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Re: Airtable dropping support for public attachments :bomb:

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Ambroise_Dhenai
8 - Airtable Astronomer
8 - Airtable Astronomer

:bomb: Airtable is dropping public url support for attachment in an upcoming update that will take place in Nov 2022.

This basically mean all urls to all attachments uploaded prior to that date will cease to work, and all attachments public leads uploaded from there will only work for a “few hours” (would be great to know exactly how long, by the way).

Supposedly being a security update, it’s more of a shitty update, speaking frankly. There are many other ways to achieve a similar result (where security is enforced) while doing it in a smart way that doesn’t hit all customers where it hurts.

This will break like all our current workflows using attachments, and makes the nice UI to upload file completely obsolete to us and all our users.

For instance, allowing to specify in the Attachment field whether to use a temporary link (and how long) would be so much simpler and effective.

So, my take is that Airtable does this on purpose, because this way it forces all end-users to use Airtable the way they intended to, through the UI, with a dedicated account. :money_mouth_face:

But even those users will get hurt with this update.

Official email

On November 8, 2022, Airtable will improve the security of our attachment URLs by incorporating an expiring links functionality. Once this change takes place:

  • Any attachment URLs obtained via the public API and the CSV export functionality will expire after a few hours.
  • URLs obtained from copying an attachment cell value will open the file to the attachment viewer within the product, instead of directly opening the file.
  • The links obtained by referring to an attachment field in Formulas will not change (for backward compatibility considerations), and will therefore become invalid; the filename obtained in the same way will continue to work as expected.

Who is impacted?

Users who are storing attachment URLs anywhere directly outside of the Airtable product for persisting an attachment.

What is the reason for this change?

This change will make attachment URLs more secure to use in the Airtable product.

What do I need to do?

If you have workflows with attachment URLs that will be impacted, you can begin migrating them over to comply with the new functionality now by following the steps in this help article.

Additionally, on November 8, 2022 when secure attachment URLs launches, you’ll also have the opportunity to opt out of the migration for a 3 month period of time until we fully switch over on February 7, 2023.

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58 Replies 58
Portfolio_Pet
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I cannot imagine Airtable announcing worse news. All of our content workflows will break. There is absolutely no way Airtable talked to their users about how this will impact them.

I’ve been searching all morning for an alternative and the best I’ve found is exporting our Airtable database to Xano (a no-code database) and rebuilding our automations there. I’m guessing that will set me back at least two weeks or more to complete.

I really hope there is enough user outrage that Airtable scaps this plan. And I totally agree that “security” is the thin veil reason. Incredibly angry right now.

Baden_Appleyar1
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Next to revealing the ability to edit records without logging in, and then pulling it a few hours later, this is Airtable’s dumbest move ever! We noticed the security issues of open URLs and exported CSVs just after we started using Airtable 3 years ago. But, as you say, there are other ways to deal with this particular security issue. Its going to break so much of our stuff.

WNC_ITCommittee
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

We are a small club and we are not high-end users but we have tons of documents loaded in as attachments. I don’t understand the distinction between URLS that will continue to work just fine and others that will expire. I also do not know how to identify the ones that will break. This is a really confusing change and I hope that AirTable will change their mind on this.

If you used to copy the direct link of an attachment to share it with other people or services, this will not work anymore. The only thing that will keep working as usual are attachments you see within Airtable.

But the direct links to those attachments will expire and cease to work after a while.
I hope it’s a bit clearer.

WNC_ITCommittee
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Ambroise: thank you for the clarification. I am concerned about a sentence in the change description at https://support.airtable.com/hc/en-us/articles/4852449595671. The sentence is “If you are sharing a file with a colleague who is not collaborating with you in Airtable , then you will need to consider alternative ways of sharing the file attachment in question.” Several AirTable views are shared with some of our club members who are not collaborators. Some of these views include attachments (PDF files, Word files or pictures). Will our club members be able to view these attachments?

You should be fine. They are looking at a shared view that is provided by Airtable.

The text in the support article will probably be revised over time to make things more clear.

Only users who are logged in i.e. having a paid license will be able to access the static URLs. Say goodbye to Zapier automations that use the static links.

If you’re concerned about the recent change in Attachment URLs that Airtable just announced, we want to hear from you.

At On2Air, we’re exploring ways to overcome this. (We build apps for Airtable - on2air.com)

Let us know if interested and your use-case by filling out this form.

______________________________________
Hannah - On2Air.com - Automated Backups for Airtable

This change shouldn’t affect Zapier, as long as you are accessing the attachment field.