How SmartSuite is solving all of the Airtable pain points

What were you “loyal” to before Airtable? :wink:

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@apogee we have Integrations page now and we plan on adding it within the product. If you create something happy to include it on that page for now until we create an ext marketplace which will be coming next year.

Please understand that Smartsuite is only 2 years on the market. Performance is our top priority and we have teams working directly with AWS to address the recent issues.

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Thanks @Avi Glad to hear! Would you be open for a quick discussion on potential pain points or opportunities for app development?

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Sure! Please feel free to email me at @apoee

Just a quick comment to the community - y’all know I’m a Coda lover, and I often complain that Airtable’s text support is abysmal and cannot be used to develop text-centric apps that include data. I took @Avi’s advice and looked at the SmartDoc field for a future article. I was skeptical about this rich text field, so to prove I should be skeptical, I dropped in a very large whitepaper I was developing in Coda. It has images, links, callouts, and even a table.

It all just worked (with one minor exception). I’m impressed. It seems to support a more complete Markdown.

The only part it couldn’t handle was this callout, but it failed gracefully. A+ truth in advertising for SmartDoc; it is truly a smart field.


Hi @Avi,

Your video covered one of the very common use cases, which is:

  • After choosing an employee of our company, only showing a list of the customer accounts that that employee is assigned to.

Similarly, an extremely common use scenario is:

  • After choosing a company, only show a list of the employees that work at that chosen company.

Additionally, the need for dynamic filtering comes up in almost every customer’s solution. Here are some other great examples:

  • On a purchase order for a particular vendor, picking items that are sold by the chosen vendor only.
  • After choosing a state, picking from the cities or office locations that only exist in that state.
  • After choosing an item on an invoice, only show the color/size options that relate to that particular item.
  • After choosing the make of the car, only showing the models that are related to that make.
  • On a client’s invoice, when typing up line items, only show the list of services and products to choose from that that client has signed up to receive.
  • On a customer’s order form, only show the list of discounts that that customer is qualified to receive. (Similarly, for any particular item, only show the list of discounts that have been approved for that item.)

Also, a few other questions for you, Avi, regarding linked record fields:

  1. In SmartSuite, when adding a linked record, can we search by any field to find the record from the other table? People have been requesting this feature for 10 years in Airtable, which restricts us to searching the primary field only.

  2. In SmartSuite, when adding a linked record, I see from your video that we can choose the sorting (and of course filtering) of the displayed records. This is truly awesome! :grinning: Those are other features that people have wanted for years in Airtable. Question: Can we customize the field ordering of the displayed records? And can this field ordering be unique for each linked record field — independently from the other linked record fields? Airtable makes all of this extremely difficult and sometimes impossible.

  3. The previous questions were about what happens while actively choosing linked records. This question is about what happens after choosing linked records. After all the linked records are finished being chosen for a linked record field, in what order are the linked records displayed within the field? Ideally, all the chosen linked records should be automatically sorted by any field that we desire from the related table.

  4. When I first played around with SmartSuite about 7 or 8 months ago, I stumbled onto a handful of bugs. I believe I reported them at the time, because I don’t remember them now! Most of them were relatively small bugs, but one was a gigantic one that caused permanent data loss. On the mobile app (I believe I was using my iPad), if I expanded a record to view its detailed view, it gave me the ability to update all the data in all the fields. This is what I would expect. However, after typing in all of the data into all of the fields that I wanted to save, I tapped in the background to be taken back to the grid view’s list of records. SmartSuite did not save any of the data that I had typed. It just deleted all of the data in all of the fields that I updated, because it apparently expected me to hit the “Save” button instead of tapping elsewhere on the screen. But data should never be deleted without confirming the deletion with the user first. Alternatively, even better, the system should always assume that the user wants their data saved, which is what Airtable does. Do you know if this significant bug has been fixed?

Thanks again for working hard to make the product that we wish Airtable had made!


Hahaha! This is such a great example of how the free market works. Company #1 shuns its customers? Company #2 comes in to solve the problems.


Also, one other note, @Avi:

In addition to the ongoing Airtable feature list here which I am still working on (I have 80+ other feature requests to type up), there is a big request that comes up all the time.

It just came up again on the Airtable community forums today at this link.

This feature request is for wrappable column headers so we don’t need to keep our column widths extra-wide just to see the full name of the field.

Do you know if this feature will be coming to SmartSuite soon?

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Another similar feature request is:

Conditionally-colored cells and manually-colored cells: All spreadsheet apps have always had this functionality, but it’s not available in Airtable. We need the ability to color our cells, both manually and conditionally.

Does everyone love how we have to submit our Airtable feature requests to SmartSuite, because they’re the only ones who are listening to customer feedback? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


After watching the video, my understanding is there is now more access to create relationships than before, except I don’t see the feature yet in my trial instance of SmartSuite.

