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Linked record continuity issues; view modes, grouping options

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Linking records seems to me to be the least exploited, most powerful feature on Airtable.
I love the feature, but it seems to lack some continuity, IMO. Almost a head-scratcher to neglect. If I can say so respectfully. :confused:

I’m looking for three very closely related things:

  1. If you can set a record link column to ‘single select’, why can you not arrange Kanban views by that column?
    This would make things amazingly easy in several of my boards.
    (For example, I have an phylogeny studies board where I group animals into a separate table of families; currently, I have to have a separate single-select list, and frequently update them to match so I can view and organize in Kanban view.)

  2. It makes a lot of sense to be able to group by self-joins in a sort of hierarchical or nested view. This is basically the number one feature I’m feeling the need for. Similar to here.
    Hierarchical views?
    If this needs to be a dedicated ‘parent’ type of link for that to work, or if it requires single-select, I can see either working.

  3. I would love a mind-map view of records; really, just something like a ‘node-edge’ sort of view, edges being linked records, drawn as a line between them, ‘defining’ the relationship by the column’s name. For example, as above with the ‘parent’ self-join; or a ‘smells like’ or whatnot. Or, “Bilbo Baggins” (node/record) is “Uncle To…” (edge/link) “Frodo Baggins” (node) and “Companion of…” (edge) “Galdalf the Grey” (node).
    If it could see across tables, or ‘auto-organize’ into common formats that would be awesome.But really I’m just hoping for basic self-joins only; showing the checked types of eligible relationships, and expanding records when clicked, changing attributes/links as dragged, etc. similar to the Kanban view.
    (Look at ‘Tiddlymaps’ for ‘Tiddlywiki’ for an idea of what that might look like. Super simple, not a ton of features, but really robust because of the underlying wiki ‘pages’ and tagging structure. I can see this working wonders with how records already work.)
    …I realize this last one is a lot bigger of an undertaking. But even a similar ‘group by’ view with a little more intelligent node-edge type relationships would go a long way.

Thank you for your awesome work!!
This literally has changed my life.
…please notice me, senpai.

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Here be pictures for number 3, in case it’s not clear.


(assuming uncle/nephew is linked somehow.)
Would become this:

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I have another use case that would benefit from mind map and network views. Searching the forum to see what others have done led me here.

I’m prototyping a task management system for myself. I’m using junction tables to represent the hierarchy of tasks (parent, child) and the dependencies among tasks (predecessors, successors) rather than self-links, but the principle is the same. I’ve found the following kludges useful to see the hierarchy and somewhat useful to edit it:

  • Grouping by link to junction in grid views
  • Using formulas to name the junction records
  • Using look-up and roll-up fields

Those kludges help, but they are not nearly so handy as your proposed features would be.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Completely agree on items (1) and (3).

Enabling kanban views of single-select linked records would make Airtable beat Trello for many of my use cases. A particular use case involves brainstorming with a large group. This sort of goes as follows:

  • In advance set up one table for each focus question and a form view that prompts for answers
  • Spend 3-5 minutes having everyone type their answers (they don’t have to authenticate!..this makes it a killer app for this).
  • Moderator rearranges the table as the group discusses the responses, and the group decides on names for categories answers – which are single-select links to another table. Doing this in a kanban view or mindmap view would be hugely beneficial.
  • The categories table is linked to another table that is pre-configured with a form view that lets people vote on the three most important categories (also not requiring authentication!)
  • Results of the votes are instantly tabulated and the group can get on with discussing the most important topics.
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I would also like to see a mindmap option in airtables,

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Yes please! I would like to be able to use all these feature selections!