Jestor vs Airtable: The best alternative to Airtable 2023
- Jestor vs Airtable comparison summary table
- 20 reasons why Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable
- 1. Jestor has Conditional Fields
- 2. Variety of No-code integrations and Webhook
- 3. Wider Array of Native no-code automations
- 4. Apps and dashboards that pull data from anywhere
- 5. No-code Roles and Low-code Profiles
- 6. Kanbans and Views
- 7. Data Structure
- 8. Mobile app retains the same functionalities
- 9. Jestor has native and customizable forms
- 10. WhatsApp Integration
- 11. Most familiar and simpler API
- 12. Jestor has Low Code and Developer tools
- 13. More interactive Fields
- 14. Chat behaves more like Slack
- 15. Dedicated Feature for Tasks
- 16. No-code Buttons
- 17. Organized Workspaces and Bundles
- 18. No-code Pages
- 19. Allows to create Custom Pages
- 20. Hybrid combinations of Pricing Models
- Airtable Pros
- Why Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable?
Airtable holds a special place in the heart of many companies. As one of the first no-code relational databases, it was an entry point for the world of building processes for many teams of different industries. Airtable’s long history is evident from the evolution of many of its features, as well as the plethora of Airtable-like software that have cropped up over the years.
Some of the alluring aspects of Airtable are the colorful design and multitude of different views one can create to see the data. Many users see Airtable as a fun alternative to common spreadsheets, one that brings a more visual component for those who are tired of having only table-like structures.
However, one may find that after some time using Airtable, some processes just don’t run quite right. Huge operations break, and structures that should be scalable, well, aren’t. That’s because certain parts of the software behave in a way that prevent scalability, and some missing advanced features mean certain complex solutions aren’t feasible at all.
So the question remains: is Airtable right for you?
We made a Jestor vs Airtable comparison to show you some key points that will help you decide whether Airtable is the best suited tool for your team–or whether its limitations are potential deal-breakers that you should avoid in the long run.
Jestor vs Airtable comparison summary table
|– Airtable: charges per user.
– Jestor: has both usage-based and user-based pricing, meaning companies can choose the model that best fits their business model.
|Pricing similar plans (20 users 09/27/22)
|– Airtable: $200,00 Plus Plan
– Jestor: $120,00 Developer Plan
|– Airtable: 16 types of trigger, and over 25 types of action.
– Jestor: 17 triggers and over 30 actions, with operations/specific automations. More being developed.
|– Airtable: 18 integrations.
– Jestor: 18 integrations, more being developed. It includes Slack, Gmail, Twilio, and more.
|– Airtable: script-based automations.
– Jestor: feature-rich developer area.
|– Airtable: no native WhatsApp integration.
– Jestor: native WhatsApp integration, where you can send and receive messages directly from a record, creating a chat with your clients, suppliers or team members.
|– Airtable: you can use Interfaces to write text and mix it with components, but it’s designed to be more of a dashboard than a document.
– Jestor: has no-code pages which allows you to create dynamic documents that combine text with real-time data.
|– Airtable: no custom pages through native development.
– Jestor: back-end/front-end customizable pages.
|– Airtable: Record-only REST API.
– Jestor: Record and structural REST API.
|– Airtable: classic spreadsheet-like approach to permissioning.
– Jestor: advanced permissioning with custom business rules.
|– Airtable: isolated workspaces.
– Jestor: custom, connected workspaces and bundles.
|– Airtable: analytical dashboard with 11 components, can’t cross information between boards.
– Jestor: apps with 28 different components, ranging from analytical to integrations and operational/interactive.
|– Airtable: apart from custom dashboard, only pre-built views.
– Jestor: build your own apps for desktop and mobile dragging and dropping blocks. Bundle structure for larger apps.
|– Airtable: revision history for each card that is not exportable, only viewable inside the card.
– Jestor: track who did what, where and when on the platform. Filter it by action type and extract reports.
|– Airtable: mobile app that mirrors desktop use.
– Jestor: customized experience for each app developed and mobile native navigation.
|– Airtable: custom forms.
