Being a successful combination of a spreadsheet and a database, Airtable has evolved into a rather powerful solution. It’s mostly used by the companies that have “overgrown” the functional limitations set by spreadsheets, especially their inability to scale up along with your business processes.
Airtable combines all the most useful and essential features of Google Sheets and Notion, and allows you to make your spreadsheets more logically structured. Businesses mostly use Airtable to manage their customers’ data, track tasks implementation, plan projects, keep track of inventory, and organize their social media activities.
Airtable key features
Airtable definitely has its strengths that make users start using it and never come back to spreadsheets. The most often cited of them are:
- Relative ease-of-use
- Pre-made templates
- Classic, Calendar, Gallery, and other custom views
- Common document storage
- Easy task management
- Team collaboration
- Files and data sharing
- Third-party integration via Blocks.
8 reasons to move away from Airtable
However, there’s a number of reasons why you risk finding yourself dissatisfied with what Airtable offers. We’ll mention the most annoying issues, and will further suggest a solution to it.
- Not really friendly price. Airtable doesn’t charge per organization but per user. The paid plans offered by Airtable are going up in price in parallel with the new users and bases you add to your project.
- No matter if it’s an Editor, Commenter, or Viewer. Within any plan, each user is charged equally regardless of their role, be it an active editor, a concerned commenter, or a passive viewer. The absence of more granular user access settings and the relevant pricing options may quickly become a problem (especially for your budget).
- A high learning curve. Your Excel skills do not give a guarantee that it will be easy for you to start using Airtable immediately. Educational videos and guides may help but not always.
- No auto-refresh. After you add a new record to your database, you need to refresh the app manually to make this record be displayed.
- Layout limitations. Airtable doesn’t allow you to change the layout as you wish, display all the fields in one column, etc.
- Hard to create specs. Due to the size of a popup, the location of the most essential fields, and no ability to add an image into the edit area, it may be challenging to perform some actions in Airtable.
- Buggy features. In the race for the number of features delivered as early as possible, Airtable sometimes sacrifices the quality. It results in the not properly tested features appearing in production that cause additional issues.
- Storage restrictions. There’s no ability to expand the storage space within your plan if you need. The Pro plan limitations are 50,000 records and 20GB of attachments per base.
Why a low-code tool like UI Bakery is a better solution
To avoid a range of Airtable limitations, you can start using a more flexible low-code development platform. For example, UI Bakery. You can connect your Airtable API to UI Bakery, and quickly build the solution you need using such features as:
- Automatic generation of UI components.
- CRUD operations.
- A list of databases and third parties you can connect to your application.
- A number of templates with the connected data you can use.
- A lot of out-of-the-box data visualization forms (Tables, Maps, Graphs, Charts).
- An ability to add new records via a convenient dashboard and get real-time updates.
- Data analysis and calculation using SQL queries.
- Building data workflows and advanced business logic.
- An ability to set different access levels for various user groups.
- Custom components you can add and reuse across your project.
- Custom code you can modify your app with.
- Easy testing and debugging.
- No need to pay for each end-user – you pay for your account only.
On a final note
Workflow automation, easy and fast data analysis and visualization, proper project management, team collaboration… More and more businesses are striving to achieve these and other goals as fast and cost-effectively as possible. Airtable is a good comrade in this situation, however not a flexible one.
With the main Airtable shortcomings covered, we advise you to think twice. Will Airtable still meet your business needs in the long term? Won’t you feel trapped soon due to the restrictions Airtable set?
Try an alternative. There are more flexible and customizable low-code platforms allowing you to simply connect your Airtable API to your app, and start using it. No more limits.
The author Dennis P. Reed possesses a vast experience in the IT industry, especially in the domains of website and mobile app development and digital marketing. He writes on topics encompassing the above mentioned domains and is considered a maven in his chosen field – Information Technology.