I’m a relatively new user (started last week-ish), and while I love Airtable overall, one part of its behavior is becoming a little frustrating.
I’ve got a fairly simple base where I’m tracking events tied to specific clients. My first table is a list of events by date, with the client being selected in a field that’s a lookup from the second table. The problem I’m having is with delays in being able to select an option in that lookup field. Sometimes Airtable is fairly peppy, and the available choices appear in a fraction of a second. Other times I have to wait several seconds for the options to appear. I thought at one point that there might be a difference in responsiveness between tabbing into the field and typing part of the client name to whittle down the list for selection, versus clicking the + icon in that field to pull up the full client list. However, I’ve had delays with both scenarios.
My tables are fairly small: 39 events so far in the event table, and only five clients to choose from. If my client table were much larger (like in the hundreds), I might expect some delay as Airtable pulls things together, but with only five options, I don’t see the reason that it takes several seconds to show me the choices. This is primarily happening in the Mac desktop client, though I ran a quick test just now to see if the web interface would be any different. Sadly, it’s not. About a three second delay to show me the client options after I typed one character of the client name.
Are other users experiencing this same sluggishness? Is this just the default behavior of linking to another table? I thought about changing the client field on the event table to the Single Select type (which doesn’t have these delays for me so far), but I’m using the client table to tally the number of events for each client and run some other formulas, and linking the two tables is the only way I know (currently) to make that happen. If there’s some other way to optimize this setup, I’m all ears.
I experience this as well with some bases on a regular basis, and in others it is never an issue. Overall though, I would say there is definitely a longer load time for those bases where I have quite a bit more records being linked/loaded, however, the base I notice this issue the most in actually only has about 7 records in the linked table and it still occurs. So I unfortunately can’t shed any more light on the issue.
After further observation, it appears that it’s not necessarily a delay with linked table selection. The application is waiting until it’s finished saving the last change I made before showing me the available lookup options, and it’s that save that’s taking a long time. If all data is saved, the options appear pretty quickly.
So why is such a simple save (usually only two or three words) taking so long, and why is it waiting in the first place? It saves in the background while I’m typing into text fields and doesn’t slow down my typing, so why can’t it continue saving in the background while showing me the options for a lookup field? Considering that Airtable has been around for a couple years, I would’ve assumed that optimizations like this would have been addressed long ago. Or is the desktop app new enough that this hasn’t been addressed yet?
I’m also experiencing this issue with a simple table with a few linked fields (Kind of glad it isn’t just me haha!).
This could just be my lack of understanding here, but with linking being one of the main things that makes AT so great, I didn’t expect there to be such a high performance cost for using this feature.
Does anyone have any light to shine on this issue or any workarounds?