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Type of site
|Cloud collaboration service|
|Founder(s)||Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, Emmett Nicholas|
Airtable is a cloud collaboration service headquartered in San Francisco. It was founded in 2012 by Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmett Nicholas.
Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid, with the features of a database but applied to a spreadsheet. The fields in an Airtable table are similar to cells in a spreadsheet, but have types such as 'checkbox', 'phone number', and 'drop-down list', and can reference file attachments like images.
- 2012: Airtable founded.
- Feb 2015: Raised $3M from Caffeinated Capital, Freestyle Capital, Data Collective, CrunchFund.
- April 2015: Airtable launches its API and embedded databases.
- May 2015: Raised $7.6M funding from Charles River Ventures and Ashton Kutcher.
- July 2015: Introduced Airtable Forms to collect and organize data.
- August 2015: Airtable made "Add to Slack" option available to integrate Airtable with Slack.
- December 2015: Airtable redesigned its iOS app.
- December 2015: Airtable introduced barcode as new field type.
- March 2018: Raised $52 million in Series B funding; announced the launch of Airtable Blocks
Airtable has six basic components:
- Bases: All the information needed to create a project is contained in a Base. Bases can be built from existing templates provided by Airtable. In addition, they can also be built from scratch, from a spreadsheet or from an existing Base.
- Tables: A table is similar to a spreadsheet. A Base is a collection of tables.
- Views: Views show the result sets of data queries and can be saved for future purposes.
- Fields: Each entry in a Table is a field. They are not just restricted to hold text. Airtable currently offers 16 basic field types. These are: single-line texts, long text articles, file attachments, check-boxes, single select from drop-down list, multiple-selects from drop-down lists, date and time, phone numbers, email ids, URLs, numbers, currency, percentage, auto-number, formulae and barcodes.
- Records: Each row of a Table is a Record.
- Workspaces: A workspace is a collection of Bases in Airtable.
Linking between tables
To avoid the need to form a single large table when there is related data in multiple tables, Airtables provides an option to link records of different tables. Airtable allows linking existing tables of related records, creating a new linked table and also multiple links between existing tables.
Airtable allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same Base allowing more productivity at workplace. A new collaborator is added by clicking share button found at top of Base and providing the email ID of the collaborator. The owner can set the permission level of collaborator while sharing the Base. There are three permission levels in Airtable Base, namely "Creator", "Edit Only" and "Read Only".
If multiple Bases are required then a Team is formed in Airtable. An Airtable Team can hold multiple Bases and collaborators of the Team can work on all the available Bases in the Team. There are four permission levels in Team, unlike for a Base which only has three. The extra permission level in Team is Owner, who has full access to Team Base.
Bases can be easily shared with public. One need not have an Airtable account to view the published Bases. These view only Bases shared in public are called Airtable views. These views can be embedded into one's own website and allows the website users see the real time information in Base, without needing them to have an Airtable account. One possible use-case is Airtable Form, which can be used to take a survey of a product. The feedback received from a customer can also be shown to public by sharing the Airtable View.
Airtable introduced Forms in July 2015. Forms could be used to collect data from others like co-workers, customers or the public. A Form can be easily created from an existing Base, and the data collected by the Form is automatically organized in the Airtable Base. Airtable allows user to organize the required fields in the Form. A separate link is created for every Airtable Form. This link can be shared with others to get the required data. An Airtable Form can also be embedded in a website, to get the feedback from the website users.
Airtable's API can be used to connect to other web services by which information can be exchanged between external web applications and Airtable. Using the Zapier platform, Airtable can connect to over 450 applications and websites. Changes can be set up as triggers for actions in connected applications.
Airtable can be integrated with other project management tools, including Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Slack and many more file management, communication tools.
Airtable provides a greater sophistication to backup the data than just allow the users to undo/redo. Airtable periodically snapshots the Base. When a previous version of a Base is needed, the appropriate snapshot is selected by the user from the snapshots list. In addition, the user can manually snapshot a Base at any time.
Airtable provides an API to provide ability to users to build application solutions fitting their exact problems. A key which is present at overview section is necessary to use Airtable's API. The key should be kept secret. The API follows REST semantics, uses JSON to encode objects, and uses standard HTTP codes to signal operation outcomes.
Initially, the user has to create a Base in Airtable. Then, Airtable's API can be used to create, update, read or delete records. As of 2016, Airtable's API does not allow users to create or modify the Base schema.
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