I thought it might be interesting to discuss what different methods people have been using to distribute bases.
I’ve been tinkering with doing it via API (copying bases between workspaces owned and not owned).
The classic way is manually copying bases into client workspaces.
Any other methods you fine folks like to use?
Welcome to the community, @sleepyjoe!
I don’t think the API allows copying bases between workspaces… I believe that it only allows moving (not copying) a base from one workspace to another workspace within the same Enterprise plan.
So unfortunately, I don’t think that the process of copying a base can be automated.
Maybe others have some better insights on this than me!
I think that the easiest way of distributing a base would be to duplicate the base within your own workspace, share the duplicated base with one person, and have them copy it into their own workspace. Then, after they’re done copying it, you can delete the duplicated base.
The advantages of this method are: You don’t need access to their workspace, and by only sharing the base with one person, you keep their email address private. (When you share a base with multiple people, the email addresses of the other users are exposed).
I’m very much an API noob, so just about anybody would have more insight than me.
I’m currently tinkering with a ‘get base schema’ api call, and then creating a base in another workspace (with proper authorization, of course).
Not sure it will work…
Also, thank you so much for replying! I see you all the time in the official community. You’re always really helpful.
Is this where the real airtable community is? It seems so much more active, and I’m assuming it exists because the new official community kinda sucks? (you don’t have to answer that).
The drawback I continually run into with the method you suggest is how time-consuming it is. It requires manual effort, and that just doesn’t feel efficient to me.
Unfortunately, the problem here is that the API doesn’t let you create interfaces, formula fields, rollup fields, lookup fields, views, filters, sorts, extensions, and more. So the problem is that you can’t actually recreate an entire base by using the API.
These sorts of API limitations are actually why even an incredible Airtable backup tool like On2Air Backups can only backup “most” of a base, and it can’t restore a base.
Aw, thanks so much! You’re welcome! I don’t spend much time in the official community anymore, ever since they got rid of the old community.
Haha, no comment!
But yes, most of the top Airtable consultants, experts, and top contributors to the old forum have moved over here now! Be sure to tell all your friends & family about the “real” community here!
It should only take a few seconds to duplicate & share a base.
My guess is that Airtable’s limitations in these regards are probably because they don’t see themselves as a software distribution platform. I think they see themselves as a platform for people who want to create their own custom bases for their own unique needs. I’m not sure if they’ll ever make it easier to distribute bases, but they have recently added more functionality than ever into the API, so perhaps there are more improvements to come in the future!
Welcome to TableForums!
When it comes to distributing bases, I find there are different types of “distributing”.
- Transferring ownership of a custom build from the consultant to the client
- Distributing the design of a base as a template to multiple customers/users
- Providing updates to the schema of an existing base
For transferring ownership of a custom base build, I like to use a free “transfer” workspace for purposes of transfer only. When it is time to do the transfer, the consultant adds the client as a creator on the transfer workspace and moves the base into the transfer workspace. The client then moves the base out of the transfer workspace and into his own workspace. Finally, the consultant removes the client from the transfer workspace. This method is free and does not expose any data or bases that are unrelated to the base in question. This method also retains the base ID and all other table/field/share IDs that may need to stay the same for any third party integrations. This is a manual process, but it is also very quick.
For distributing a base as a template, I find that adding users to the base as read-only collaborators and having them duplicate the base works best. Duplicating a base retains all the schema, formulas, automations, interfaces, etc. The recipient of the base does need to turn on automations after the duplication. Any third party integrations will also need to be rebuilt or redirected to the new base. Email addresses are exposed to other people with access to the base, but duplicating a base is usually very quick and people can remove themselves from the base as soon as the duplication is done. The process can also be fairly quick for the initial designer of the base because you can publish a base share link and instructions so distributing to more clients/customers does not add any time to the original developer.
For the third use case of providing updates to the schema of an existing base, I don’t have any good solutions.
I could not have asked for a better explanation of all the potential distribution methods.
I can’t thank you enough, @Kuovonne. Another legend in the airtable community!
Those definitely seem pretty easy, though I can’t help but wish it could be as simple as pressing a button and an API call gets it all done.
Thank you again SO much. You guys are awesome.