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Integrate Real-Time Access to Airtable in SAPUI5 MVC Apps

Use the built-in ODataModel class in SAPUI5 to create Web apps that reflect changes to Airtable data in real time.

In this article we show how to use the CData API Server and with the ADO.NET Provider for Airtable (or any of 200+ other ADO.NET Providers) to write SAPUI5 apps that leverage the capabilities of the Airtable API, without writing to a back-end database. The API Server is a lightweight Web application that runs on your server and produces OData feeds of Airtable data. OData is the standard for real-time data access over the Web and has built-in support in SAPUI5 and OpenUI5.

Set Up the API Server

Follow the steps below to begin producing secure Airtable OData services:

Deploy

The API Server runs on your own server. On Windows, you can deploy using the stand-alone server or IIS. On a Java servlet container, drop in the API Server WAR file. See the help documentation for more information and how-tos.

The API Server is also easy to deploy on Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and Heroku.

Connect to Airtable

After you deploy the API Server and the ADO.NET Provider for Airtable, provide authentication values and other connection properties needed to connect to Airtable by clicking Settings -> Connections and adding a new connection in the API Server administration console.

APIKey, BaseId and TableNames parameters are required to connect to Airtable. ViewNames is an optional parameter where views of the tables may be specified.

  • APIKey : API Key of your account. To obtain this value, after logging in go to Account. In API section click Generate API key.
  • BaseId : Id of your base. To obtain this value, it is in the same section as the APIKey. Click on Airtable API, or navigate to https://airtable.com/api and select a base. In the introduction section you can find "The ID of this base is appxxN2ftedc0nEG7."
  • TableNames : A comma separated list of table names for the selected base. These are the same names of tables as found in the UI.
  • ViewNames : A comma separated list of views in the format of (table.view) names. These are the same names of the views as found in the UI.

You can then choose the Airtable entities you want to allow the API Server access to by clicking Settings -> Resources. This article uses SampleTable_1 as an example.

Authorize API Server Users

After determining the OData services you want to produce, authorize users by clicking Settings -> Users. The API Server uses authtoken-based authentication and supports the major authentication schemes. You can authenticate as well as encrypt connections with SSL. Access can also be restricted by IP address; Access is restricted to only the local machine by default.

Create the View

In this article the user views and interacts with Airtable data through an SAPUI5 table control. Table columns will be automatically detected from the metadata retrieved from the API Server's API endpoint. We define the following table in a separate View.view.xml file:


<mvc:View
  controllerName="sap.ui.table.sample.OData2.Controller"
  xmlns="sap.ui.table"
  xmlns:mvc="sap.ui.core.mvc"
  xmlns:u="sap.ui.unified"
  xmlns:c="sap.ui.core"
  xmlns:m="sap.m">
  <m:Page
    showHeader="false"
    enableScrolling="false"
    class="sapUiContentPadding">
    <m:content>
      <Table
        id="table"
        selectionMode="MultiToggle"
        visibleRowCount="10"
        enableSelectAll="false"
        rows="{/SampleTable_1}"
        threshold="15"
        enableBusyIndicator="true"
        columns="{
          path: 'meta>/dataServices/schema/[${namespace}===\'CData\']/entityType/[${name}===\'SampleTable_1\']/property',
          factory: '.columnFactory'
        }">
        <toolbar>
          <m:Toolbar>
            <m:Title text="Airtable SampleTable_1"></m:Title>
          </m:Toolbar>
        </toolbar>
        <noData>
          <m:BusyIndicator class="sapUiMediumMargin"/>
        </noData>
      </Table>
    </m:content>
  </m:Page>
</mvc:View>

Create the Model and Controller

In SAPUI5, you do not need to write any OData queries; an ODataModel instance handles the application's data access commands. The API Server then translates the queries into Airtable API calls.

