Using Airtable as a data source for your Softr app.
Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid that can also act as a relational database. As a result, it is a more powerful data management option when compared with simple spreadsheet solutions. Here are some of Airtable’s distinctive features:
- Familiar spreadsheet-like interface;
- User permission management;
- An extensive library of ready-made templates;
- A number of native integrations with different third-party services;
- Custom views;
If you want to learn more about Airtable and its features, make sure to check out our detailed guide on Airtable.
Now, let’s see how you can connect Airtable, and then we’ll take a closer look at some of Airtable’s features that are important to consider in that context.
Connecting to Airtable
Connecting your Airtable data to Softr is super easy. Any Airtable data source you connect in Softr can be used in all of a workspace’s apps, by all of the workspace’s collaborators. Let’s look at how to connect Airtable as a datasource. First, click on your workspace in the bottom left of the Softr Dashboard, then click Workspace Settings.
In the next screen you can see a list of all your connected datasources, as well as a button to add a new datasource. Click Connect data source in the upper right of the screen. If you need to edit, re-authenticate, or remove a datasource, click the 3-dot ellipses icon on the right of the datasource. Note that guest collaborators cannot re-authenticate or remove data sources.
When adding a new datasource, you will be asked to login to Airtable (if not already), then Authorize Softr to access any Airtable base you choose to give permission to access. Click + Add a base to give Softr permission to specific bases in your Airtable account. Once you have selected the bases Softr needs access to, click Authorize.
Fields and field types
When connecting a Softr block (e.g. a List block) to Airtable, you not only need to select a base and a table but also map each block field to a corresponding Airtable field, to specify how exactly you want to display your data.
Airtable fields are basically the columns in your table, and each field has its predefined type (as opposed to Google Sheets). There are multiple field types such as Image, Checkbox, Formula, and more. Similarly, Softr also offers a wide variety of field types, and you need to make sure to select appropriate types when mapping fields from Airtable to Softr. Below, you can see how we’ve used an Image field type on Softr’s List block and linked it to the Profipic field on Airtable, which has an Attachment type.
You can learn more about each field type in the List block overview.
Another powerful feature of Airtable that should be considered when displaying data on Softr is Airtable views. It allows you to apply one or more views (i.e. different layouts such as Gallery, Calendar, and others) on the same table. But what’s important in Softr’s context is that you can apply unique filtering and sorting on each view and link to that specific view from Softr. The following image shows an Airtable view of a project task list that has filtered the list by status, showing only the tasks that are marked as Done.
Now, we can select that view on Softr only to display the Done tasks as shown below.
The Linked Record field type on Airtable has a special role, and this is what makes Airtable a relational database. It allows to link one table to another and show a whole record from another table inside your current table.
For example, if we have two tables for Tasks and Projects, we can create a linked record in Tasks and connect it to Projects in order to show which project each task belongs to.
Below you can see the Tasks table, where the Project field is a linked record that shows records from the Projects table.
We hope that this brief overview helped you get a clearer picture of what Airtable is and how it serves as a data source for Softr. If you want to learn more about Airtable and explore its features, check out our Airtable Learning Hub, which has detailed guides and how-to’s on each Airtable aspect.
For help on Airtable errors, visit our debugging section and Troubleshooting Airtable errors.
Airtable Computed Fields
Generally speaking, any field that you can edit in Airtable is also editable via Softr. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Fields that are automatically set by Airtable cannot be edited in Softr. These fields are Formula, Rollup, Count, Lookup, Created By, Created Date, Last Modified Date, Last Modified By, and Autonumber. Additionally, Softr cannot edit or modify Button fields.
Connecting Airtable using API Keys or Personal Access Tokens (PATs)
To start with Airtable, you need to go to your Application Settings and navigate to Data Sources. Next, click Connect a Data Source and select Airtable from the list.
In the next step, you’ll be prompted to enter your Airtable API key, which you can get in your Airtable Account Settings. Below you can see how we copy the API key and apply it on Softr.
Alternatively, you can initiate the same process from any of the blocks (e.g. a List block) when you start setting it up.
That’s it. Now you can link to any of the bases in your Airtable account and display or modify the data with Softr.
Last updated on December 6, 2022