I want to build a Report tool...

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi everyone!

I am currently checking out Airtable to see if it can replace a number of tools currently used for a construction Company. 
Right now I am trying to build a Report tool, using the Interface designer. 

There are the following tables involved: 

- User: The worker of the Report
- Project: The Project of the Report
- Report: The Report itself -> New one is generated
- Performed tasks: Things that have been done, always linked to Person/Project/date & include length in Hous + notes etc -> multiple new ones are generated
- Activity of the performed task: One Activity from a database of all the tasks that can be done. Linked into "Performed task"

Now the Activity of the Performed task is nested in the Performed task. I set it up like this so that you have your database with Activities and then in the report, a performed task contains the activity + how log, who, where etc. 
This way you can get a good overview over who did what when, how long etc. 

To give an example: The Activity of the performed task might be "unload transporter". 
The performed task would have this info: Activity=unload transporter, Report=R-0121, hours=3, notes=heavy rain, took longer than expected. 

I already set up the database and linked everything, no problems here. 
But I am struggling to get the Interface right. What I want to do is this: 

1. Enter data for new report: Select date, user, project (works) 
2. Add Performed tasks to the report: Basically I want to nest the Form to create a new performed task where I can then choose the activity of the performed task + type in how long it has been performed, notes etc. 

The Report should automatically be the same as the report i just created. 
And I need to be able to add multiple performed tasks to the report. 

So basically I need a Form that has nested forms for the linked entries (performed tasks) of my main entry (report). Hope this is somewhat understandable. 

Now I just trying to figure this out myself but I though I'd ask you guys too... Is this even possible or should I just hire a Programmer to build a custom interface and get the data into Airtable via API? 
Or is there maybe a different option altogether that I am not seeing? 

Any helps, tips, ideas would be greatly appreciated. If things are unclear, let me know. 


edit: I guess one problem is that I want to link the performed tasks to the report i am currently creating. So basically i'd have to create the report itself before i could even link the tasks to it but that would make for a very poor user experience 😕


2 Replies 2
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I think Airtable forms, including the recent update, is not suited to your use case. I’ve been using Jotform to capture nested tables of data. I’ve spoken to other solution providers at various prices and only Jotform provides this functionality.

But Jotform as a company is technically incompetent. Their forums have posts pointing out that their webhooks don’t work and noting that they are very aggressive at deleting data if they even suspect someone is sharing an account log-in.

We’re looking at building our own iPhone app to capture the form data we care about with sufficient structure that can then talk to Airtable to update multiple rows of data in multiple tabs. This allows a lot more customization also.

Also we’re not happy with current reporting tools from Airtable or third parties. Our Elixir backend grabs data from Airtable and then uses the Typst Rust library to create beautiful multi-page PDFs from its markdown grammar. We have a button in the relevant row in Airtable that triggers the creation and browser download of that PDF.

We’re still committed to Airtable and recently moved to a Business Plan, but you can’t force it to step beyond its limits.


6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Thanks for your reply! I checked out jotform but from what you've said it doesn't sound like they're a good partner. 

I'm also leaning towards having a custom frontend build that captures the data and uses Airtable as a Backend. 

Your solution for creating PDFs sound neat too, will need something like that in the future too. I tried some exports with airtable but weird things are happening.