Is AirTable still the best online database option supported by Intuiface?

excel

#1

Questions for the API experts out there. Is AirTable still the best Intuiface supported platform for cloud databases? I’m wondering if down the road it’ll be possible to use Excel online with Intuiface.
Here is a use case:

  • Customer is already a subscriber of Office 365 and is familiar with the Excel UI
  • Customer updates Excel in the cloud and changes are reflected in local Intuiface installation
  • Customer doesn’t need to learn new tools or subscribe to new database services

I understand that authentication is currently a roadblock. Is Google Sheets another alternative?
Thanks!


#2

It would certainly be nice to offer support for Excel 365 and Sheets but a reason for doing so is NOT that they could serve as an Airtable replacement.

Airtable is a true CMS/database, Excel 365/Sheets are spreadsheets. It would be extra work to reproduce Airtable functionality, e.g. as it pertains to content storage. (And I’m sure Airtable uniquely offers a lot more capability than that.)

Again, I’m not arguing that support for Excel 365/Sheets wouldn’t be good, I’m just saying that Airtable would be the better “database option” even if we did support Excel 365 and Sheets. There are, of course, alternatives to Airtable - e.g. Fusioo or Zoho Creator - but I’m not sure they’re any better.

As you say, I believe both Excel 365 and Sheets complicate authentication in a way that we cannot yet handle. I’m also told we have some theories about how to solve it but the solution is non-trivial so there’s nothing currently in the pipeline.

Colleagues of mine will surely have more insight on the technical side.


#3

Geoff, from a developer’s point of view AirTable would be the way to go, but from a client’s point of view, excel is much simpler and easy to understand. I can relate to Paolo’s post as I have had a few requests whether this was possible to manage over a cloud.

Excel makes it easier for the end user - tell them what format to enter stuff in and where to put the files. With AirTable they’d need to learn something. I tried AirTable and took me a while to get a hang of things.

It would really be good if excel could be worked out @tosolini did you consider google drive ?


#4

@melvin_br Are you suggesting Google Drive to host the Excel file and let it replicate locally? We tested such solution, but it has limits. For example, I can update the file on Google Drive but I need a third party sync utility to copy it in the right Intuiface folder under Files > Intuiface Assets etc.

An alternative is to run the XP off the local version of G Drive. This will work, but only for one PC. Not sure how multiple XP instances could run off the same synced Excel.

Users love and understand Excel. Thus my question about keeping supporting it even in the cloud.


#5

Hi all,

We definitely considered O365 & Google spreadsheets, but as Geoff mentioned, a spreadsheet is not a database and is not meant / designed to host content other than values in cells.
Tools like Airtable makes it easy & reliable to upload media content (image, pdf, small videos) while, as far as I know, it’s not the case with an Excel file where you’d have to reference a link to an image hosted on your onedrive. It’s doable for sure, but probably much less convenient than a simple drag&drop of the image in the “cell” in Airtable.

On top of that, there’s indeed the authentication process which is, let me say it, a nightmare in the 0365 world. We are investigating it for other purposes (calendar, sharepoint, …) with very little results so far.

If anyone has a good knowledge about O365 authentication mechanisms & APIs, please let us know and we’ll see if we can work together to sort this out.

Seb


#6

@tosolini, Google drive to host the entire XP. I tested something like this and found it works. You create the XP and put it into your local Google Drive folder, whenever you make changes it automatically syncs. You then share that link with your client, they can then see it in their shared folder and run it off there. They can then make changes (you need to give them edit permissions).

You dont need a third party sync utility as the google drive sync takes care of it. It saved me alot of time. Earlier, I had to keep zipping and transferring the whole XP and it was a pain if the XP was huge, as my internet upload speed here is not good. With Google Drive, the whole thing goes in once and then its only the changes.


#7

@melvyn_br Thanks for the suggestion. I think it’s a viable solution indeed. I need to check what happens when multiple installations access the same source replicated across the cloud. It might work as long as it’s read only.

@seb I get your point about AirTable being a better choice. Thanks all!


#8

Agreed about the “multiple installations” concern. I don’t have the product savvy to know all of the cases in which Player is writing to an experience during execution. If it does write in unanticipated ways, it could cause a problem for all of the other Player instances accessing the same project.

It’s another question for my more technical colleagues. :slight_smile: