Blocks and easier ways to add great tools in canvas and tables (beware, competitor highlight 🙈)

Hello there!

Airtable is one of your serious competitor :japanese_goblin: , and they just released Blocks.
One of the main reason why I’m very exited by this announcement, is the easy way Blocks seems to be implemented and edited.
You already have some features with formulas that are similar to Blocks.
But as Coda users, we don’t yet have access to simplicity and fanciness that Airtable Blocks seems to provide.

A word about a feature request I have : One very important feature I already asked to Coda in my many private feedbacks are blocks.
I would love to be able to add blocks of text or anything else on a canvas and be able to arrange them with drag and drop : add blocks side by side etc…
One other important features of Canvas blocks would be to bookmark them (see my other post about bookmarks).

Talking back about Airtable, the create and edit Blocks on their side seems so easy!

At Coda, do you project to make things more user friendly on this side?
Like, avoiding entering formulas and writing values within the formulas to make blocks or modules?
I’m thinking about Bar Charts for example, or Rectangle.
Wouldn’t be awesome to have a + button to add a Bar Charts and edit its values with a dialog box?
I’m not saying that controlling everything with formulas ain’t good. But I’m thinking again about casual users and user experience.

As a conclusion, just have a look to the features that the competitor have in blocks, there are some interesting formulas you could add in Coda :wink:

And don’t forget, I love you :heart::heart::heart: :kissing_heart:

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Great feature request.

This would make our life much easier. We are used to have a similar function in Notion (less fancy than in Airtable) and are missing it in Coda.

Adding +100 votes for this feature :slight_smile:

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This reminds me of a similar concept from HyperCard which was called Stacks — if I’m remembering correctly.

Stacks are similar to a PowePoint slide in which you could create a stack template that would be then filled with data from your database.

That may be the third leg that powers Coda, along with database and pages.

It would be interesting to hear some thoughts from the team regarding seminal works like HyperTalk and how it influences the project :slight_smile:

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I saw the announcement yesterday and it seems like Blocks puts Airtable into the same group as folks like Quip, Notion, and Dropbox Paper. My question to the community is whether features result in the use case where people are building “apps” or if it’s just fancier ways of embedding rich media into a doc (which I think Notion does a great job of).

I still think the main differentiator between Airtable/Coda and other online doc editors is the relational table. That underlying structure means you can build an “app” that supports your business’s data. With Blocks, I see them as disparate APIs that give users interesting ways to visualize their data.

The most interesting use case for me is below the fold on the Blocks page under the “Visualize and format” section, there is a “Page designer” tab. When you click on that, it first shows a doc with text and image blocks in the doc (nothing special here). What’s special is the invoice that changes based on records in your table. This is an actual “app” in my mind since it is utilizing the underlying data from your tables and dynamically populating your “view” (in this case the invoice) with the data. This is similar to a mail merge in Mailchimp. I used to do this manually in Excel/Powerpoint where I wrote VBA scripts to populate the Powerpoint slide with data from Excel.

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+1 here!
This would be the north star for Coda :slight_smile: Think how easy it will become to create nice executive summaries, nice reports to business, presentations (sort of)… everything dynamic and from data…

but before that…

this would be accomplished initially with the introduction of a “Stupid Table”…
well… I think we might have two kind of tables:

  1. A DB Table (like in Notion) which essentially acts like a DB (source of data) like it is now
  2. A “stupid” Table: It’s a table that is very very stupid (like an HTML table) but where we can insert different blocks/media in cells (charts, bullet list, controls, video, etcs) and everything can be resizable

with the 2), we can achieve in a naive way a simple layout in Canvas.

Now Coda offers Layout (but they apply only to Tables and it’s not possible to insert charts inside for example)… ideally Layouts should be available in the canvas

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