– Jestor: custom apps and forms with connected data.
|– Airtable: custom buttons with automations with many actions, but no access to standard native automations.
– Jestor: buttons for navigation, data input, and automations.
|– Airtable: comments on records.
– Jestor: Slack-esque chat.
|– Airtable: records as tasks.
– Jestor: dedicated, contextual tasks that can be assigned to users, tables and records.
|– Airtable: n:n connection fields that incentivize disorganization and get in the way of automations. Data dies with the process..
– Jestor: n:1 connection fields that ensure correct data structure and allow powerful automations, allowing for correct n:n auxiliary tables. Single source of truth.
|– Airtable: has customizable kanbans.
– Jestor: has customizable kanbans with optimized features such as conditional fields.
|– Airtable: multiple customized views per base with more types of views.
– Jestor: multiple customized views per table.
|– Airtable: 28 fields.
– Jestor: 33 fields, with interactive fields (such as Checklists or Buttons), technical fields (such as Query, which runs an SQL query), and even integrated fields (such as Address, which integrates to Google Maps to search for a location)
|– Airtable: no conditional fields.
– Jestor: has conditional fields with nested AND/OR conditions.
20 reasons why Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable
1. Jestor has Conditional Fields
Airtable has no conditional fields for the records.
Jestor has a conditional fields feature that allows you to determine when a field should either:
- Appear or be hidden.
- Be required or optional.
This means that you can set up, for example, a Recruiting structure where an applicant has to provide a diploma only for certain positions, or hide the Social Security Number field when a contractor is a Corporation instead of Individual.
Also, these conditions can be nested and complex, following OR and AND structures up to three levels of rules.
This ensures that not only you’re able to create a kanban that holds all the information you need, but that only shows and requires certain data in specific scenarios. In other words, it’s the best alternative to Airtable cause makes the process easier to follow for the user, minimizing mistakes.
2. Variety of No-code integrations and Webhook
As said before, this is a field in which Airtable actually performs quite well. Most of its no-code automations are integrations with other platforms, so if you’re trying to add Airtable to your software ecosystem, chances are it’s going to play nice with at least some of the tools you’re currently using.
Jestor has about the same number of integrations, and is constantly developing new ones. Not only does it connect with some popular tools such as Slack, Discord, or Google Sheets, it also integrates with communication tools like Twilio and marketing tools such as Mailchimp.
This wide variety of integrated tools allows Jestor to be at the center of operations, effectively allowing it to be the single source of truth that connects the whole ecosystem together.
3. Wider Array of Native no-code automations
Airtable is very capable when it comes to no-code automation. It has about 16 different triggers and over 25 actions for native no-code automations. It is especially true when talking about integrated automations: most of these triggers and actions are actually regarding third-party platforms.
However, one thing stands out when looking at Airtable’s no-code automations: actions regarding Airtable itself are very limited. While you can search for, create, or update records, there are no actions that will let you do something more specific, such as create a comment in a record, or update inventory quantities based on a manufacturing order.
One thing also stands out that seriously impacts the ability to build fully automated, complex processes: a base may only have 50 different automations. This means that, depending on how big is your process, you may have to separate into different bases (which is not ideal), or cut much necessary automations.
Jestor on the other hand has a wide array of native no-code automations, both generic and specific/niche. You can not only create a Billing record when a Sale is Won, but create monthly installments from that sale, take items sold from inventory, and generate a custom QR Code to direct the customer somewhere else, among other uses.
It’s also possible to string as many actions as you like in one single automation, and even use the result of an action in the next action. This means you can run sequences instead of simple one-offs, like: if a record is created, send a POST call to an external platform and, depending on the result, create another record.
4. Apps and dashboards that pull data from anywhere
Airtable allows you to create a good variety of apps/dashboards through its Interface feature: you may create a record view, dashboard, record summary, or form.
The dashboard interface features 11 different components one may choose from when creating a custom dashboard. It allows for a reasonably useful analytical dashboard.
One thing of note is that it’s not possible to cross data between bases. When you create a component, it’s always seeing data from that base, and some types of insight are not feasible to create (such as an indicator that calculates Cost per Lead by aggregating all marketing costs and dividing by leads created).
