Document management

Hello all, what is the best way to manage complex applications and documents? i.e. client fills out a long form and sends for approval to manager. manager can leave comments on document and either reject, send back with comments, or accept. Is there a good template or workflow I can build off of?

Hi @tsathe and welcome to the community!

At the core of Softr is the ability to let users see and interact with a website of data from tables from an Airtable* base. To the extent that your application’s data looks like rows and columns and linked records in an Airtable base, Softr will really shine.

However, a document management application like you’re describing doesn’t usually fit into rows and columns in an Airtable base, at least not directly. For users to have a great commenting experience, they need to be able to comment directly in a document, which requires tight integration with a document editor. Comments in a Google Doc or a Word file are what I’m picturing here. Similarly, to implement document approval (i.e., workflows), you’ll need to write code somewhere that handles the approval/reject logic. This could be in Softr custom code but is more likely to live in either Airtable or Zapier or Make.

So with all that in mind, you’re going to need to make a big decision up front.

Do you want to build the application natively in Softr, and accept the limitations of tabular data? This will mean, for example, that comments can’t be in the document, they will have to be next to it. And it will mean a fair amount of integration with a tool like Zapier or Make to handle some of the workflow functions and perhaps the integration of the documents themselves, if they are not stored as attachments in Airtable.

Or do you want to use Softr as a portal onto a separate document management/workflow system? Softr can be a great “front end” to one or more separate systems and bring them all together by offering one place that users start out. And then the nitty gritty details of commenting and approval can be handled by a system that is designed for that purpose.

I know you asked a more narrow question about a good template to start out with. I just took a quick look through the template library, and the one that jumped out at me was “Applicant Tracking”, because it has a lot of the same concepts that you need: documents (resumes) come in, and people can comment on them as they move through a funnel. Full disclosure: I didn’t actually create an application with the template and poke around in it - I’m just going on the description that displays when you select it.

Good luck!

*or Google Sheets, but for a complex application Airtable is the most robust choice

I think you can work something practical with native softr blocks.

  1. List your customer on an airtable row and add an attachment field where the user puts the doc. then another field with options for status ‘approved’, ‘rejected’, ‘in review’.

  2. Then on the softr side, you add a list details block, where you list all this information from this airtable row. Give editing privileges to the reviewer of this block in the block configuration, so he can change the status of the document.

  3. Add a comment block to this same page (the list details block), and now reviewer can also make comments related to this user document and explain why it was ‘Rejected’ for example.

Thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate it and these seem like great solutions. I think I will try the document upload method and see how that works.