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Multiple Page Document in Page Designer

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7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect


I am using Airtable for project management. I am trying to shift some of our proposal generation to Airtable and see some promise with the Page Designer Feature.

Just wondering – is it possible to generate multiple pages from a single record? Basically, for each job, I have several components that take up most of a sheet of paper. I need to have a summary table of work to be completed below that, along with terms and conditions.

Our current proposals are 6 pages long using Microsoft Word

Any thoughts on how to accomplish this?

11 - Venus
11 - Venus

Airtable do listen and action feedback. I’ve seen a few of my ideas implemented over the years. Frustratingly however, the two elephants in the room I face are;

  • Page Designer lacking support for Multi-page documents and dynamically scaling grids, and auto-PDF’ing and attaching to records.

  • Prerequisit for Linked Fields, allowing one field to dynamically limit the available Linked record assignment.

Just as painful as not having Page Designer do all the (obvious) things, is the non-stop hawkers on these forums proposing their 3rd party solutions. We trust Airtable with data, but can the same level of trust be had with 3rd parties? (not to forget another subscription cost too…).

At this stage in the game, I’m inclined spending my holidays building my own server to take an Airtable record JSON dump and format that into a pretty document that’s re-attached to the record.

18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

Yes, this is a big one!

18 - Pluto
18 - Pluto

You are free to build out your own system, just as other third party systems have built out their systems. They use resources that are available to the public.

You don’t even need your own server for this.

If you choose to use Google docs for you template, you don’t need any other services other than Google and Airtable.

If you choose to go the html to pdf route, you will need a service that converts the html to a pdf at a publicly accessible url. The rest can be done with scripting within Airtable.

On the other hand, coming up with the code for these systems is hard work. And these third party services take care of a lot of details that can be a lot of work to code.

Bill recently started a thread about switching between systems for creating pdf attachments from record data.

Your personal level of trust is up to you. However, I have not heard of any of the major players in this realm (creating documents from record data) having any security issues. They all also have public privacy policies (as do I), and there is little motivation for any of them do do anything nefarious with your data.

17 - Neptune
17 - Neptune

No, not at all. Security experts are quick to point out that even if the security policies are equal, each third-party integration increases the attack surfaces as a factorial of the connections. Just three integrations is 24 times more risky ((4 x 3 x 2 x 1) - 1) than no third party integrations.

UPDATE: My math is wrong; with three integrations it’s 5 times more risky ((3 x 2 x 1) - 1). Airtable itself cannot exacerbate it’s own risk threshold just by conveying or receiving data from another source.

And with that you will probably increase security risks even higher. Do you really believe you can outpace a SOC2 level security stack on your own? To do this well it will cost you about 50 cents per document.

If you really want to build a secure data-to-PDF reporting system for sensitive information you’ll use a SOC2 certified service that provides signed URLs with a shelf-life of under 30 seconds for one penny per document and perform all processes in an Airtable script.

17 - Neptune
17 - Neptune

I get your point, but nefarious actions by the vendors is not typically the big threat. It’s the added exposure when moving data from point A to point B. Vastly, data breaches are external in origin and exacerbated by integration connectors whose traffic presents a heat map that attracts bots which assemble the topology of the activity and then humans determine the probability those connections will pay dividends if hacked.