Nobull Airtable Troubleshooting

~~UPDATED 02/23/22~~

Nobull Airtable is a great tool with a lot of potential. That said, it’s far from a perfect plug & play solution, and it often fails without explanation, which can be frustrating.

We all love Finsweet, but and we’re all clearly getting more than we pay for from them.
Still, since they have no troubleshooting docs or support forums, I thought I’d share some of my findings and solutions after spending a few days wrestling with Airtable (AT), Webflow (WF) and Nobull (NB).

Basics

  • It’s important to understand that Nobull uses Webflow’s CMS API to import and modify records in the database, which under the hood is the same method that Zapier, Integromat or any other integration solution would use. While Nobull may make what’s complicated about those solutions moero straightforward, it causes failures for many of the same reasons.
  • Webflow > Airtable sync has a much higher success rate. After all, Webflow needs its CMS data to be structured in a specific way, whereas Airtable is much more agnostic and flexible. Therefore, there are many “right” ways to have your data in Airtable, but only one “right” way to get it into Webflow.
  • When items in Airtable fail to sync to because the data is coming in a way different than Webflow is expecting it to.
  • Important: Airtable’s Linked Records and Webflow’s Multi-Reference Fields are similar, but not indentical. Yes, you can do more with Airtable than you can with Webflow, but you need to keep the limitations of Webflow’s architecture in mind.
    • When you create a linked record in an Airtable table, it is automatically “mirrored” in the respective linked table, reciprocating the link. This is not the case in Webflow. (e.g. If you like a ‘Post’ to a ‘Category’ in Airtable, then the ‘Category’ will also have
    • ~~Note: I’m still exploring whether it’s possible to get the mirrored relationship from Airtable into Webflow. Suffice it to say for the time being this is a useful feature to have when designing, but the same functionality can be achieved in the Designer by filtering your Collection List by the respective Multi-Reference field.

Troubleshooting / Solutions

  1. Make sure you have the required fields laid out in the Nobull documentation.
  2. In many cases where there are errors, you can get a lot of information about what’s going by opening your browser’s console and expanding any alerts.
  3. Take it easy with Linked Records/Multi-Reference field connects. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t work with two-way syncing. So if you’re getting errors, try linking Multi-References in just one of the linked tables, without mirroring.
  4. You also need to be extra careful when syncing both multi-reference fields and filtered views from AT > WF. Any record that is linked to in one connect view but filtered out of the corresponding table will cause the entire sync to fail with the error: Uncaught (in promise) Error: No record with ID rec############# in this query result
  5. If you delete any fields in your Airtable or in Webflow that were included in your Nobull connect, then Nobull gets FOMO and likes to break, because it has no way of being informed that field was deleted. Syncing won’t work until you delete or relink that field connection.
  6. Any data sent to a Webflow number field needs to be a number and match the type and format set in Webflow. Be sure that any Airtable Lookup/Rollup, or Formula fields are not computing to #ERROR or NaN
  7. Airtable may sometimes inexplicably change a field type - it happened to me most often changing a single-line text field to a Long Text field. Or sometimes the content of a formula will modify something after you save the field and reopen it. Unfortunately Airtable’s formula editor ain’t the best, so always check your field types and formulas in Airtable and make sure the data format is correct.
  8. Sometimes the issue is that your Webflow site needs to be published. Nobull conveniently includes a button to publish your Webflow site from inside Airtable. It’s best to publish the Webflow site before you “publish” the Nobull connect ~ but be careful that you’re not inadvertently publishing any staged changes in the Webflow designer – this is especially important for team sites with multiple editors/designers.
  9. Sometimes a field is the offender, so if you unlink that field then the reords will stop failing. It can be a process of trial and error.
  10. Sometimes your Collection Items limit has been reached, and there isn’t any warning for this.
  11. Sometimes your Item IDs have changed for one reason or another (perhaps you restored a Webflow backup, or changed values). You may get an error in the console that reads: msg: "CMS Items not found: 61fafa5eca60etcetcetc" Try clearing all the values in the Item ID field, and re-sync with Airtable as the source > Webflow. This will create all the items over again in the Webflow collection, and then delete the existing ones! (Question for @Rohan_Ganachari - will this delete existing records first and then create new ones, or vice-cersa? I’m not sure but think I’ve noticed that the ‘new’ records were created created from the AT data, resulting in numbers or letters appended to the slug.)
  12. Just like inside the Webflow CMS, you can’t directly delete records that are linked in another collection/table from Nobull. Nobull will throw an error to the console: code: 409, msg: "This item is still being used by: Record Name Here", _meta: {…}, stack: "", … }
  13. Nobull will sometimes show that a larger number of records processed/updated/created/failed than you have in the table that you’re syncing - Nobull counts any linked records in your table as another record processed.
    Sometimes, these numbers will keep on increasing after Nobull tells you “You can close this window”… I haven’t figured out why this is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  14. Sometimes duplicates occur when syncing from Airtable to Webflow.
    This may appear in the browser console, so just delete the duplicate record inside Webflow.

