Business / Enterprise level light database & interface builder

February 17, 2024

Week 6:

This week the Embark course covered an introduction to Airtable, an enterprise grade light database and interface tool. Airtable is a well known and widely used tool, with the ability to build simple databases, integrate other tools and business processes, and add in automation and interfaces on top of your database. I use Airtable every day for work, and have a pretty good amount of experience in it at this point. It is an overall very powerful tool, and can be used to help support many business processes.

Embark Project:

The project was to create a project management tool of any kind. The primary goals were to illustrate understanding and proficiency in the database design and linking tools. Airtable allows you to easily link records from one table to another. Once linked to a record, you have access to other tools like "Lookup" which allows you to retrieve columns of information from the linked table, or "Rollup" which allows you to easily summarize information from your linked table.

Portfolio Entry:

I decided to make a simplified mockup of a CRM with Project Management capabilities built into it to demonstrate the power of Airtable. In my CRM I created 4 tables: Customers, Contacts, Projects, and Tasks. I linked tables and used lookup and rollup fields to allow deep insights for my hypothetical business operation. Some best practices to keep in mind when building efficient tables is the various data types and table record connections. For example for a CRM, you may allows contacts to link to your customers, however each contact should only be associated with a single customer. Similarly, Projects may have many tasks, but each task is specific to a single project. Using these methods you can control your data and ensure you avoid duplication or incorrect crossover. This becomes important when you build reports or views with filters, and want to view all things pertaining to a single customer or contact, etc.

Some additional fields I decided to include to add extended functionality for this hypothetical use case, I created an hourly tracking field on the task level. Our users would be able to track the amount of time spent on each task. I then added a rollup field on the project level, to see how much time has been spent on each project. This allows us to add a formula field that calculates our hourly billing rate against total hours spent, to keep track of costs on each project. Finally we can add a rollup field for the total costs to the customer level, and now we can track these costs by each customer.

View my Airtable:

Want to see my example project? You can view a live demo of this table by clicking here!

Dustin Doucette - 2024