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Airtable: I'll take that data to go

Will Porter's review of Airtable is online now at Macworld:

Rucksack TeXnology clients may be very interested in Airtable. It's a relational database management system that has many advantages. It's free to get started (and possibly free to stay with). On computers, it runs in any web browser in pretty much any operating system. On smart phones, at the moment it's available only for iOS devices, but an Android app is in the works and coming soon.

How's Airtable compare to FileMaker?

FileMaker is a much more powerful tool: not just a more powerful RDBMS, but a much more powerful application development system, that is, a more powerful user-interface builder.

But surprisingly often, you don't need the user-interface tools that FileMaker provides. You just need to store data for later retrieval. In that case, Airtable may beat the pants off FileMaker, because Airtable costs nothing to start using and may cost nothing to keep using, and because it's so easy to use.

Photography analogy: FileMaker Pro is like my Olympus O-MD E-M1: Powerful, customizable, but challenging. Airtable is like the DxO ONE: Powerful, too, albeit in a more limited way, yet delightfully easy to use.

I like FileMaker Pro and even if I didn't, there's simply no way for me to rewrite CMAssistant or Acquittal or my other key apps using Airtable. But I like Airtable a lot, too, for different things. It's great to have more than one tool available. I'll be writing more about Airtable in the future and I expect I'll be recommending it  to some of my clients.


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