Finally, Airtable’s dashboards are mainly analytical: there’s little variety in the way you can interact with bases aside from a grid view.
Aside from the number of building blocks available, two main things differentiate Jestor’s apps the best alternative to Airtable dashboards:
- Jestor’s apps allow you to pull data from anywhere inside Jestor, not only a specific table or base. This means the finance team can pull information from the sales team’s tables to build their indicators and charts, for example.
- Jestor’s components are not only analytics-inclined. While there are charts and indicators, there are also interactive components such as order generator, forms, dynamic search filters, and even kanban views.
Those two items combined allow for Jestor’s apps to behave less like a simple dashboard attached to a base, and more like central hubs where data can be used as desired, and operational tasks can be performed. For example, you can have a CRM with charts, contact lists, and a kanban view all in the same place, an HR hub to see all information related to an employee, or even a form that automatically subtracts items from stock.
5. No-code Roles and Low-code Profiles
Airtable follows a spreadsheet-like approach to access levels. You have the following types of users:
These roles have pre-set permissions, but there’s also some room for more customizing within the bases themselves. For example, you can define which fields each role (or user) can edit. This provides a more refined experience, but you may find that the limitation of having four fixed roles seriously hinders your ability to create intricate permissions for more delicate situations (something vital when dealing with data).
In Jestor, there are two better alternatives to Airtable: no-code Roles and low-code Profiles. They both customize the same access levels, but with varying degrees of possibilities.
Roles let you assign Jestor-wide powers, such as creating new tables or customizing colors, as well as in-table permissions, such as defining which tables a user will have access to and whether they’ll have full access and powers in it, or a more limited scope.
Profiles allow you to create more intricate permissioning rules, such as: Junior Salespeople can only see clients with potential under $5,000.00, or leads that they created themselves.
Advanced permissioning allows you to offer users to clients (or partners) of our customers. They can create custom apps and portals to all their clients.
6. Kanbans and Views
One of the main strengths of Airtable is the number of views it supports. From kanbans to timelines and calendars, you can create many views for a base that allow you to see data in the most efficient way possible.
Not every type of view is particularly useful except for some niche uses, but they can nevertheless be fun to play around with.
Jestor allows you to create custom kanban, table, task and record views directly on the tables themselves. It allows you to have as many views as you want to, so you can switch between them to focus on the most important data in any given situation.
While Jestor views don’t have the same variety compared to Airtable, it proposes that you create different kinds of views through its app feature, which allows you to assemble different components to create a customized experience.
7. Data Structure
Airtable has connection fields. That is: a field that allows you to select cards or records in other pipes or databases. However, those fields allow for n:n connections, which introduces ambiguity to the data structure of the cards.
As such, there are usually two problems with growing structures in the platform:
- Automating is harder, as there’s no way to standardize connections in a way that allows for complex automations.
- Data becomes disorganized, as the many connections start to scramble information, usually leading to the platform being used more to control workflows and less like a single source of truth. It’s not uncommon for data duplication to occur to facilitate processes.
In Jestor, connected data is always n:1. This introduces clarity to the data structure, as there’s always a “stopping point” to connections. This means the software always “knows” what to expect, allowing for more complex and useful automations.
Also, by the virtue of forcing correct data layout across all tables, data grows organized. Jestor can be (and is) used by many companies as a single source of truth, and there’s no need for data duplication to run processes. If there’s any need for n:n connections, it is also possible to do it using auxiliary tables, which keep data organization and clarity intact.
We encourage companies to take our data structure courses to understand how to better approach database building.
8. Mobile app retains the same functionalities
Airtable has a mobile app that mirrors what you would expect from the desktop experience of using a base but in a more verticalized manner.
However, there’s a lot missing from the mobile experience: mainly, customization options are severely limited in the app. You are not able to create automations and some more advanced fields, and some types of views are altogether missing from the mobile app.
In short, it’s a watered down version of the full experience that may suffice if you only plan to use it for data access, but that will not get you much further than that. If you need to build a new indicator in a dashboard, for example, you’ll have to wait until you have a laptop at hand.
