Native Blog support - Softr?

From How to create a blog - Softr Docs

“Softr will have its own blog functionality out of the box soon.”

Is this on the roadmap? A way is for e.g. to create blog from Airtable but there is not a good support for Markdown / HTML.

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Hello @Thomas_Larsson,

We have this feature in our plans, but I’m not able to give any estimation not to provide inaccurate information.

But I would also suggest you checking this workaround.

Hi, thanks, Suzie. I tried this workaround. The primary purpose for us to Use Softr is to administrate all often updated content in Airtable.

We asked for this feature one year ago and got the same answer. Then we stayed on the Softr.

So I need an honest estimation. Is this on the next things to do or just on the long list of things to do, often called Backlogs :slight_smile:

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Hi Thomas!

I know this isn’t exactly what you were asking for. But can you explain a little more about what you would want from a native blog feature in Softr that you’re not getting from the workaround Suzie posted?

The reason I ask is because “blog” is unfortunately one of those Internet things that means really different things to different people. For some people, the workaround is just what they need. For others, they really need their blog to generate an RSS feed automatically. And for still others, the ability to author posts in blog authoring tools like MarsEdit is the key feature.

How does the blog feature you really want fit into your use cases?

Dear @Thomas_Larsson,

It’s with regret that I should tell you that there isn’t any exact time on when finally we will be able to bring it to Live. We should firstly work on having a clear blogging option plan.

If you could provide more details about how you imagine it to be, perhaps we will be able to provide a workaround for it as well? :slight_smile:

Thanks

Hi @dcoletta . Thanks for your response. This is what we had in mind:

We want to maintain Articles and all Digital Assets such as images, photos, logos, videos, pdf:s, and links from Airtable.

To set published dates and update all articles and the attached images from one place is just one User Story.

Another is when we fully start creating online courses, we can easily set permissions of some articles to just that course.

This is not really possible today without a lot of workarounds.

An article for us contains many of these documents and is, to say the least, problematic today.

The goal is to create technical documentation , articles for courses or blog-post with Markdown language or Rich Text. Inspiration from GIT-Books.

We have created a Miro-board to describe this further. Others are free to add notes here.

Thanks, Thomas. I think I have a better idea of what you want to do. It does sound a little like a blog! But it also sounds more to me like a content management system or learning management system. And I would strongly suspect that even when Softr does build a native blog feature, it still won’t do all the things you need.

This is not meant at a criticism of Softr of your requirements at all, but I’m curious what other software you have looked at besides Softr that would meet your requirements.

If I were trying to build what you have described, I’d probably take a close look at https://www.gitbook.com/. I know it has collaborative editing, but I’m not sure if it has the permissions system you’re looking for.

I am completely unfamiliar with the world of CMS/LMS software. Is that something you have looked at all?

And if the idea of using something else instead of Softr sounds like the wrong direction, then which are the features of Softr that you’re concerned you won’t be able to find elsewhere?

Hi David

We could always go with https://circle.so/ for a broader Community solution and use Zapier to solve integration with Airtable. Then We would administrate everything from Circle admin. But We are still back on square one, and We have a Db that We don’t control. So the Low Code thinking is that we have ONE DB where we control articles, digital assets and everything else we use it for.

We started with one direction in mind but need to rethink Softr’s place because the content is crucial for us, and Softr is holding us back.

And we don’t want multiple platforms such as Softr + Gitbook + WordPress + LMS, which I see is the suggestion from all discussions I had last year.

OK, I think I understand something I didn’t before.

If I have understood correctly, it sounds like the underlying problem is that you have multiple applications you want to build, and you want them all to be driven by data in a single database (Airtable). One application is a blog. Another application is an LMS. And perhaps a third application is a knowledgebase.

I’m not sure why I didn’t understand this originally, but that’s on me!

So if I’ve got it right, then it seems like there are two paths to explore:

  1. Assembling this system from multiple services
  2. Building it all in one low-code tool like Softr

The big drawback with (1) is that there’s no way to get all these separate services to use a single source of truth like Airtable. The big drawback with (2) is that Softr isn’t rich enough to implement all these things just yet, at least not without a lot of painful hacks.

Before I go any further: does this seem like a correct summary of the problem you’re facing?