On the other hand, about the task portrayed in the video, a more disciplined workflow controlled by UI would only let a user start from the Account, including the ability to see and choose the account’s contacts, then create the so-called Opportunity. The process is the same when creating an invoice and so much more.

From the video script…
“Well, why are we making the sales rep do the extra work of finding all those contacts when we know that we really want the contacts who work at Bloom Joy?”
…exactly. I believe the process was faulty from the start.

Correction: In fact, I do have the feature but was working a bit faster than system response at the time.

Thank you all for all this valuable information. 1000s of hours invested in Airtable yet I am truly open to moving away. My trust in the company has been shattered over the last few months.

I started a free account to take a look around. What I am missing the most, and this is a real must have for us, is a true, built in front end interface. This was the main attraction for Airtable and why we went there from Salesforce. We need our users not to come in contact with tables (the backend). And yes, I know there are other 3rd party solutions but I am looking for a native solution. Dashboards seem like a good way to create a single interface but there is no way to organise them as a solitary front end experience.


I feel the same way that I am truly open to moving away from Airtable.

My loyalty is based on: (a) the best products + (b) the products that treat me & my clients the best.

I think that Airtable is doing a fantastic job at ruining people’s trust in it. I also think that SmartSuite still has further to go to catch up to Airtable’s core features. When it does, it could be a tipping point for many people.

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Anyone know what the database engines that Airtable and / or SmartSuite use?

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That would be a native front end for us. Within minutes I have already discovered many things I really like and miss at Airtable (or at least now I do).

We also would need integrators like Whalesync and Wized to adapt SmartSuite as they bind us to Airtable for the moment.

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I’m a huge fan of SmartSuite, nearly entirely won over and have generally switched my thinking for client projects now from airtable first to smartsuite first.

But. The one thing that is holding me back with SS is concerns about performance and reliability - as some have mentioned above. Say what you like about Airtable but it is solid, robust, battle-tested and reliable. I don’t have any fears building in AT, its more whether the features support what you need

With SS I have this niggling concern that something might go wrong with the performance or reliability. If I’m recommending to a client they shift their entire company operations over to a new platform - their new “Work OS”, to use smartsuite’s phrase - it has to be absolutely bullet proof. I’ve found bits of weirdness playing around with it occasionally like

  • I created a new column and it wouldn’t show until I refreshed the page
  • I was selecting text in the formula box and deleting it and it wouldn’t delete
  • changed from dashboard to grid view and it kept jumping back to grid view
  • a bug (which I reported) where if you copy+paste into a linked record field it creates the link in the view you’re looking at but no corresponding record in the other table you’re linking to. I feel like a tighter testing regime would have picked this up

I really hope SS are investing seriously in performance, reliability and testing (as someone said above - instead of just building more features) so that these concerns can fade away, the platform has so much potential!


Tom, thank you for the kind words about the platform. We have invested thousands of hours of time into bringing innovative and effective features to support the workflows you are building out for your clients.

That being said, my primary focus as CTO has been - and remains - ensuring the scalability and reliability of those workflows into the future. We have recently made significant investments in our AWS infrastructure, have engaged with an AWS Premier tier DevOps partner to further extend our monitoring and optimization capabilities, and have tooled the platform so that every aspect of its operation is monitored, alerted on and able to provide us with real-time visibility into all of its workloads.

The next stage in this development is preparing our infrastructure for geographically-dispersed deployments to best accommodate our customers’ needs for global responsiveness and privacy compliance. AWS themselves have contributed funds for this effort as we continue to build out our global infrastructure and proceed with our expansion plans.

It is my commitment to the SmartSuite community to regularly update on our efforts and transparently describe our plans to become even more robust in our offerings and commitment to operational stability, reliability and resilience. SmartSuite as an organization is committed to the goal of delivering the “bullet proof” platform you describe.


Hi Peter, and welcome to Table Forums!

I’m trying to recall a single case where Howie Liu posted on the Airtable Community since 2018, when I joined and began using Airtable. Not only is your comment timely, but it is also a good read and demonstrates a degree of transparency and vision that got you guys started on this path.

I haven’t done much with SmartSuite, primarily because of timing and long-running projects that cannot turn on a dime. However, I’ve already found some very powerful aspects of your platform that I intend to leverage for my own companies and clients.

Thanks for weighing in!


Hey @tobias we are exploring the idea of interfaces but for now we are taking the approach of dashboards internally and product like EasyPortal, WeWeb, Noloco, etc. for external use.

Would you mind sharing your use case for interfaces?

Interesting! We currently have the ability to color based on conditions but the manual option is def a nice twist.

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