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Re: Help with API front end for base

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Howard_Goldstei
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I have a base that is a migration from a MySQL db and a web based (I think JS) app. I did not build the original and the person who did has disappeared. I am not a coder. Successfully migrated the data and created the proper links within the base, but the client really wants something pretty on the front end. The db is a list of photographs with info like size, medium, etc. and pieces sold for how much, how many in the series, etc. They want an interface to interact with the db like they had.

Is this doable and how might I go about it or might there be someone who is interested in doing the work?

Thanks in advance.

Howard Goldstein

17 Replies 17
BillFrench
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Sure, CSV export is one way to go. But there are some devils in the details.

  • Airtable doesn’t have an automated feature to update CSV exports that I know of. The admin would have to re-export even when a simple price change is made in Airtable.
  • The CSV files would have to be imported into something and that would require some code.
  • CSV files do not contain relationship links to other records, so you’d still have to write code to re-establish those in the web app itself.

No easy answers.

Howard_Goldstei
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Thank you nea_lpatil, but I think that would be very complicated for the client. The ultimate idea here is simplicity for the client.

Bill- still thinking about this. Appreciate your continued input.

Howie

nea_lpatil
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

I can build prototype very quickly based upon requirement details with the csv option.

Thanks,
Neal

Neal,

I’m confident that a CSV export/import could be achieved and this strategy is one that has been around and used for many decades so we fully understand it. But that’s a red flag - anything that has been around for decades is probably not going to take advantage of modern web or integration architectures or standards.

I use CSV files all the time and typically because I must, not because I can. Integrating with legacy systems that have no other option fall into this category. Some decades-old platforms can export and FTP CSV data automatically. Airtable can’t, nor should it (my opinion). APIs are far more precise for integration processes. Indeed, they are not as simple to implement, but employing them tend to make the connective tissue in software apps less brittle.

Stepping back, I think it’s also wise to define the requirements in advance of any specific implementation approach. Choosing the protocol for data sharing [now] is akin to selecting a V-8 engine for a new mall shuttle that’s on the design table.

Without knowing how this company plans to render information on the web, or how users will interact with the data, an integration implementation choice is a bit premature, right?

nea_lpatil
7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

API rate limit limits number of options available for solution.

Neal

You’re conflating rate limits with design choices. It is possible to design performant web applications where API access is tightly constrained. It’s called a cache-forward design and it’s used all the time.

Imagine you have a single API account pulling records from Airtable and you need a web app that can support 10,000 simultaneous users all reading and searching the Airtable data.

Given that a direct connection to Airtable is unlikely to support the thousands of requests - many over the 5-per-second threshold - the API is unsuitable for direct use in this case. However, imagine a cache between the API and the front end. Imagine a real-time database (like Firebase) synchronizing Airtable data to all 10,000 users in less than 250 milliseconds. Airtable’s API need only update changes to a single endpoint and Firebase handles the distribution and access to all 10,000 users in near-real-time.

In this architecture, changes to the data by any single client are also synchronized back into Firebase in less than 250ms. Firebase’s real-time cloud functions handle the updates into Airtable at a pace orchestrated in a manner compliant with the API limits.

But, as I said earlier, it’s premature to conclude how wide (or narrow) the implementation approaches are until you know the true requirements.

@Howard_Goldstein,

You may want to sign up for this beta. It appears to meet some of your needs - perhaps many of them.

Howard_Goldstei
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Bill-

Signed up. It looks like it might do the trick. Thanks! Will let you know how things work out.

Howie