Ruby wrapper for Airtable, your personal database
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README.md

Airrecord

Airrecord is an alternative Airtable Ruby libary to airtable-ruby. Airrecord attempts to enforce a more database-like API to Airtable.

You can add this line to your Gemfile to use Airrecord:

gem 'airrecord'

A quick example to give an idea of the API that Airrecord provides:

Airrecord.api_key = "key1"

class Tea < Airrecord::Table
  self.base_key = "app1"
  self.table_name = "Teas"

  has_many :brews, class: 'Brew', column: "Brews"

  def self.chinese
    all(filter: '{Country} = "China"')
  end

  def self.cheapest_and_best
    all(sort: { "Rating" => "desc", "Price" => "asc" })
  end

  def location
    [self[:village], self[:country], self[:region]].compact.join(", ")
  end

  def green?
    self[:type] == "Green"
  end
end

class Brew < Airrecord::Table
  self.base_key = "app1"
  self.table_name = "Brews"

  belongs_to :tea, class: 'Tea', column: 'Tea'

  def self.hot
    all(filter: "{Temperature} > 90")
  end

  def done_brewing?
    self[:created_at] + self[:duration] > Time.now
  end
end

teas = Tea.all
tea = teas.first
tea[:country] # access atribute
tea.location # instance methods
tea[:brews] # associated brews

A short-hand API for definitions and more ad-hoc querying is also available:

Tea = Airrecord.table("api_key", "app_key", "Teas")

Tea.all.each do |record|
  puts "#{record.id}: #{record[:name]}"
end

Tea.find("rec3838")

Documentation

Authentication

To obtain your API client, navigate to the Airtable's API page, select your base and obtain your API key and application token.

You can provide a global API key with:

Airrecord.api_key = "your api key"

The app token has to be set on the definitions of the tables (see API below). You can override the API key per table.

Table

The Airrecord API is centered around definitions of Airrecord::Table from which the definitions of your tables inherit. This is analogous to ActiveRecord::Base. For example, we may have a Base to track teas we have tried.

Airrecord.api_key = "your api key" # see authentication section

class Tea < Airrecord::Table
  self.base_key = "app1"
  self.table_name = "Teas"

  def location
    [self[:village], self[:country], self[:region]].compact.join(", ")
  end
end

This gives us a class that maps to records in a table. Class methods are available to fetch records on the table.

Listing Records

Retrieval of multiple records is done through #all. To get all records in a table:

Tea.all # array of Tea instances

You can use all options supported by the API (they are documented on the API page for your base). By default #all will traverse all pages, see below on how to control pagination.

To use filterbyFormula to filter returned records:

# Retrieve all teas from China
Tea.all(filter: '{Country} = "China"')

# Retrieve all teas created in the past week
Tea.all(filter: "DATETIME_DIFF(CREATED_TIME(), TODAY(), 'days') < 7")

# Retrieve all teas that don't have a country defined
Tea.all(filter: "{Country} = \"\"")

This filtering can, of course, also be done in Ruby directly after calling #all without filter, however, it may be more efficient to let Airtable filter if you have a lot of records.

You can use view to only fetch records from a specific view. This is less ad-hoc than filterByFormula:

# Retrieve all teas in the green tea view
Tea.all(view: "Green")

# Retrieve all Japanese teas
Tea.all(view: "Japan")

The sort option can be used to sort results returned from the Airtable API.

# Sort teas by the Name column in ascending order
Tea.all(sort: { Name: "asc" })

# Sort teas by Type (green, black, oolong, ..) in descending order
Tea.all(sort: { Type: "desc" })

# Sort teas by price in descending order
Tea.all(sort: { Price: "desc" })

Note again that the key must be the full column name. Snake-cased variants do not work here.

As mentioned above, by default Airrecord will return results from all pages. This can be slow if you have 1000s of records. You may wish to use the view and/or filter option to sort in the results early, instead of doing 10s of calls. Airrecord will always fetch the maximum possible amount of records (100). This means that fetching 1,000 records will take 10 (at least) roundtrips. You can disable pagination (which fetches the first page) by passing paginate: false. This is especially useful if you're looking to fetch a set of recent records from a view or formula in tandem with a sort:

# Only fetch the first page. Sorting is undefined.
Tea.all(paginate: false)

# Give me only the most recent teas
Tea.all(sort: { "Created At": "desc" }, paginate: false)

Creating

Creating a new record is done through #create.

tea = Tea.new("Name" => "Feng Gang", "Type" => "Green", "Country" => "China")
tea.create # creates the record
tea.id # id of the new record
tea[:name] # "Feng Gang", accessed through snake-cased name

Note that when instantiating the new record the column names (keys of the passed named parameters) need to match the exact column names in Airtable, otherwise Airrecord will throw an error that no column matches it.

In the future I hope to provide more convient names for these (snake-cased), however, this is error-prone without a proper schema API from Airtable which has still not been released.

