Airtable is one of the most popular online tools for interfacing with databases. Part of the reason why Airtable has become so popular is that it allows users to use a database as if it were a spreadsheet. Teams no longer needed to learn how to query a MySQL database in order to interact with databases.
However, teams might prefer to look for Airtable alternatives for several reasons. Some clients might prefer to use self-hosted solutions due to the sensitivity of their data. Other clients might want a cheaper alternative.
This article will look at the best open-source Airtable alternatives currently available. We will look at each of these platforms and find out the advantages and disadvantages of each platform.
1. Baserow – Airtable Alternative for Teams
Baserow is an open-source no-code database that can be used as an Airtable alternative. The software allows teams to quickly set up a database that fits their specifications and use case.
Teams have the option to either self-host their own Baserow instance or use a hosted version accessible from the browser. Baserow can be hosted on a number of platforms including Heroku, Cloudron, and Docker.
Similar to Airtable, Baserow uses an intuitive user interface that makes it easy for users from any background to create, edit, and delete entries.
The database software offers dozens of ready-to-use templates for various use cases, including templates for project management, content marketing, and applicant tracking.
- ability to install templates
- exporting to CSV, JSON, and XML
- Formula fields
- Zapier integration
- self-hosting capability
- Open-source code uses modern tools and frameworks, which allows developers to easily create their own Baserow plugins
- can be easily integrated with other software
- real-time collaboration
- Open-source code ensures that the product will always be free
- Self-hosted database may not be easily scalable
- self-hosting Baserow requires a bit of technical knowledge to set up
While the Baserow repository is free to use, a premium plan is available for companies with advanced needs. The Premium plan includes an admin dashboard, role-based permissions, kanban and calendar views and unlimited rows and databases. The plan costs $5 per user for a single month.
2. NocoDB – Database-Ready Airtable Alternative
NocoDB is an open-source no-code platform that you can use to connect an existing SQL database to a spreadsheet. The platform allows even non-developers and business users to create their own software from a database.
NocoDB works with various existing database engines including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MariaDB.
Data stored in the platform can be easily accessed using a robust API that can connect to third-party applications such as Zapier or Make.
NocoDB is currently free & open source and does not offer any paid plans. Their official website indicates that they have no plans of moving any existing or future features to an enterprise version. Users can take a look at the project’s GitHub repository here.
- create, read, update, and delete various tables, columns and rows
- unlimited grid view, gallery view, and form view
- ability to search, sort, and filter columns and rows
- Fine-grained Access Control
- Integration with third-party apps for automated workflows
- NocoDB is database-agnostic and can work with any existing SQL database
- supports both REST API and GraphQL API access
- completely self-hosted
- Compared to Airtable, many relational database features are still not available in the NocoDB platform
- lack of a cloud service option for customers who prefer not to self-host
3. Grist – Feature-full Airtable Alternative
Grist is a modern relations spreadsheet by Grist Labs. It aims to combine the flexibility of a spreadsheet with the robustness of a real database.
In Grist, columns work like a typical database. Each column is named and can hold one type of data. Each column can also be filled with a formula that automatically updates when changes in the sheet are made.
Unlike traditional spreadsheets, Grist also allows you to create multiple views of your data on a single page. A single page can have multiple sections called page widgets.
For example, you can have a section that shows a table, another that shows a card-like view of a particular entry, and another section that plots data on a chart.
Grist files are based on the SQLite engine which allows for easy backup, importing, and exporting. Formulas in Grist are written in Python, which allows users to create complex formulas based on Python’s standard library.
Grist Labs offers Grist hosting as a service but they are still committed to keeping their code repository open-source. If your team wants to quickly try out what Grist can do, their website offers dozens of pre-made templates for a variety of use cases.
- Grist formulas support Python syntax
- The software includes charts, summary tables, and various filter options.
- REST API integration
- Offers several ready-to-use templates
- Access control options
- incremental imports
- Grist makes it easy to import and export from existing databases or data from Google Drive, Excel, or CSV.
- Ability to create complex formulas using Python syntax
- convenient editing and formatting features
- Widgets offer a flexible and customizable way to present data besides the usual table
- Since Grist is open-source, users can self-host their own version of the grist-core.
- Slight learning curve for new users
- Non-Python users may have difficulty taking advantage of Grist’s formula options
Grist Labs offer hosted Grist services for individuals and teams. The free plan includes up to 10 documents. The team plan allows for unlimited documents and unlimited API access. The team plan costs $8 per user/month. Teams can try out the team plan for 30 days.
These platforms are some of the best open-source Airtable alternatives. Each of these platforms has the option for self-hosting, which is an important factor for businesses that want more control over data security.
Of these three platforms, Grist seems to be the most feature-full, followed by Baserow. However, if you already have an existing database in MySQL or a similar engine, NocoDB has the best support for syncing.
Which no-code database platform do you think is the best Airtable alternative?