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Airtable launches Interfaces—what that means for you

Airtable launches Interfaces—what that means for you
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #70 • View online
Two streams about Interface Designer on the docket this week!
Today at 1PM EST, I’ll be live with Exploring Interface Designer where I’ll let you decide what interfaces we build!
You can add this AATT stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) and subscribe on Youtube.
On to the update…

Heyo!
After Airtable Automations and Sync, it’s time for Interfaces. In today’s edition, I thought I’d talk about what Interfaces is, who it’s for and most importantly to a lot of you I expect what it isn’t.
What is Airtable Interfaces?
Airtable Interfaces is, in tech parlance, a front-end for your base. As the core of your workflow, your Airtable base contains a lot of information which in turn attracts a lot of different stakeholders. In a CRM use-case that includes your leads, the companies they work, how much each salesperson closed recently. All of that is consumed by different stakeholders each wanting a slice of that information. Salespeople want to update their pipeline & track their commissions while VPs want to click on a pretty dashboard to prep their next meeting.
In a content usecase your writers want to draft their takes, while the SEO team wants to understand trends.
Before Interfaces, each of these stakeholders interacted with your base through views and to a lesser extent app dashboards. Views and apps gave everyone Airtable’s experience: you could pick the type of view and the fields shown but were otherwise limited. You couldn’t give them a unique front-end—an interface—that exactly matched their role in the workflow. A summarized dashboard with high level metrics for the VP or a place for a salesperson to update only their leads.
Now with Interfaces, you have new primitives to create an interface so each stakeholder has a unique and much more relevant experience. Give salespeople a clear way to update a lead’s status and take notes during calls (all that update your base’s underlying information). Content writers can draft their content in one interface while a reviewer can approve content in another. VPs can get numbers and the visibility into underlying relevant information all in one page.
They also look amazing and are super easy to build.
Images taken from https://www.airtable.com/product/interface-designer
Images taken from https://www.airtable.com/product/interface-designer
Who is Airtable Interfaces for?
Interfaces create a clear distinction between base creators and base consumers. That distinction has always existed (👋 hello editor role) but it’s now much crisper. Creators are responsible for base building. They decide on a base’s structure: the tables, fields, and often relevant views for different stakeholders. You know that person on your team you turn to answer Airtable questions or build new ones? Yeah, they’re your creator. If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re probably a creator.
Base consumers on the other hand are those adding in records, keeping information up to date or overseeing the workflow. With interfaces, I expect creators to be responsible for building relevant interfaces. Furthermore, I expect most base consumers to update & extract information through Interfaces in lieu of views! No more explaining what a record is or which views to look at. Simply point them to a relevant interface where they can get or update the information they need!
Yes, it’s going to take time to build and fine tune those interfaces. That said, imagine how freeing it will be though to no longer have folks fiddle with your base? Every type of stakeholder will have an interface that fits their needs perfectly. They’ll be happier, you’ll be happier, your workflow will run smoother…
What Airtable Interfaces isn’t (today)
Airtable Interface is not the minimum viable product for your business. It’s also not a user portal. Today, permissions in interfaces are the same as your base: anyone who has access to an interface also has access to the underlying information of your base. So no it will not replace your (or my) Webflow-Memberstack-Zapier website (unless you’re building internal websites which I know folks do!). You can filter elements based on who is looking at the page (e.g. update the dashboard numbers based on the user) but that user cannot be external to your base. To interact or view an interface, a user has to be a collaborator on your base.
I repeat: you cannot build your company’s MVP on Interfaces today.
That said, I couldn’t be more excited about this step. It’s taking Airtable one step closer to providing enough primitives to truly create an app!
I’d love to see the interface everyone builds! Reply with screenshots!
Airtable tip: Interfaces
What’s the point of talking about anything other than interfaces? Here are some useful videos & guides to get you started
Tool Tips: Build Custom Interfaces in Airtable | Airtable
Tool Tips: Build Custom Interfaces in Airtable | Airtable
3 part series walking through how to build an interface, different layouts options and how to share:
Create a Custom Interface With Interface Designer | Airtable
Create a Custom Interface With Interface Designer | Airtable
For those who prefer to read, here’s a guide on Airtable Designer
Getting Started: Airtable Interface Designer | Airtable Guides
Tool of the month
Softr is the easiest no-code platform to create custom web apps powered by Airtable data, in minutes. With zero learning curve. Softr’s mission is to turn billion non-tech users into app creators.
Softr’s unique approach is the LEGO-like building experience that makes it extremely easy and quick to get a full-stack app up and running in 30 mins. It’s even earned them the moniker ‘the LEGO kit of the web’.
You can build B2B & B2C applications like client portals, internal tools, marketplaces, online communities, resource directories - with out-of-the-box memberships, payments, search, filtering, roles & permissions. It is simple, yet powerful. They even offer a custom domain on the free plan - try it for free.
You can also check out a stream I did with Yohei, who built a client portal with Softr here!
Also, check out their other video tutorials on Youtube.
From the interwebs
A little busy this week as you can imagine, so here’s just a dump of links
Cascade Labs raises $5.3M for its no-code data automation platform – TechCrunch
Rise of the Robots? More Companies Turn to Automation Amid Labor Shortage
Ethan’s been helping me uplevel the AATT & Airtable streams. He’s open sourced a confetti packet! Perfect if you’re getting stared as a streamer!
Fatsack's Freebies 05 - FREE Twitch Streamer Assets - Make It Rain Animations | Fatsack Fails
Microsoft launched a Notion clone (some say it’s a Coda clone)
Suhail
Microsoft does not hold back. A full Notion clone: https://t.co/phhAUGUmP8
How to interview no-code developers (and agencies) | Webflow Blog
Until next week, keep building!
Aron
PS Now that you’ve read the whole thing, tell me how I can make this newsletter 10% better? I’d appreciate it.
Special thanks to Ben Parker (@rileyrichter) from the Visual dev FM team for letting me rummage through his links to share some with y'all.
Final disclaimer: I may work at Airtable but views here (even about Airtable!) are my own :)
Did you enjoy this issue?
Aron Korenblit

Weekly thoughts on the working smarter not harder using no-code tools + a weekly Airtable tip. Written by Aron Korenblit

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