The Jestor mobile app is the best alternative to Airtable cause it adapts features for verticality and usability. More important, however, is that the mobile app retains the same functionalities and operations-oriented design of the platform. This means there’s a wide array of things you can do aside from filling and moving records around.
By using a combination of workspaces, bundles, and custom apps, the mobile experience can be just the best alternative to Airtable as feature-rich and easy to use as the desktop version. Navigation is just as customizable, and even more complex apps and dashboards, like inventory counting or project calendars, will have the same features and usability.
9. Jestor has native and customizable forms
Airtable allows for the creation of forms through its Interface feature or through a table view. While they are a little barebones, with little in the way of customization when it comes to appearance, it gets the job done if all you need to do is create a simple form for data input.
Jestor’s forms are a component of the apps. This means you can customize it just as you would any other app: apart from the form itself, you can have pictures, embedded videos, charts, and even buttons to open WhatsApp conversations.
The form itself allows you to not only create records in a table/kanban, but create connected data at the same time. For example, if you have a form for New Client, you can also add sections to add as many Contacts as you want, and this information will be created in Jestor already connected correctly.
10. WhatsApp Integration
Airtable has no native WhatsApp Integration.
With WhatsApp being one of the most used messaging platforms worldwide, this can be incredibly alternative to Airtable and useful in many different scenarios, such as:
- Sending automatic messages to clients.
- Requesting quotes from vendors.
- Setting up an organized support channel.
Messages received automatically create or update records in tables or kanbans, and you can have predefined templates to send messages using data from Jestor. Not only that, but you can also automate WhatsApp messages just like any other part of Jestor, so this feature is just as powerful as everything else, and only an add-on with a limited scope.
This is a great feature to integrate your internal processes with external sources, and the best part is that everything you do will be stored in Jestor, meaning your messaging history doesn’t have to be isolated in an external platform.
11. Most familiar and simpler API
Airtable has a REST API, one of the most common technologies used in cloud SaaS platforms. This means that developers are almost guaranteed to understand how the API works and have no trouble developing ways to integrate with Airtable.
However, one drawback of Airtable’s API is that it is only action-oriented, that is: you’re only able to manipulate records with it. There’s no real way to build structures using the API, which can be a problem when trying to create things quickly or even to programmatically adapt your base (a situation that may occur if you’re using Airtable as a synchronized database with other tool).
Jestor also uses a REST API, which is immediately the best alternative to Airtable cause it’s familiar to most developers or tech-oriented team members. This means that anyone familiar with integrating platforms can most likely hit the ground running.
Not only that, but virtually anything you’re able to do manually in Jestor, such as creating fields, tasks, or fetching nested structures, is possible to be done through Jestor’s endpoints. So whether you’re trying to quickly create a previously designed data scheme or to keep a table’s structure automatically updated, you’re most likely covered in any scenario you may come across.
12. Jestor has Low Code and Developer tools
Airtable allows for automations to run scripts that you can write in a dedicated Airtable interface. This enables users to create more complex automations and to somewhat work around the low variety of internal no-code automations.
However, apart from this feature included along with the no-code automations, you won’t find much else in the way of low-code inside the platform. There are some ways to use external codes inside Airtable (which we’ll get to in the next section), but that’s mainly it.
Jestor on the other hand has a feature-rich development environment that allows developers or tech-oriented individuals to create complex and unique solutions to their problems.
The development area encompasses:
- Triggers: you can create custom low-code automations called triggers. They’re lines of code that will run whenever the trigger you set up (such as After a record is created in Receivables) is activated. This allows you to create a plethora of complex automations that no-code automations are too generic to do, such as running financial predictions or treating data before sending a POST request.
- There’s a wide variety of native methods that allow you to fetch and manipulate data inside Jestor, as well as specific things such as cURL requests or creating files.
- Pages: you can create fully customizable (back-end and front-end) pages inside Jestor, allowing for custom built interfaces for specific processes. More on that in the Pages section of this comparison.
- Back-end functions: you can create back-end functions that will behave similarly to triggers, but can be invoked in other situations, such as through a webhook or in the middle of a trick.
