This week, Airtable launched the Airtable platform
which includes the newly launched Airtable Sync, Apps and Automations. If you want to understand each component, you can check out Airtable webinars here
or join the stream
Quickly on the features themselves. Sync breaks down the essential barrier stopping folks from collaborating across teams using Airtable. Without it, as Airtable adoption grew, you could end up with different sources of truth within different bases
. Sync lets you break those down sharing exactly what each team depends on to get their work done. Automations lets you create business logic within Airtable (when this happens, do that). Apps (which includes all existing blocks) live on top of your Airtable base and let you visualize and update your information. This isn’t just a rebrand of Blocks, you can also now create your own with the Airtable Apps SDK
That said, what I’m excited about here is this concept of platform. There’s this oft-quoted excerpt from Bill Gates that a platform is a company where the value of things built on top is greater than the platform itself. I like to believe that the value of the workflows built on Airtable is greater than the value of Airtable – or else what are folks paying us for? But that’s also true for every other software company out there. So what about this new launch now makes Airtable a platform?
The Airtable App SDK
empowers anyone to solve for a specific use case on top of the existing Airtable infrastructure in the form of an App! Just like an iOs app lets developers leverage the fact that you have an iPhone (and all that entails), the Airtable App SDK lets folks build an app for Airtable and leverage that user base. And there are a lot of people in that userbase: over 200,000 organizations use Airtable, each with a unique set of challenges to solve. With Airtable (now with Sync and Automations), you can go a long way! In a lot of use cases however there comes a point - a last mile if you will - where that functionality isn’t exactly
what you need. It could be that you need an integration with an industry specific tool or some combination of actions that are unique to your workflow. Until this week, the only escape valve available was writing a rudimentary script (functionality that is relatively new!). The Airtable App SDK
empowers those with the most empathy – citizen developers, internal development teams or 3rd party consultants – to solve that last mile! Analysts expect over half a billion apps
to be built over the next three years. We’re hoping to power a lot of those but it just wouldn’t be possible without folks building on top of our existing infrastructure.
I couldn’t be more excited to see what everyone builds. To be totally frank, I wish I knew how to code React so I could truly jump into the fray. For now, I’ll stick to growing the number of folks building in Airtable so y'all have a bigger user base to find opportunities in!