Other Errors/Limitations

  1. Nobull appears unable to sync Lookup Fields.
  2. PUT. https://webflow-api-proxy.nobullapp.com/……… [HTTP/2 429 Too Many Requests 213ms] Occurs frequently
  3. Sometimes Cross-Origin Request Blocked: The Same Origin Policy disallows reading the remote resource at https://webflow-api-proxy.nobullapp.com/collections/61f...038cd17/items/61fb060f....ac7440?. (Reason: CORS header ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ missing). Status code: 500. occurs, no idea why.

This list is not exhaustive, but I hope it stirs up some conversation and solutions for when Nobull just doesn’t work.

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Nobull is a great free app that’s generously offered by Finsweet. And because it runs in the browser, they don’t have any server costs so they can continue to offer it for free.

We should be grateful. :heart_eyes:

I often recommend it to my customers to do an initial import of their Webflow CMS into Airtable. Most of the time, it just works!

But if you’re looking for a solution that:

  • continuously runs in the background on a server,
  • has 24/7 support,
  • provides detailed logs when something goes wrong,
  • and is actively maintained and improved,

then you should try a paid solution like PowerImporter.

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Hi @shawncarrie.
Josh with Foxy here. If data syncing is an important part of your business/flow, put your trust in a paid, fully supported solution like PowerImporter! We recommend it to all our Foxy + Webflow users.

You often get what you pay (or don’t pay) for.

Thanks,
Josh

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Well, since you brought it up, I would suggest you try a pricing structure with more flexibility the free/useless plan and $25 per month unlimited. I’d never pay that much for something I’m going to use only a few times per month at most.

Have you considered a pay-per-usage pricing option?

Hey @shawncarrie !

I’m the product manager of Nobull Airtable. Thank you for putting out this post. It’s definitely useful!

Please note that Nobull Airtable is still in Beta. There is still a lot of functionality we’d like to develop, before releasing the app with a paid tier. We’re currently in the process of onboarding a support agent who will be able to help the community.

If you have any questions or feature suggestions, feel free to reach out to me at rohan@finsweet.com

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Thanks for responding, Rohan, and for all the work that you do! The community really appreciates it.

If you have any insights to share on some of the common things that cause Nobull to crash, that would be really helpful. I’ve tried to catalog as many issues as I encountered in trying to implement a pretty complex database with a lot of links, so hopefully this can help you guys in troubleshooting and push Nobull to the limit and get it ready for a stable launch.

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Can i use this with webflow ecommerce products? I have a client project and i’m trying to set them up on airtable to bulk import/update product variants like sizing and quantities per size. i need as well the ability to choose status of publish live or save as draft?

@adifferentur For this you could use Whalesync to sync data from Airtable to Webflow CMS and then Foxy to handle the ecomm side. The combo should give you the ability to bulk update products as well as control status such as publish/draft.

Thanks @whalesync ! is @whalesync whalesync still an option for syncing airtable to Webflow CMS if I do not use Foxy?

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@adifferentur Absolutely! The link above works for getting started, but feel free to shoot me an email if you ever have any questions :slight_smile:. matthew@whalesync.com.