all other Interfaces too, no? 



 

 

Alex_N
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Not necessarily. You can get fresh data anytime you want by making a new API call. I have no experience with Noloco but it seems their API calls are automatically set to certain time intervals? I've only worked with the Airtable API calls from within Bubble io and how often you get fresh data is entirely controlled by you in that platform. It is possible that Noloco lets you change how often your data gets refreshed somehow. I know that Airtable limits your API calls to 5 per second per base so this might be a reason why Noloco is limiting you this way.

4N
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

From what it looks like it seems to be random, yes. Sometimes its very quick but most of the time it takes quite a while. 
Guess I'd have to ask them if its possible to make an API call after one specific action... but I doubt it's realistic. 

I just tried and managed to get (almost) the same functionality out of the native Airtable interface but now lacking the Login/user specific display of content again. **bleep** it.

Guess I'm reaching the point where I do need to consult an expert. Feels like all functionalities I want are available but just spread out over different plattforms. hmmm....

edit: hah the censoring of the word I used makes it look worse than the word i actually used. 

I believe the different options have to weigh in the changes to the Airtable api call pricing that went into effect last summer.  Increasing the speed by decreasing the time between fetches may push airtable users over the limits on the team plan (did with Stacker, they wanted me to move to their database, but they don't support Make and probably others, but that's a deal breaker).  I believe Noloco has a faster synch available, but you need to ask in, and I'm not at that point yet.