One thing I find is an issue with Zapier is how it fails to refresh the test data while I am creating the zap workflow.
If I am going through the process of setting up the zap and the Airtable table doesn’t have any appropriate data in it (…it usually happens if I miss to add some data in the table or it’s not in a view it should be…) then Zapier will not show the Airtable fields as existing (in the action step).
I would rather prefer if it would show the fields whether it has some test data or not. That wouldn’t be such an issue, I can go and fill in some data.
BUT the issue is even after adding that information into Airtable (and refreshing zap or even reloading it), the newly added fields are still not showing up in the zap action step and it can take sometime or maybe an hour or so for them to show up.
It’s strange, it looks like zap is cashing the airtable configuration or something and it doesn’t replace with fresh Artable data immediately.
And that happens even if I select the new set of data in the trigger step.
The way I found resolved the issue is to completely delete the test record with the data in the Airtable table and add a completely new record in the table. Then Zapier detected the changes in fields and started to show the updated list of fields.
As I said, I would rather have Zapier show me in the Action step the complete and full list of fields I have configured in Airtable (at best perhaps show only the fields that are un-hidden, because if a field is hidden, I don’t need necessary to see it in the configuration step in Zapier).
Integromat in the recent update v 3 of their app for Airtable has limited the number of fields showing only to the ones that are not hidden. This change made loading of the final Airtable step (e.g. Update a record in Integromat) much faster than before when it was showing list of all fields in existence in the Airtable table.
I would suggest Zapier makes similar change - show all (and only un-hidden) fields in the list in the action step and show the fields regardless whether that particular field has data in the record or doesn’t. Because if I am configuring a flow in Zapier and it’s just a copy of another workflow and I know it’s working, I don’t need to go through the steps of testing it with the data, because I know it’s working, so it should be just sufficient to run the test with the field whether there is any data in it or not.
There are other issues with Zapier unrelated to Airtable e.g. with Google Drive Zapier doesn’t refresh the list of folders or it doesn’t add extension to files being uploaded etc.I didn’t see any issue with Integromat so I assume it’s only Zapier specific. Most my workflows are in Integromat except for a few in Zapier and Automate.io.
This post is sort of my 5 cents on one of many reasons why I don’t use Zapier with Airtable … (even after discounting the differences between the design and sophistication between the two solutions)… because the survey that Airtable recently sent didn’t provide a space to express any suggestions or ideas, and instrad it was perhaps to use the responses to it as customer success stories for their marketing department or something like that.
This is good to know, but your comments would likely be useful to the Zapier community and even their product managers.
It’s no secret that I am deeply biased against [production] automation based on no/lo-code integration adhesives from glue-factories and especially where such automated processes are mission-critical and/or core functionality where intellectual property ownership is mandatory.
These platforms are ideal as an engine of innovation and they work wonderfully in situations where they can be designed to self-heal in the event of failed updates. But businesses and solution-builders should be very skeptical about long-term dependencies and the maintenance issues that will ensue when the inevitable occurs - deprecations, changes, and price increases.