- Styles/CSS: you can create CSS styles to be easily accessed when creating Pages, facilitating the process of creating customized interfaces.
- Profiles: you can create access levels that follow custom permissioning rules. More on that in the Permissioning section of this comparison.
- Webhook: you can create incoming webhooks that either create records directly into a table or run custom functions from the data you receive, which can be particularly useful to integrate event-heavy platforms, such as PMS’s.
Coming soon to Jestor:
- Python and other languages.
- Better UI and UX, including IDE.
13. More interactive Fields
There are currently 28 fields in Airtable. Most of them are for manual data input, with some notable exceptions such as the Rollup field (which allows for things like automatic sums) or the formula field.
Jestor currently has 33 fields. As well as direct data input fields, there is a better alternative to Airtable with more interactive fields (such as Checklists or Buttons), technical fields (such as Query, which runs an SQL query), and even integrated fields (such as Address, which integrates to Google Maps to search for a location). Some of them may also cover more than one field in Airtable, like Text, which covers both Airtable’s Single line text and Long text, as well as a Rich text option.
14. Chat behaves more like Slack
Airtable allows you to comment on records, tagging other users. The comment section of the records also functions as a record history, registering changes made to it.
Jestor also allows you to comment on records and tag other users. However, Jestor operates more like a chat section than a card history. In this manner, Jestor’s chat behaves more like Slack than Airtable. It’s possible to open a record and see the comments, but also check out Jestor’s chat section and see ongoing conversations, with read and unread messages, and use tables and records as channels.
15. Dedicated Feature for Tasks
Airtable takes a records-as-things-to-do approach to tasks. The platform encourages the user to create task bases, and to sort through tasks just as it would with any other base, using views and interfaces.
Apart from that, there’s no real task-oriented feature in the platform and, as such, it’s hard to consider Airtable as really having task management as a native feature at all.
Jestor, on the other hand, has a dedicated feature for task management. Tasks are not the records themselves. Rather, tasks can be assigned to users/groups, as well as to tables or specific records. This means Sale #0352 is not a task by itself, but can have many different tasks attached to it, with varying deadlines and owners. Tasks can be checked by record and table, and users have their own My Tasks section where they can see their pending tasks (with overdue and approaching deadlines given priority).
As with other parts of Jestor, task management creation can be automated as well.
16. No-code Buttons
Airtable allows you to create buttons in a table which can be linked to a multitude of actions, from running a script to native integrations. This is a really nice feature that allows you to add an extra layer of interactivity to tables that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
However, one huge downside of this button field is that it does not allow you to access Airtable’s native no-code automations, which can decrease its usefulness significantly when building processes.
Jestor allows you to create three types of buttons:
- Buttons that add connected records (for example, add an Apartment record to the Hotel record you’re currently seeing).
- Buttons that navigate to a link, which can also be used to open pre-filtered apps.
- Buttons that run standard no-code automations, such as send an email, remove an item from stock, or even start a shift on a timesheet (marking the current time).
These buttons can be accessed not only on the tables and kanbans, but in apps components as well, allowing users to have a better alternative to Airtable by creating a more intuitive experience (for example, a green button that approves a payment request, and a red button that denies the request and sends an email to the requestee).
17. Organized Workspaces and Bundles
Airtable allows you to create workspaces, which are groups of bases. Each base is a combination of tables, automations and interfaces. This allows for a good level of organization when dealing with a lot of different bases, something very common in mid and large sized teams.
One major downside of Airtable’s workspaces bases, however, is that bases don’t communicate between themselves. For example, if you have a Sales base and a Finance base, there’s no way to connect tables inside these bases with connect fields.
A workaround for that is using Airtable Sync to duplicate a table to another database, but you’ll either have to manually sync them or have it done automatically in 5 minute intervals. This is less than ideal when you need real-time data and a single source of truth. A lot can happen in 5 minutes, and this less than instantaneous sync can be the difference between a perfect process and sending the wrong invoice to clients.
You also cannot have one base in more than one workspace at the same time.
Jestor also allows you to create workspaces, but in a more refined manner.