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Hi @dcoletta

Yes. It´s a good summary. I wrote it down like this:

MUST HAVE

  • Users (important). We have built other tools starting from these users:
  • Content as an article (blog). Look a like LinkedIn Articles are all I need, multiple images in one article (which is hard if you have the content in Airtable).
  • Content as video or other Digital assets . Either linked articles or direct links.
  • You can buy/sign up for courses containing locked articles, videos, and digital assets.

NICE TO HAVE

  • Newsletter (I use Mailchimp today and sync users with Make from AT).
  • Community discussions. We tried Slack but have abandoned that and don´t have anything new yet.
  • Techical description like Gitbook.

I have an illusion that we could use Airtable as our backbone and softr as front-end. I do not need full replacement, i just need really basic functions.

This is a great list. Really crystalizes where the connects and disconnects are between your requirements and what Softr has to offer.

I think the next step with this list would be to turn it into a punch list of problems to solve.

For example:

  • find better way to manage image files in Airtable and Softr
  • do gap analysis between Softr/Stripe integration, Softr group permissions, and requirements of course purchasing
  • compare features/limitations of Softr’s built-in discussion and third party discussion services that can be integrated (e.g., FastComments)

These seem like tractable problems to me that are really common requests on this site, and solutions that help you would most certainly help other Softr users.

I am also curious about the details of the requirements on the “nice to have” list. For example, if you already have user sync set up between Softr and Mailchimp, what else do you need? I can imagine you want to reuse assets from Airtable, for example. And maybe you want to expose the Mailchimp interface on a Softr page?

As far as what is the point of this conversation? :slight_smile: 'm just following my curiosity here - please let me know if there would be something more productive.

Hi @dcoletta. This discussion aims to find a sweet spot for any organisation needing a lot of content, e.g. long articles with multiple images.

You wrote me “And if the idea of using something else instead of Softr sounds like the wrong direction, then which are the features of Softr that you’re concerned you won’t be able to find elsewhere?”

So I answered :slight_smile:

But come back to the original question: How to create long articles with multiple images with ease and keep the data in Airtable? I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. (U2 Lyrics)

When I want to store a long rich text article with images in Airtable, what I do is upload the images to Softr, then reference them with <img> tags.

For example, in this FAQ there are entries that have multiple images.

In Airtable, a rich text field from that FAQ looks like this:

And I got the images into Softr by uploading them into an image picker popup such as is displayed when you change the image on a CTA block, then using the link button to get the URL of the image on Softr’s CDN.

This works well enough for me. But I get it that it’s not really using Airtable as the source of truth for all content. And now that Airtable has turned off the ability to reference image attachments by URL, I don’t know of any way for the images to truly live in Airtable.

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I haven´t try.

But maybe Google Sheets can hold articles and images with a public google Photo as CDN?

And then create a sync between Google Sheet article name / ID and connect it to users/groups?

Just fishing here :slight_smile:

I thought a bit more about this and I have a really wild idea.

When an Airtable record has an attachments field, and that record is being displayed in a list details block, the URLs of the attachments are available in window.records.<record id>.record.fields.<field name>.

These URLs are what Softr’s code uses to display the attachments in the page. They expire two hours after they are fetched from the Airtable API, but that doesn’t matter, because normally the images never need to be fetched again until the page is reloaded, at which point new URLs come back from the Airtable API.

So now imagine a record in Airtable that has a rich text field and an attachments field. The rich text field could have references to the names of the images in the attachments field, in some format that makes them easy to find, e.g., {{file1.jpg}}. And then the page could have a list details block for that record, and the whole block could be set to hidden so it doesn’t display. And then there could be some JavaScript on the page that scoops out the URLs of the attachments from the hidden list details block, and substitutes them into the {{file1.jpg}} style image references.

This might actually be pleasant to use!

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Definitely! :clap: I would love to see some kind of POC or similar in this direction.

All of this seems way too advanced and inconvenient for an average user. I wish Softr had some more functionality when it came to this stuff. Blog content on Softr was always being asked about in the old Slack channel

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+1. A blog is crucial for SEO/growth of one’s Softr site. Disappointed that this isn’t handled better.

can’t wait for a blog feature :slight_smile:

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