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So happy that someone finally filled the void left by Dabble DB.
One of the features I found most useful there, but can’t seem to do in Airtable, is linking to entries in another Base. Often, one will have multiple bases which handle distinct aspects of a business or project, but in which one piece of data overlaps.
Example: A political campaign may want Bases for contacting voters, managing events, and recording donations. Those are distinct domains which need their own Bases, but which could benefit from linking parts of them together. For example, it would be great to link donations to the event they occurred at, or voters to donations, or record who attended each event.
In Airtable at present one has to either cram all of those bases into one, or foregoe the linkage which makes this software so great. It may seem like a small thing, but once you can link bases, the sky is really the limit.
My guess is that this probably IS a bit closer to “rocket science” within the database world, since they would likely need to re-architecture the entire technical foundation that their entire product was founded on to make this change.
This sort of a massive change touches EVERYTHING in the entire product — from security to sharing bases to workspace management to formula fields to user-friendliness — everything. There’s almost nothing in the product that this sort of change WOULDN’T touch.
Now I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be useful to have in the product — and maybe they’re already working on it — but it’s probably akin to the world’s largest technical challenge for them.
Probably an easier direction for them to go in first would be for them to enable us to “hide tables” within bases, so we could hide tables from certain users that shouldn’t have access to those tables.
It sort of reminds me of the early FileMaker days, which actually had the reverse problem for 19 years:
For 19 years, from 1985 to 2004, FileMaker could only link between 2 external bases, because you could only have one table per base. There was no way to add a 2nd table to a base, because your base WAS the table. One base = one table. So you would end up having solutions with 15 or 20 bases (or more!) just to build a system. When they finally updated the product in 2004 to allow this, it was a massive change to the architecture of the entire product — their entire product had to be rewritten from scratch, and then they had the extra challenge of figuring out a way to migrate old data into the new product. And of course, the file format had to change and everything. So it took them 19 years to figure it out, and they were a massive company owned by Apple!
So, I think that if the Airtable employees feel like this is an important feature, they’re probably working on it. Although I think that there are tons of other massive & more important features that should come first, which are more in the realm of “low-hanging fruit” (in my opinion). And if they would simply give us the ability to “hide tables based on certain criteria”, that could go a long way towards tiding us over on this particular issue of multiple bases.
My apologies as I haven’t yet figured out how to quote text on this forum.
ScottWorld mentioned: “This sort of a massive change touches EVERYTHING in the entire product — from security to sharing bases to workspace management to formula fields to user-friendliness — everything. There’s almost nothing in the product that this sort of change WOULDN’T touch.”
and I feel we are at last coming to the crux of the issue for many of these development requests. Without more definitive guidance from Airtable, I fear that my security concerns will continue.
Never used FileMaker… saw it, didn’t like it, but I did enjoy playing with dBase. Did you know dBase was on the Apollo missions?
I totally agree with ScottWorld. I myself used Filemaker at that time of the great change in the structure of their base. It’s a huge undertaking. Having said that, I think Airtable needs to listen to its users. It’s a demand that is persistent from the community.
This category of application is exploding and if they don’t take this demand seriously, they’re going to lose a lot of players.
I don’t know if this restructuring is part of their Roadmap right now. But if it is, I think it would be a good idea to inform their community. Because the message they’re sending right now is that they don’t care. And I’m sure it’s the opposite, but because they’re not communicating it, that’s the impression they’re leaving.
I really hope they’re going to fix this soon, but for now, this silence translates into a search for alternatives for me.
It’s such a shame that this limitation still exists in Airtable after so many years. There are other “citizen developer database” solutions on the market that don’t have this limitation, which is why I build systems on those other platforms instead of Airtable. What Airtable is doing so amazingly well in many other areas (like Blocks, which is so unique and innovative) is completely thwarted by this kind of “fatal flaw.”
I’m using a free trial right now. Trying to understand how this product will work for my business and I have to say, after finding this thread, I need to reconsider how much time I want to sink into Airtable. This limits my idea on how to use the platform tremendously. My service company would blow through 50,000 records on just one base that uses a ton of tables.
As @ScottWorld pointed out, if we could hide tables (tabs), and adjust permissions for each one, that could work. We have a half dozen radically different bases now, because different people on our small team need different things. But they all need some data in common (things like customer or business contacts).
We absolutely need either a way to link from base to base, or customize permissions for a base that would potentially have two dozen tabs/tables.
Hiding tables would be amazing! Definitely would be a major step forward in a powerful direction!
This is currently possible with Stacker, which gives an almost-infinite amount of control over which records, fields, and tables your users can view, edit, or create. It even allows you to only show users the records that you want them to see! Yes, they have full record-level permissions!
But linking bases would be the bomb. It is definitely on my list of “Top 10 Killer Features for Airtable”.
This Top 10 list is in my head right now — I don’t actually have this list somewhere for people to reference. :winking_face: Lol.
I LOVE airtable, but not being able to link bases really literally suck.
I’ve been sitting since the day I started using airtable and waited for this function. I’d even sacrifice GANTT and other block features to get this one. It should be the main concern for developing Airtable. Maybe the ONLY, until it’s solved.
We’ve been working on an update for Stacker to allow links between Airtable bases :rocket: We’d love to test with some of you to make sure we’re hitting your needs.
We’ll start testing this publicly in the next couple of weeks, so sign up here if you’d be interested to check it out first :slightly_smiling_face:
Guys, you can connect your data in Fibery, I think this is useful review for sure https://medium.com/fibery/fibery-vs-airtable-8e6bd0e6ca79