The controller processes user input and represents information to the user through a view. Define the controller in a new file, Controller.controller.js. Instantiate the model in the onInit function -- you will need to replace the placeholder values for the URL to the API Server, a user allowed to access the OData endpoint of the API Server, and the authtoken for the user.

sap.ui.define([
  "sap/ui/core/mvc/Controller",
  "sap/ui/model/odata/v2/ODataModel",
  "sap/ui/model/json/JSONModel",
  "sap/ui/table/Column",
  "sap/m/Text",
], function(Controller, ODataModel, JSONModel, Column, Text ) {
  "use strict";
  

  return Controller.extend("sap.ui.table.sample.OData2.Controller", {
    
    onInit : function () {
      
      var oView = this.getView();
      var oDataModel = new ODataModel("http://myserver/api.rsc/",{user: "MyUser", password: "MyAuthToken"});
      
      oDataModel.getMetaModel().loaded().then(function(){
        oView.setModel(oDataModel.getMetaModel(), "meta");
      });
      oView.setModel(oDataModel);
      
      var oTable = oView.byId("table");
      var oBinding = oTable.getBinding("rows");
      var oBusyIndicator = oTable.getNoData();
      oBinding.attachDataRequested(function(){
      oTable.setNoData(oBusyIndicator);
      });
      oBinding.attachDataReceived(function(){
        oTable.setNoData(null); //use default again ("no data" in case no data is available)
      });
    },
    
    onExit : function () {
    },
    
    columnFactory : function(sId, oContext) {
      var oModel = this.getView().getModel();
      var sName = oContext.getProperty("name");
      var sType = oContext.getProperty("type");
      var iLen = oContext.getProperty("maxLength");
      iLen = iLen ? parseInt(iLen, 10) : 10;
      
      return new Column(sId, {
        sortProperty: sName, 
        filterProperty: sName,
        width: (iLen > 9 ? (iLen > 50 ? 15 : 10) : 5) + "rem",
        label: new sap.m.Label({text: "{/#SampleTable_1/" + sName + "/@name}"}),
        hAlign: sType && sType.indexOf("Decimal") >= 0 ? "End" : "Begin",
        template: new Text({text: {path: sName}})
      });
    }
    
  });

});

Describe Application Logic

Create a component that contains the resources of your application. Define the following in Component.js:


sap.ui.define([
  'sap/ui/core/UIComponent'
], function(UIComponent) {
  "use strict";

  return UIComponent.extend("sap.ui.table.sample.OData2.Component", {
    metadata : {
      rootView : "sap.ui.table.sample.OData2.View",
      dependencies : {
        libs : [
          "sap.ui.table",
          "sap.ui.unified",
          "sap.m"
        ]
      },

      config : {
        sample : {
          stretch : true,
          files : [
            "View.view.xml",
            "Controller.controller.js"
          ]
        }
      }
    }
  });

});

Bootstrap OpenUI5 and Launch

To complete the MVC application, simply add the bootstrap and initialization code. Add these directly to index.html:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>

<html>
<head>
  <meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=edge" />
  <meta charset="utf-8"> 
  <title>Airtable SampleTable_1</title>
  
  <script id="sap-ui-bootstrap"
    src="https://openui5.hana.ondemand.com/resources/sap-ui-core.js"
    data-sap-ui-libs="sap.m"
    data-sap-ui-theme="sap_bluecrystal"
    data-sap-ui-xx-bindingSyntax="complex"
    data-sap-ui-preload="async"
    data-sap-ui-compatVersion="edge" 
    data-sap-ui-resourceroots='{"sap.ui.table.sample.OData2": "./", "sap.ui.demo.mock": "mockdata"}'>
  </script>
  
  <!-- application launch configuration -->
  <script>
  
      sap.ui.getCore().attachInit(function() {
        new sap.m.App ({
          pages: [
                new sap.m.Page({
                    title: "Airtable SampleTable_1", 
                    enableScrolling : false,
                  content: [ new sap.ui.core.ComponentContainer({
                  height : "100%", name : "sap.ui.table.sample.OData2"
                })]
            })
          ]
      }).placeAt("content");
    });

  </script>
</head> 
  <!-- UI Content -->
<body class="sapUiBody" id="content" role="application">
</body> 
</html>

The resulting SAPUI5 table control reflects any changes to a table in the remote Airtable data. You can now browse and search current Airtable data.