Airtable review: Flexible low-code/no-code in the cloud

Airtable is a powerful combination of relational database capabilities, a variety of development environments for different skill levels, and hundreds of templates and add-ins for common use cases.

At a Glance

Airtable may look like a spreadsheet in the cloud, but it’s actually more like a relational database in the cloud with its own development environment. That’s an oversimplification: Airtable has several development environments at a variety of skill levels ranging from non-programmers to power users to JavaScript programmers.

As a database-oriented, low-code/no-code development environment in the cloud, Airtable competes with many of the roughly 400 low-code/no-code app builders on the market, and certainly with the three major, cloud-specific low-code/no-code app builders, Amazon Honeycode, Microsoft Power Apps, and Google Cloud AppSheet. Airtable doesn’t really compete with the basic cloud spreadsheets such as Google Sheets.

Airtable concepts

Airtable is essentially a database in spreadsheet drag. An Airtable workspace, basically a collection of projects shared among a group of collaborators, contains one or more “bases,” where base is short for database. Each base contains one or more tables, and each table contains records (rows) and fields (columns). Airtable tables have homogeneous fields, like a relational database and unlike a NoSQL database.

Airtable tables can be displayed in an assortment of views. Unlike relational database views, Airtable views are not just filtered subsets of the data. In addition to allowing record filters and hidden fields, Airtable views support different formats for different purposes: grid view, calendar view, Kanban view, gallery view, Gantt view, timeline view, and form view. As we’ll see later, Airtable also supports formulas, automations, and apps.

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