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How to allow clients to manage your no-code builds with Airtable Interfaces

I help a lot of people set up bases for their marketplaces or sometimes even for clients, and a question that keeps coming up is how can you allow your clients to safely manage their Airtable base without overwhelming them with the complex setup?

October 18, 2022

If you are building marketplaces or directories for clients using the Webflow and Airtable stack, then you might want to set up a system that allows your clients to safely manage their sites without you needing to give them access to any Airtable bases or the Webflow CMS.

The problem with clients editing in Airtable or Webflow directly

I help a lot of businesses set up directories and marketplaces, and one of the most common issues I have run into is that Airtable and Webflow can be really overwhelming to someone brand new to the tools.

Oftentimes, they don't want to become Airtable or Webflow experts, they simply want to know how they can create and update information on their site. Even, if you do manage to teach them certain aspects of these tools, you always run the risk that certain changes that someone inexperienced in Airtable or Webflow makes, can lead to breaking changes with your workflows.

The easiest way to manage that risk is to have control over what can and cannot be changed, by setting up Airtable interfaces.

The power of Airtable interfaces

Screenshot of Airtable Interface

Airtable interfaces are a way for you to create simple interfaces for your different records. Rather than displaying every field in your table, you can handpick what information can see in a particular view.

This makes working with Airtable significantly less overwhelming for your clients and you can ensure that they don't accidentally change things like views that might trigger workflows.

One big requirement for clients with no-code marketplaces, directories or sites that use multiple tools is to have control over creating and updating information on their website. Luckily Airtable Interfaces allows us to edit and create records via interfaces. All we need to do is to connect those actions to workflows inside of our preferred automation tools.

Goes without saying that if you prefer to run everything natively using Airtable scripts, you are more than welcome to.

How to run make.com workflows from the Airtable Interface

There are three steps involved with setting up your Airtable Interface workflows in make.com. First, we need to configure our Interface in a way that would be useful to our clients or team members.

Part 1: Configuring the interface designer

Screenshot of Airtable Interface in edit mode

Start by configuring your preferred layout and then connecting the table relevant to this interface. Once you have selected your table, you will be able to pull in whatever field you need in that table.

Once you you have added all the fields you want your client to see, you can take it a step further by making specific fields editable. You will see how the fields change as they are switched from view-only to editable.

You might want to make some fields like the "Webflow ID" or "Slug" view only because we definitely don't want them making changes to those fields.

Once you have set up your interface, we want to add a button element that we can use trigger our Airtable Automation that will trigger our make.com workflow.

Simply add a new button element, create a new automation and configure your Airtable automation once redirected.

Part 2: Configure your workflows in Airtable automations

Airtable Automation with script action

Setting up your Airtable Automation is simple. Because you have configured this workflow from inside of your Interface your button field will already be defined as the trigger. Every time your client clicks the button in the interface, they will start this workflow. Now, as I said before, you want to run a workflow using scripts or some of Airtable's native automation steps, you are more than welcome to do so. Because my workflows typically involve multiple tools like Webflow, Memberstack and more, I just like to configure from inside of make.com.

In order for us to run our script in make.com, we will need to fire a webhook which what our script is for:

let record = input.config();

let webhook = '';

let urlParams = record.airtableID;

let call = await fetch (`${webhook}?recordID=${urlParams}`);

console.log (call);

Simply copy and paste the code snippet above into Airtable automations and modify the script by 1) adding your input.config function, which will be responsible for passing through your Airtable ID and 2) your webhook URL that you will receive when you create a webhook in make.com in the next step

Part 3: Configure your make.com automation

a make.com workflow

The most important part of setting up your make.com workflow is the trigger module, which is our webhook and our "Get a record" action which will retrieve all information from Airtable about the record that was triggered in the workflow.

Because, we are retrieving all Airtable values with our "Get a record" step, we don't actually need to pass through any additional variables with our webhook.

Once you have created your webhook URL, all that is left to do is to copy and paste the webhook URL into our script in step 2.

From here it is simply a matter of testing our workflow and configuring our workflow with whatever action steps we need.

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