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Airtable Review

airtable and no code to make and launch a project

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Get Real, Honest Maker Commentary

Airtable is your go to tool for no-code makers. Airtable enables you to have the basic ability of a database without having to code a database.

It is an excellent way to deliver personalized information to a user without actually creating a complex back end part of an application. Using Airtable is your fastest way to creating an actual app without code. I’ve given it one of my highest ratings and reviews. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

I will vouch for it because I’ve used it as part of my back end fueling a product that was a #1 on Product Hunt. Get Stackd. Check out below my key pros and cons as well as insight as to how I used Airtable to power an actual no-code web application.

Below are some of the best no-code actual applications created by some insanely talented Makers who launched using Airtable as part of the side project stack.

michael novotny and no code to make and launch a side project

Forward by Maker: Michael Novotny

Pros and Cons of Airtable

Positives

  • The best “database” type tool that will give you familiarity to a spreadsheet
  • Allows basic formulas like a spreadsheet. This is key because it allows you to create a customized dynamic product instead of just a static web page. What this means is you can create formulas in the Airtable sheet and when a new row of data is added, say from Zapier, you can automatically give a customized output for the user.
  • Easy to plug into Zapier and connect to other applications

Negatives

  • Formulas are different than what you may be familiar with using in a traditional spreadsheet. Meaning using a v-lookup is not possible with Airtable. There is another type of "lookup" that is not overly difficult to learn but just takes more time to learn something different based on Airtable's documentation. To help with that, I've provided below a free tutorial titled "Lookup Function Tutorial" from Gareth Pronovost that breaks it down.

No-code "How To" Tutorials and Resources

Airtable Tutorials

Getting started: starting with the base-ics

Start Your Tutorial

"Lookup" Function Tutorial

Linking Tables in Airtable. This is a critical function needed to learn.
Tutorial by Gareth Pronovost.

Start Your Tutorial

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Makers Using Airtable

Use this list of Makers to find project inspiration and see what they used to make something without using code.

Michael Gill how to no code

Newsletter 

What advantage will this stack give you? Automate sending a daily newsletter with no-code tools to save time in your process.

Side Project Stack

no code maker noah brinker

eCommerce

What advantage will this stack give you? Automate when users add new product to your site and have more freedom to do a custom design. 

Side Project Stack

kp maker of cuppa

Web App

What advantage will this stack give you? Custom design +user sign in + storing user information all in one tool. Bubble is a steep learning curve but can deliver a high fidelity working application.

Side Project Stack

nickselman

Community

What advantage will this stack give you? Perfect community starter stack if you are just figuring out your community and want to work your way into larger community tools like Circle.so when it becomes widely available.

Side Project Stack

connor

Job Board

What advantage will this stack give you? This stack allows you to quickly put together a job board and still have customization in design. 

Side Project Stack

"In Their Words" Maker Advice Using Airtable

Use this list of Makers to find detailed explanations as to why they chose this tool to make their project. 

Mohammad Naz of argumeter uses no code to make and launch a project

Web App

Side Project Stack

Best place to find this Maker:

Twitter  

What can you do with this?

Send customized recommendations by email when a user fills out a form. Use this as a lead generator.

Open Investment Readiness Assessment is for your startup. Built on no-code using TypeformAirtable, and Zapier,  here to provide a sneak-peek of the product. 

Project link: Open Investment Readiness Assessment

Read Mohammad’s Full Interview

Stack Notes Using Airtable

Airtable acts as a database and connects from Typeform via Zapier.

Why this tool helped

1. Airtable is great for 2 things: visualization and automation. It provides the flexibility and speed of working with a spreadsheet with all kinds of views (calendar, kanban, tabular, etc.).

2. I haven’t upgraded to the blocks yet but heard really good things about how they can enhance the visualization. You can also embed the views wherever you want.

3. In terms of automation, Airtable is a great place to collect data through an API or form (Typeform has a direct integration and Airtable has its own form) and then process that data in Airtable before you output it on a newsletter or some other place. You can use Zapier to detect row changes and trigger workflows with the output data. I love the option to link tables as this fills a major gap spreadsheets have that stops them from being used as true databases.

What was challenging

-Even though Airtable is great for visualization, it is half-cooked there. In all the views, data gets cut off from view. The form is the worst where options if long are cut off which is pointless because you can’t answer the form without looking at the options.

