Media Management Amirite?

Cartoon dog holding kitten, petting, deep in thought


I'm getting frustrated with Liftoff and that pain is attachments. (And React, but I'll spare the universe that complaining.)

I really like the idea of using AirTable as storage for publishing a blog. It has a nice interface for data entry, an API for mixing in other services, and a simple mental model: each row is a post. You can see all the pieces of your post as you read or write a row.

That's all well and good for text but once you add images or other binary files it gets more complicated. It's easy to attach images to an AirTable row in an attachment field and it seems like you have all the pieces you need for blog posts, right? Hmm.

One thing that is missing from Liftoff is the ability to add meaningful text alt attributes to image tags. I hacked around with Liftoff until I could use a new text column to specify an alt tag for the attachment.

This is where the row model breaks down. You can add as many attachments as you need to each row so a single column for one alt description won’t be able to describe each image. [Flips table] And if you want to sprinkle images throughout your posts, have several metaphorical tables standing by to flip.

So now I have several options that complicate my one row = one post mental model. It looks like I need a separate AirTable table for managing media that allows me to add metadata per item. I could also make my alt row a delimited list of some kind, blech. I could use the attachment filename as the alt text (no, not really). I could petition AirTable to add metadata features to Attachments (not likely). I could invent some sort of Markdown-like media service that makes adding attachments as easy as adding some carefully-formatted text to posts but I’m not sure learning a new system/syntax is really easier than breaking the row model.

In conclusion, blogging (and its software) is the worst.