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Escape valves in no-code & call for guest posters

Escape valves in no-code & call for guest posters
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #49 • View online
Today 1PM EST I’m excited to welcome Emily Lonetto, Head of Growth from Voiceflow on the stream. We’re going to build an Alexa voice app in an hour together without code!
You can add the stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) or follow on twitch to get notified every time I’m live.
Full stream calendar here.
So many new features in Airtable in March so two weeks ago I streamed What’s new in Airtable: view sections, sync options, webhooks.
In case you missed it, I released Learn Airtable scripting a four part stream where Gio, sales engineer @ Airtable, teaches me (and you) how to write scripts in Airtable! Absolutely no coding experience required!
Onto the update…

Heyo,
I don’t remember who exactly but someone at Airtable once qualified Airtable scripting as an escape valve.
escape valve - a valve in a container in which pressure can build up (as a steam boiler); it opens automatically when the pressure reaches a dangerous level.
It’s an escape valve in the sense that it enables (almost) anything to be built on Airtable with enough effort. If you can’t quite get to what you want with existing functionality you can brute force it with some custom code. Want to identify duplicates on the fly? Call Youtube’s API? Create template tasks from a project? You can’t do any of those with existing functionality but if you’re motivated, you can write (or reuse) a script.
Once I understood the concept I started seeing escape valves everyone! Zapier provides an open code step while Webflow offers custom code to be added to any page.
You might be thinking so escape valves are…code?
Sorta! Escape valves must be a level of abstraction above the no-code tool. The only time you would inject custom code in your page is if Webflow itself cannot generate that code for you using the GUI!
But that doesn’t mean you’re off on your own. Airtable, Webflow, Zapier all host and run the code for you. They abstract everything except the code. That’s no easy feat!
This brings me to my favorite escape valve: the incoming webhook trigger in Airtable. With this new trigger, you can integrate pretty much any service! Mailchimp, Memberstack, Webflow, Stripe, Slack, {insert your favourite SaaS tools here} offer webhooks. Simply tell the service to send updates to the URL provided by Airtable and you’ve now integrated the two services! Airtable will parse the response for you just like it would any other service it’s fully integrated with.
Does this mean that there’s no need for new triggers? Well no, webhooks aren’t perfect and don’t make every usecase for every service possible (note that incoming webhooks + custom code do make most services integrable!).
Until the moment every service is integrated (and that will take a while!), you can rely on webhooks to get you most of the way there.
So if you’re feeling pressure to integrate a tool into Airtable and don’t know how, remember that the incoming webhook may be the release valve you’re looking for!
Airtable tip: Multisource sync!
Announced in March without too much fanfare is multisource sync! This is a HUGE change. The changes are two pronged:
1/ You can now sync multiple sources into one table. That means you can take multiple “project tables” from various bases and aggregate all of them into one source of truth for all projects. It remains a one way sync: the aggregated sync cannot push changes into the sources.
2/ You can now sync from external sources! This means you can bring in external sources into an Airtable base. For now, the sources you can sync from are Salesforce, Jira, Google calendar and Box. These remain one way syncs so no changes in Airtable can be reflected in the external source.
1,000 readers: a milestone
The newsletter hit an exciting milestone last week: 1,000 subscribers. I’m honored that you take the time once a week to read this newsletter. I did not believe that the intersection of “enjoys no-code automation” and “wants to read a long form newsletter about it” had so many people but I couldn’t be more excited.
Earlier this year, I shared that I wanted the stream to a place where the we congregate to learn. In order to achieve that, I couldn’t be the only host. You all know much more than I can ever show: Chris Messina taught us Alfred App, Victoria Plummer showed us how to structure bases, Ben Collins taught us to write scripts in google sheets and much more.
After 49 editions of this newsletter written solely by me, I think it’s time we do the same here. So starting next week, I will be opening up the newsletter to guest posters! The near future line up includes Zoelle Egner (@zoelle), David Peterson (@edavidpeterson), Shawn Wang (@swyx), and the always trusty Stephen O'Grady (@orishnal). I hope to alternate a guest poster every other week.
I hope you’ll give as much attention to the guest posters as you have to me. I, for one, cannot wait to read their point of view. If the stream is any indication, it’ll be better for it.
If you’d like to pen a piece for this newsletter, reply to this email with what you’d like to write about and why you’re qualified to write about it!
Keep building!
Aron
Thanks to Stephen O'Grady (@orishnal) for reviewing this newsletter every week before it reaches your inbox!
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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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