How to get started with this library.
Some basic concepts
Softr's core concept is the building block. You have the freedom of arranging the blocks in any order, grouping them into pages and defining a particular set of links and relationships within your application as well as with external parties.
Another key concept is the data source, which allows you to display a collection of data to your users or collect some data from them instead. Softr uses Airtable and Google Sheets for that purpose. Both are powerful tools used by thousands of users around the world.
After logging into your Softr account, you'll be taken to one of your workspaces. You organize all your Softr applications into workspace and can invite others to collaborate with you within a workspace or on a specific app.
Creating your first application
On your Dashboard, you'll see the New Application button as well as some template suggestions next to it.
After hitting the New Application button, a pop-up will appear, where you can either select the Blank option or choose from the variety of templates from different categories. We'll discuss creating apps from templates separately, so let's choose the Blank Application option now.
In the screen that follows, you'll be prompted to connect a data source. You also have the option of skipping this step and adding the key later on from block settings when you actually need it.
Next, you'll proceed to a screen where you can add a few pre-built pages to your application that include such building blocks as a List, List Details, Form, User Profile, and others.
So, choose the pages that you want to add and hit Create Application to finalize the setup. Then, you'll be immediately taken to your new Softr application and can start working on it.
If data source setup was skipped
If you had skipped the data source step in the initial application setup, you'll see a Create Data Source button when you view any of the dynamic blocks (i.e. a block that is linked to a data source) settings. Below, you can see how we connect Airtable as a data source.
Lastly, when you navigate to your app’s Studio after setting up your application, you'll see a Follow Me button in the bottom right corner of the screen, which will open the list of tasks you need to complete to have a fully-functional app. Clicking on the task will help you quickly navigate to the corresponding section of your app or will show you how to configure it. See below.
That's all you need to know to get started from scratch. Next, we'll see what it looks like when you create a new application from a template.
Creating an application from a template
When you hit Create a New Application, you'll enter the template gallery where you can navigate the different categories or use the search bar if you know what you're looking for.
Step 1: Selecting a template
On hovering the template thumbnail, you'll see a Preview button. Click the button to select the template.
The template page has a detailed description of the template with all of its features and functionality as well as an image gallery with some screenshots. The gallery also includes an interactive screen with a preview of the template's Airtable database (if the template comes with one), and there's also a button that opens a pop-up with two options:
Open Application. This option will open the template preview app, where you can actually navigate the template and try out its features.
View Airtable Base. This one (again, you'll see this option only if the template has a database linked to it, which is not always the case), in turn, will open the template's Airtable database, which you can play around with as well.
Step 2: Airtable setup
If the template comes with a database, your next step will be the Airtable setup, where you need to add your Airtable API key. You can also choose to Connect Later.
Step 3: Select base
Lastly, you need to copy the template's database to your Airtable account to make it your own and be able to customize it as you wish. As soon as you copy the base, it will be automatically selected in your template setup, and you can hit Create Application to complete the setup and proceed to your template. The following gif demonstrates the steps.
If the "Connect Later" option has been chosen
If the Connect Later option has been chosen when setting up the template, you can connect Airtable later on from within your application by clicking on any of the dynamic blocks (i.e. those that work with an Airtable base) and choosing Setup Airtable.
After completing the setup and navigating to your application, you can start customizing the template and will also have a setup checklist the same way you did when creating an app from scratch.
The Studio is your workspace where you design and build your app. Let's check how the navigation is organized here.
In the left toolbar, you can access Pages, Blocks, Users, as well as the app Settings.
On the left-hand side of the top navigation bar, you see the page you're currently editing and its path. In the center, you have the option to switch to tablet or mobile views to see what your page would look like on smaller screens. In the upper right corner, you have the Preview button, which can be used to preview your app at any moment, and the Publish button.
Please, note that on all the pages you have the live chat button in the bottom left corner, which you can use to get in touch with us whenever you have a question, complaint, or a suggestion.
Last updated on December 6, 2022