Thank you for the article. It answers a few but not all of my questions, namely:
The article says that sections are optional, so if a field is not in a section, do they appear differently than before? When you click on a field not in a section, do its Appearance options let you control if the field title is placed to the left or at the top, or is the only option now “field title is to the left”?
Can non-field elements like charts, record pickers, etc. still be placed on the detail page? If so, do those go in sections or “loose” on the page?
-The only options are to hide or show different fields from the records. I haven’t tried attachment fields, but there isn’t a way to add elements like the interface designer
-sections are basically just separate titled areas in the same sidesheet with the same ‘hide/show field’ mechanic
What do the row sections look like?
-It’s hard to describe, but basically, it’s a header area with a title and a button, then fields below it in a list
Is this behavior only in place of you drag from the right side bar, or does it also affect layouts if you use the “Add element” floating menu at the bottom right?
-there is no ‘add element’ floating menu for sidesheets anymore. This occurs when a record is clicked on an interface to get more detail. I hope that answers your question.
The article says that sections are optional, so if a field is not in a section, do they appear differently than before?
-extra sections are optional, I think is the more accurate response. The entire sidesheet is a section.
When you click on a field not in a section, do its Appearance options let you control if the field title is placed to the left or at the top, or is the only option now “field title is to the left”?
There’s the generic field options for font size: default, large, or extra large. That’s it. Can’t resize the fields or orient them.
All very helpful, thank you. I’m less concerned that field titles are to the left than I am concerned that you can no longer use a chart, record picker, or anything that’s not a field or button on a detail page.
Reducing a detail page to just fields, and in a more rigid layout, begs the question why anyone would use a detail page at all.
Quite possibly, I am angrier about this change than I have been about any of Airtable’s past changes.
These new details pages are basically an expanded record (like in a data view) with the ability to have sections with buttons. Users have spent years saying that the expanded record design is inadequate.
no elements except fields, not even freeform static text. No charts, record pickers, numbers, etc.
strictly vertical layout
cannot have the same field appear multiple times (in very long pages it can be useful to repeat fields)
I try to be patient when Airtable release features that include only a small fraction of what people want. I understand that there are technical hurdles to deal with. I understand that mistakes get made and things sometimes break and need to be fixed. While not a fan of the home screen re-design, I figured out how to find my bases and workspaces.
However, this is an intentional crippling of previous features with no reasonable workaround.
You can still make fields side-by-side. For whatever fields are visible, you add them to a section and make that section use row instead of column.
Sections can have titles and descriptions, both of which can be turned off section by section. Descriptions can use rich text, and titles have 2 size options.
When you add a linked record field, you have the option of changing its display from cards or pills, to grids, galleries, etc. See the image example for “Members”.
If you do the above, you can use Tabs/Dopdowns filter like you can on the newer “full” interface pages. Very helpful, likely the best part about the changes in my book, and something many have been requesting. See screenshot below.
None of my existing detail pages have been changed. The options are only there for brand new detail pages.
Major Negatives (my personal opinion):
While yes, you can still have horizontally placed fields, you have to create a section for each row, select the “row” option instead of the default (which is column).
You also can’t decide which field should be what width. The field width is evenly distributed, which will not work in all cases.
The maximum number of side-by-side fields is 4, the 5th and so on fields will wrap to a new row. That’s not inherently bad, but again I have no control on the width of fields.
It doesn’t seem like sections in full-screen detail pages can span the full width of the page anymore. There used to be options for “narrow” and “wide” rows, now we can only have narrow sections but not wide sections. I have a lot of screen real estate and I want to use it, but can’t.
Colored backgrounds are gone. They were helpful in visually breaking up pages.
You can’t make the title of the page/record sticky (remain in view on scroll, as the back button is) anymore.
Record Pickers aren’t placeable anymore. Neither are arbitrary text elements (which appear by default as Section titles/descriptions) or dividers or filters, but that is trivial (to me) than not being able to place a record picker. Since filters get baked into the liked record elements, that one isn’t such a negative to me.
Nitpicking (still my personal opinion):
Action buttons applied to sections feel backwards to me. The first button I added is named “Action 1”. As you can see, the more buttons you add, the get added to the left. In left-to-right languages, it feels like that should be the other way around. Minor, but strange.
While I appreciate the placement of comments in the fullscreen and side sheet layout (comments are optional, and can be turned off), it would be better to allow multiple different options for this. Maybe I want comments to be at the bottom and not the side. If their on the side as shown in the picture, I would like them to be collapsable.
Each section gets a divider put underneath it automatically. You can’t turn this off, or adjust the spacing between sections. Would be great if you could.
Somebody out there probably wants to use a grid/gallery/etc. on a detail page that doesn’t relate to linked records. That person isn’t me, but that feature is now gone.
Sections might open the door to anchor tags to allow you to direct link to a part of the page (i.e. a section at the bottom of a really long page). That would be very useful.
A more rigid building experience does mean it will be easier for Airtable to turn these into mobile-ready views, at least in theory.
Not as bad as I was expecting from looking at screenshots of un-designed pages, but worse than I’d like for the reasons above. I’m sure they can fix what I’ve pointed out, the question is will they.
The new update does allow you to directly add new linked records. That means creating new records, unlinking a currently linked record, or deleting a linked record. Like elsewhere in newer “full page” interface pages, you can independently toggle whether someone can link/unlink records, or create new records. The old layouts did not allow for this and required workarounds.
Also new detail pages are very responsive. Adjust the width of your browser to test. Not bad, though not all elements are suited for a small screen, and may mean mobile-interfaces are very near.
I don’t think you can adjust the height of any linked record sections except for Gallery (which lets you choose how many rows of card there are). This is bad. What if I want a lot of space for a grid/list? Can’t do that yet it seems.
While you can create new linked records, you can’t just quickly create a new row/card. It pulls up a form view of your choosing. But that can potentially slow down a workflow. A plus button in the bottom left as available in the data view would be nice.
Also the “unlink” right click option might be bugged lol. Great that it will be in place eventually when fixed, but it is not currently unlinking records when I click it.
This was also magically applied to all my new bases this week. Luckily it did not impact my existing interfaces. I suspect this is the latest step of their product roadmap to make interfaces mobile-friendly, which is supposedly coming “this summer.” But zero notice is a rude move and pretty typical that they’d just turn this on for some folks without any communication about why, who it impacts, what’s changed, etc.