Updating

Updating a record is done by changing the attributes and persistent to Airtable with #save.

tea = Tea.find("someid")
tea[:name] = "Feng Gang Organic"

# Since the Village column is not set, we do not have access to a snake-cased
# variant since the mapping is not determined. For all we know, the correct column
# name could be "VilLlaGe". Therefore, we must use the proper column name.
tea["Village"] = "Feng Gang"

tea.save # persist to Airtable

Deleting

An instantiated record can be deleted through #destroy:

tea = Tea.find("rec839")
tea.destroy # deletes record

File Uploads

Airtable's API requires you to have uploaded your file to an intermediary and providing the URL. Unfortunately, it does not allow uploading directly.

word = World.find("cantankerous")
word["Pronounciation"] = [{url: "https://s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/word-pronunciations/cantankerous.mp3}]
word.save

S3 is a good place to upload files for Airtable. Airrecord does not support this directly, but the snippet below may be helpful:

# Add this to your gemfile
# Full docs at https://docs.aws.amazon.com/sdkforruby/api/Aws/S3/Client.html
require 'aws-sdk-s3'

Aws.config.update(
  credentials: Aws::Credentials.new(access_key, secret_key) # obtain from AWS
  region: 'ca-central-1', # region
)

s3 = Aws::S3::Client.new
s3.put_object({
  body: File.open("cantankerous.mp3"), # IO object
  bucket: 'word-pronunciations',
  key: 'cantankerous.mp3',
  acl: "public-read",
})

Associations

Airrecord supports managing associations between tables by linking Airrecord::Table classes. To continue with our tea example, we may have another table in the base to track brews of a specific tea (temperature, steeping time, rating, ..). A tea thus has many brews:

class Tea < Airrecord::Table
  self.base_key = "app1"
  self.table_name = "Teas"

  has_many :brews, class: 'Brew', column: "Brews"
end

class Brew < Airrecord::Table
  self.base_key = "app1"
  self.table_name = "Brews"

  belongs_to :tea, class: 'Tea', column: 'Tea'
end

This gives us access to a bunch of convenience methods to handle the assocation between the two tables. Note that the two tables need to be in the same base (i.e. have the same base key) otherwise this will not work as Airtable does not support associations across Bases.

Retrieving associated records

To retrieve records from associations to a record:

tea = Tea.find('rec84')
tea[:brews] # brews associated with tea

This in turn works the other way too:

brew = Brew.find('rec849')
brew[:tea] # the associated tea instance

Creating associated records

You can easily associate records with each other:

tea = Tea.find('rec849829')
# This will create a brew associated with the specific tea
brew = Brew.new("Tea" => tea, "Temperature" => "80", "Time" => "4m", "Rating" => "5")
brew.create

Ad-hoc API

Airrtable provides a simple, ad-hoc API that will instantiate an anonymous Airrecord::Table for you on the fly with the configured key, app, and table. This is useful if you require no custom definitions, or you're just playing around.

Tea = Airrecord.table("api_key", "app_key", "Teas")

Tea.all.each do |record|
  puts "#{record.id}: #{record[:name]}"
end

Tea.find("rec3838")

Snake-cased helper methods

When retrieving an existing record from Airtable, snake-cased helper names are available to index attributes. These are only available on retrieved records, and only if the column was set. If it's nil, it will not exist. That means if you want to set column that has a nil value for a column type, you'll have to fully type it out.

Production Middlewares

For production use-cases, it's worth considering adding retries and circuit breakers to Airrecord. This is not enabled by default. Airrecord uses the Faraday gem for HTTP. Similar to Rack, you can add middlewares to provide reusable logic for making HTTP requests.

Configuring Retries

Refer to the documentation for all configuration options.

Airrecord::Table.client.connection.request :retry,
  max: 5, interval: 1, interval_randomness: 2, backoff_factor: 2,
  exceptions: [...] # It's suggested to be explicit here instead of relying on defaults

If you are running background scripts or workers with the sole purpose of communicating with Airtable, it may be worth retrying on failures. Note that this may cause the process to sleep for many seconds, so choose your values carefully.

The Net::HTTP library that Faraday uses behind the scenes by default has opaque exceptions. If you choose to go beyond retrying on timeouts (as is provided by default by the Retry middleware), I suggest referring to a complete list of Net::HTTP exceptions, such as this one.

Circuit Breaker

If you're calling Airtable in an application and want to avoid hanging processes when Airtable is unavailable, we strongly recommend configuring circuit breakers. This is a mechanism that after threshold failures, it'll start failing immediately instead of waiting until the timeout. This can avoid outages where all workers are hung trying to talk to a service that will never return, instead of serving useful fallbacks or requests that don't rely on the service. Failing fast is paramount for building reliable systems.

You can configure a middleware such as faraday_middleware-circuit_breaker:

Airrecord::Table.client.connection.request :circuit_breaker,
  timeout: 20, threshold: 5

Contributing

Contributions will be happily accepted in the form of Github Pull Requests!

  • Please ensure CI is passing before submitting your pull request for review.
  • Please provide tests that fail without your change.