I’ve been using Airtable for a while now on a limited basis. I really want to deploy to my entire company as a project management tool (one base with tables for Clients, Departments, Projects, Tasks, Notes, Events, etc), but two key features are missing for me:
A Dashboard- What I’d like is a kind of “me view” that any user can use as a home page for the base… it would automatically display (in some simple grid/block form) everything related to a given collaborator… every client, project task, message, etc, that they are associated with… with clickable links to the actual record in Airtable. This is far more than a custom Airtable “View”, because it involves data from more than one table.
A Reporting Tool - Basically, we need to be able to (at a moment’s notice) generate a printable project status report from a given Airtable view (a grid/spreadsheet-style view of dozens of projects, ideally with page headers/footers, numbered rows, labeled columns, and all the other features you’d see on a typical Excel spreadsheet when printed). The current “print view” feature doesn’t offer enough control, and the new Page Designer is a great tool, but is not suited for printing multiple records on a page.
My best guess is that each of these items could be accomplished with a web page that pulls data from the Airtable API. The dashboard is probably the harder climb, since it’s pulling data from multiple tables and filtering it in a much more complex way. Not sure if a hyperlink back to an airtable record is even possible.
I’m not a programmer, but I’m somewhat familiar with the API and its ability to generate JSON objects, and I’ve browsed third-party tools like Airpress. A jquery library like DataTables would probably also be useful. I’m just curious if other users have built anything along these lines for their own base(s) that would serve as a good model or case study for mine?
Julian, thanks. Yes, I’m familiar with Blocks. Honestly, I’m not really impressed. Most of the tools fall into the category of toys or weirdly case-specific utilities. There are definitely a few power tools in there, but I’m not sure any of them do quite what I’m looking for.
The Record List block is KIND OF like what I’d need for a Dashboard. Theoretically, I could set up blocks for each employee (My Projects, My Tasks, etc). But it would be a bit of a pain to set up, because I’d have to build (for EACH of my 20+ users) 2-3 user-specific views AND 2-3 blocks.
As I mentioned in my original post, the Page Designer is an awesome tool, and I hope to be able to employ it for expense reports, etc. But it really only works for printing one record per page. If you’re looking for something more like a status report, with 10-20 records per page in a spreadsheet-style display, it falls apart.
Mmm - I didn’t really read you OP properly - producing a user specific dashboard is beyond the scope of Blocks at the moment I think!
What would really help would be a feature to create views filtered by the logged on Collaborator. Quite a lot would follow on from that - and may be able to be the basis of user centric dashboards when the views form the basis of Block elements.
At some point, I think Airtable will also need to introduce some proper relational reporting from the data.
Yes! Some sort of “Me View” is mandatory. It would solve LOTS of problems. And a few minor improvements to the Print Designer would probably solve the reporting issues, too.
Until then, I do think it would be possible (through the API’s JSON objects) to set up a series of web pages that serve the purposes I’ve outlined above. I’m just curious whether anyone else has tried something similar, or if I’m entering uncharted waters.