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Welcome to BuiltOnAir, a podcast and video series about all things Airtable. Each episode, we talk with someone active in the Airtable community to discuss their experiences and showcase an interesting way they’ve used Airtable in their work.
On today’s episode, we speak with Bill French: technology innovator and entrepreneur. Bill founded Global Technologies Corporation in 1981, giving him over 30 years of experience in software products and services. You may recognize his name from the Airtable Community Forum, where he regularly shares his advice, professional insight and tools he has built with Airtable.
When a company using Airtable reached out for Bill’s help in 2016, he was quickly compelled by the product’s logical and sleek design. He could see the value that a “no-code” environment provides users. However, Bill also expertly points out that “no-code” is also code for “potentially limiting”, which is where he comes in.
When it comes to adding new features, Bill often tells his clients to “add plumbing, rather than a second kitchen sink”. He thoughtfully applies this to Airtable’s new scripting block. If Airtable is a kitchen sink, the scripting block is new plumbing allowing us to build what we want. We discuss the block at length, and get to see some of the awesome things he has built.
Bill shows us a few scripts he has written for the new block, complete with many tips and tricks. He demonstrates “BlockChaining”, in which he is able to run one block after another. Check out the show notes for a link to the post Bill wrote about this. He also shows us “Dot”. “Dot” is a program he wrote in the scripting block, which he calls a tribute to an early program called dBase, which was navigated by a dot prompt line. Dot allows Bill to drill down into his tables to sift through his data in more advanced ways.
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