An app or table can be in more than one workspace at the same time. This means the same database (such as Clients) can be shared between many workspaces. There’s no need to sync between duplicates of tables: everyone can rest assured they are seeing real-time, up-to-date data.
Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable cause it doesn’t have base separation like Airtable does, this also means connection fields work across all tables without the need of workarounds.
Jestor also has Bundles, which is like a dedicated app with its own navigation bar, making mobile use and ultra focused operations easier for the end user.
18. No-code Pages
Airtable doesn’t have a no-code document Pages feature. You can use Interfaces to achieve similar results, but it will not provide you with an interactive document in the manner you would expect. It behaves more like a dashboard with text than a document with components.
In this page, you can write and format text just like you would in a word processor, and then add all the information you deem necessary for the user to access alongside the text. As a result, you can create documents that can not only hold dynamic data, but you can also create interactive pages which explain a process–while also allowing the user to operate it as they read it.
This is an amazing feature for:
- Data retention.
By combining these features, you can ensure new employees hit the ground running, cutting onboarding time. Or even provide helpful reminders to prevent common mistakes.
To top it all off, it’s very easy (1 click, in fact) to print the document or save it as a PDF, which can be a huge time saver when you need to update someone on the most recent numbers.
19. Allows to create Custom Pages
As we’ve mentioned before, it is possible to invoke external custom extensions/scripts from a base. You can do this by developing and testing the script on your end/machine, and then creating an extension in Airtable. After the testing, you can upload the code to Airtable’s servers so you don’t need to run it from your own server or computer.
Custom extensions allow you to create custom features inside Airtable, from to-do lists to a csv import feature. Those will appear on your base as custom blocks.
The downside of this, however, is that you’re doing this all on your end. This means that there is still a development and maintenance burden on your end, as things are developed locally or using repositories to manage the code when working collaboratively. It becomes less of a low-code platform, and more of a platform that runs traditional code you’ve developed on your end.
In Jestor, you can create customized pages by providing the back-end and front-end codes directly into the development area, which is stored and run entirely by Jestor, and effectively allowing you to make a new second-level interface for a specific process or need.
As a lighthearted example, here’s a Flappy Bird-Esque game running on a Jestor page (code by w3schools).
20. Hybrid combinations of Pricing Models
Airtable’s pricing model is user-based. That is, you’ll always pay a monthly fee for the number of active users you have on the platform. As such, users can seriously impact your billing, even if they perform only an action or two daily.
Jestor has pure usage-based plans, as well as user-based plans and hybrid combinations, which is already a better alternative to Airtable. Big operations can have as many users as they need without paying extra for it, and small scale teams can purchase a few users if it’s more economical for them. This freedom and flexibility ensures that you can always find the plan that makes most sense for your needs.
There are some places in which Airtable has some advantages over Jestor.
- Airtable has more views, which allows you to look at and tackle data in more ways.
- Airtable has one of the biggest communities out there, which can be helpful when looking at previously asked questions.
- As one of the original relational databases SaaS, there are companies that specialize in using Airtable to offer different services.
Why Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable?
Airtable is a great tool if you want to look at spreadsheets-like data in new ways. The variety of different views allows you to make fun interfaces and run processes in different ways, though how much you’ll get of each view is really dependent on your industry or your internal processes.
The problem, however, comes when your processes scale up, either in volume or in complexity. Because of how the bases are segregated, and how the connection field works, it’s very common for processes to break when they run into certain limitations. These limitations can be a lot of things, such as:
- No dedicated tasks structure.
- Lack of in-depth developer area or low-code tools.
- Non-scalable data structure.
- No conditional fields to prevent data input mistakes.
- Shallow permissioning/access levels structure.
- Isolated bases that work against a single source of truth.
- Limited mobile experience.
In Jestor, you have a wide array of features that will not only cover your table needs, but can be used or adapted to any process in your company at any size, from an individual freelancer to thousands of employees. From back office to field ops, you’re covered no matter the problem you’re trying to solve.
Schedule a meeting with our team here to understand why Jestor is the best alternative to Airtable and why many companies are migrating from Airtable to Jestor.