-It is also far from being a true spreadsheet-killer because the powerful computing and data manipulation options that make spreadsheets awesome are completely missing from Airtable. Here also, there was an attempt to do it with Formula and Roll-up fields but it was a half-cooked implementation. It is crazy that Airtable forces the same formula on an entire column.

kp maker of cuppa

Web App

Side Project Stack

Best place to find this Maker: Twitter  

Appeared On was born out of a personal itch with regards to podcasts. As a podcast lover, I have noticed that there’s a tremendous rise in the number of new shows coming out daily. Due to this trend, it has become very noisy out there
I saw the gap for a simple site that is focussed more on the interesting people and less on subscribing to endless shows/episodes. The closest example I had in mind was the “Filmography section” of an actor listed on IMDb. This seemed like a fun experiment so I built it using a set of no-code tools.The result is what you are seeing today, appearedon.com, a site where you can follow all the appearances of your favorite podcast guests and keep up with their latest updates.
Built on no-code using WebflowAirtable, and Integromat,  

Project link for Appeared On.

Read KP’s Full Interview

Stack Notes Using Airtable

Can you talk specifically about why you chose those tools? And how did you figure out to use those tools? Were there any others you considered or failed with at first?

I already shipped a couple products in the no-code space so I knew what tools to use before I started this project. I chose Webflow as my key tool because it appeals to my design-minded nature in terms of products on the web. I am a huge Apple fan and quite naturally I tend to gravitate towards products/platforms that enable you to design beautiful user experiences. Webflow also has a robust CMS that can handle a lot of complexity if you can be patient and learn how to figure out the subtle things. I’ll be honest and admit that it wasn’t easy for me. I had to watch a few tutorials on Youtube and ask for a friend (Webflow expert) to help when I was stuck but overall loved the journey because I learnt a ton on the way. I used Google Sheets and Airtable as a transitory databases where I stored all of the podcast episode data before I reviewed and published to Webflow CMS. I learn a ton from Twitter daily where I follow and interact with lots of makers in the no-code space and I highly encourage you to be open-minded and patient with asking for help on Twitter. My product had a lot of complex flows where I hit roadblocks because I didn’t know how to code but I still managed to build the 1st version using completely manual (aka unsexy!) processes that I am actually proud of. I could have easily given up but I hung on.

Why this tool helped

  1. One of my favorite products. Super intuitive and definitely way better and powerful than Google Sheets due to it’s API.
  2. I prefer Airtable but had to learn how to fully leverage it. Sheets was my go-to just as it was very user friendly. But ultimately Airtable wins because of their forms and API friendly-ness.

What was challenging

Not much, may be quick landing pages for the forms. The forms currently are plain

no code maker sharath

Web App

Side Project Stack

Best place to find this Maker: Twitter  

This product allows users to centralize any tweets for reqeust for product into one place. Users can do this by submitting through Typeform, which acts as an online form. This form then connects to Table2site which acts as a web application displaying the entries which are stored in Airtable which acts like a database. Finally these entries can be tweeted out through Twitter to create a “viral loop” marketing strategy.

Project link for #RequestforProduct.

Read Sharath’s Full Interview

Stack Notes Using Airtable

Table2site really changed my view on no-code. It is the first tool I used which covers both backend and frontend pieces. Watching no-code products like Follow Friday on Product Hunt inspired me to come up with solutions for my ideas. And like they say, practice makes anyone perfect. Once I shipped a couple of projects I got real comfortable with AirtableTable2site, Notion and Typeform. Built on no-code using WebflowAirtable, and Integromat.  

Why this tool helped

  1. Definitely better than sheets, airtable is really effective and powerful. Go through the video tutorials.  They really helped me find simple functional features. 

What was challenging

  1. The only thing they can improve is when we add anyone as a collaborator they won’t intimate us. I got charged accidentally once. 
michael novotny and no code to make and launch a side project

Web App

Side Project Stack

zapier how to make with nocode
how to make nocode with gmail

Best place to find this Maker: Twitter  

This product allows users to receive a free recommendation for the best no-code tools to make and launch a side project without code. 

Project link for Get Stackd.

 

Stack Notes Using Airtable

 
Generally, the way this stack works is a user enters information of what they want to make into Typeform. This sends to Airtable which acts as a database. I have custom logic created in Airtable and Zapier to send a personalized and automated response to the user within 2 minutes through Gmail.
The key for me was learning how to use lookups in Airtable. I had previously been accustomed to using VLookups with excel and Google Sheets. 

Airtable does not use Vlookups. Disappointing because this cost me time to build to learn how to essentially do that with Airtable. There is a link above in Tutorials of how to do this. I used this exact tutorial. 

 

Why this tool helped

  1. I originally tried to create this with Google Sheets and failed. G sheets or any spreadsheet would not create an automated response based on an input sent from Typeform. That is the advantage of Airtable is that you can create custom logic within it and it reacts like a database. 

  2. Airtable is very affordable to use. I highly recommend it. 

What was challenging

  1. It was challenging not to learn the lookup function, but figuring out that the lookup function was available to use to solve my problem to create my custom logic. It takes a bit of tinkering with to find what custom solution you need for your project. Use their documentation and tutorials to help you figure that out.