Re: Enter and Edit Data Across Joined Tables?

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Entering and editing data in one logical form that is stored in multiple joined tables seems like such a common use case (e.g., contacts with addresses and phone numbers; invoices with company and line items; etc.).  Yet, this seems difficult (impractical at best) natively in AirTable.  

How are people solving this?  Is the only solution really to pay $$$ for additional tools?  Or write complex scripts?

Any thoughts/advice much appreciated!

13 Replies 13
18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

By the way, another good app for Airtable that provides this functionality is Noloco, but it can be a little confusing to setup. Luckily, they have great tech support to help people out.

Also, I give a step-by-step tutorial of Noloco on this episode of the BuiltOnAir podcast.

p.s. If you have a budget for your project and you’d like to hire an expert Airtable consultant to help you with any of this, please feel free to contact me through my website: Airtable consulting — ScottWorld 

7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I wrote a piece for the former, CIO magazine blog, titled, "Airtable: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - and I mean, really ugly.

Scott, like you, I come from a full-featured, software development, background. I keep finding opportunities (clients) using Airtable. 

My issues listed in the blog centered on:

  • Insecure/lack of monitoring/logging for API access
  • Horrible reporting (I port data to BigQuery for more robust dashboards)
  • Interface design limitations
    -No front-end javascript or built-in, interactivity
    -Filter/limit related table list based on another field
  • No retrieving table through relationships:
    I can't reference data from an adjoining or table one or more joins away, without lookup fields being added to every intermediary table. That's one of the reasons I like pulling client data into BigQuery. Joins and subqueries are a good things.

And then this... I posted a question earlier today and couldn't find it.. I went through my account profile-> subscriptions and it indicates it was marked as spam. It is clearly NOT spam... 

I'll keep plugging along because I just picked up two new clients using Airtable - horrific schema design - so... like I said, opportunity.

You've highlighted some of the top drawbacks to Airtable... and you're just scratching the tip of the iceberg here! And yes, all of these reasons are incredibly frustrating for people like you & me who have come from a REAL database background!

Unfortunately, most of Airtable's customers come from Excel spreadsheets (or worse), so they don't know how a real database program is supposed to function.

However, as you said, there is tremendous opportunity as an Airtable consultant. You'll enjoy this presentation that I gave to 300 of the top FileMaker developers in the country. I explained to them how Airtable can only do 1% of what FileMaker can do, but yet I receive 40x more inquiries for Airtable consulting than I receive for FileMaker development. The link will take you right to the part of the video where I start speaking.

My first take on the article was that the Good of Airtable was that it felt/looked like a spreadsheet.. That was also the first Bad of Airtable. If it looks and feels like a spreadsheet, the every day user will treat it as such. There will be columns stretched to the right to capture data that should be in a related table.

I'm also creating a lot of Power Automate flows. This, in part, because I have a couple clients with Windows based SQL (and Pervasive SQL) databases. There is a lot of VBA automation but it is a horrible tool for API connectivity... hence Power Automate. Similar issue of limitations of reusable code and writing functions.

But.. I'm utilitarian in that regard. The solution is pre-eminent. I'm agnostic about the "best" technology.

Thanks for the link to the video. I'll check it out.